In this recipe, cooked potatoes and roasted red bell peppers combine with chopped arugula and a snappy dressing made with garlic, capers, and a touch of cayenne. It’s easy to make, colorful, and loaded with flavor. It makes a great side dish for anything from veggie burgers to seitan “parmesan” — I actually served it with both, so I know from whence I speak. If you add a little extra arugula and a cup of cooked cannellini beans or chickpeas, it can even be enjoyed as a main-dish salad.
The cayenne in the dressing adds just the slightest nuance of heat. If you prefer a spicier salad, you can add some hot red pepper flakes or even add a minced hot chile. And as every garlic lover knows, you can always add more garlic to the dressing.
Some shortcut tips: In the original recipe, the potatoes are cooked on the stovetop and the bell peppers roasted over a flame. Since I had planned to make this salad the night before, and I already had the oven on for something else, I tossed some potatoes in the oven to bake for the salad. Instead of roasting my own bell peppers, I used the jarred kind. (You could also roast your own in advance.) With the potatoes already cooked from the night before, and the roasted peppers from a jar, the salad only took minutes to assemble.
Arugula Potato Salad
This recipe is adapted from Vegan Fire and Spice.
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large or 2 small red bell peppers
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups lightly packed arugula, coarsely chopped
1. Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternately, you can steam the potatoes over boiling water or roast them on an oiled baking sheet. You can also bake the potatoes and dice them after baking.) Place the cooked potatoes in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Roast the red peppers over an open flame or broil about 4 inches from the heat, turning until the skins are completely blackened. Put the charred peppers into a paper bag and let steam for about 5 minutes to loosen the skins. Scrape off the blackened skin and remove the seeds and stems. Chop the peppers into 1/2-inch dice, and add them to the potatoes. (Alternately, to save time, you can use jarred roasted red bell peppers.)
3. Mince the garlic and capers in a food processor or blender. Add the lemon juice, cayenne, and salt, to taste, and process until well blended. Slowly add the olive oil to emulsify. Add the dressing to the potatoes along with the arugula and toss until coated.