Your Potato Salad Is Missing A Stalky Summer Vegetable

At its best, potato salad is a creamy, cool, and deliciously carb-y summer side dish that makes its way onto the table for barbecues, picnics, potlucks, and lunches all season long. But at its worst, potato salad can be bland, boring, and dry. That's why there are so many ingredients people add to potato salad to keep things fresh and vibrant, from pickles and mustard to herbs and capers. But there's one stalky summer vegetable that you could be adding to your potato salad that can make a big difference — and no, we're not talking about celery. It's rhubarb.

Rhubarb gets a lot of attention as a dessert ingredient, getting added to sweet creations like sweet and tangy strawberry rhubarb pie recipes and homemade custard bars as soon as it's in season. But crunchy, tart rhubarb isn't inherently sweet, and just a little bit, diced up the same way you might chop celery, can really liven up your usual potato salad routine. Some thinly sliced rhubarb could be delicious in a German potato salad recipe, which already has a tangy flavor thanks to a mustard dressing. Peel the stalks if they're tough or if you want the rhubarb to have a more subtle green color, but if they're tender, you can leave the peel on to add an unexpected pop of crimson to your dish.

Why rhubarb?

There's a big difference between potato salad from the grocery store and what can be made from scratch. At home, focusing on seasonal ingredients, like new potatoes and fresh herbs, can totally transform the dish into something special, and adding rhubarb can help. Not only is it a special ingredient that's only in season for a limited time (usually in May and June, though occasionally as late as August), but it also genuinely has what potato salad needs to balance out all the starch — namely a tart flavor, a crunchy texture, and extra moisture.

In fact, while it's in season, we think some diced rhubarb can liven up pretty much any creamy salad, be it potato, macaroni, tuna, or egg (or your combined tuna and egg salad!). Taste your rhubarb raw first; stalks that are more tough or astringent can be gently poached before chopping and adding to the salad to tame their flavor, while tender young rhubarb can often be added raw. Try it once, and who knows — rhubarb might just become the secret ingredient that takes your potato salad to the next level.