Roasted Potato and Caramelized Onion Salad – A New Picnic Favorite

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Roasted potatoes, caramelized onions and salty, smoky bacon tossed in a tangy sweet dressing make for a fantastic summer meal ready for a picnic. Or keep a stash in the refrigerator for a night when it is too hot to cook!

We’re not against mayonnaise, per se. As a matter of fact, we make our own mayo from scratch when recipes call for it – which, in our opinion, has a way better taste and texture than the store-bought variety. But picnic salads and mayonnaise are not a good combination, especially if the weather is hot. So skip the mayo and try this warm potato salad on your next hike or bike ride. It is perfectly portable and is perfectly tasty served at any temperature.

Cutting the potatoes into chunks and roasting them gives each bite a crispy exterior with a pillowy soft interior like a mashed potato. The caramelized onions take some time to make, but they add an essential sweet/savory layer to the salad.  The dressing pulls the whole thing together by covering every ingredient in the tangy and sweet flavors of mustard and vinegar. And the bacon? Well, needless to say, bacon just makes everything taste better. The rendered bacon fat is the dark horse in the dressing, adding a delicious flavor and texture… I never said this was a healthful recipe.

With temperatures consistently into the mid-80’s F (high 20’s C) in Ulaanbaatar, we’ve been enjoying meals featuring cool salads for dinner. Don’t scoff. Our blood is still Alaskan. These temperatures are really warm for us. This salad is a great way to keep our kitchen cool. We are on our second batch of this cool, summer salad and ready to make a third!

Roasted Potato and Caramelized Onion Salad


  • 1 1/2 lbs potatoes, use a waxy variety such as red or Yukon gold, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • extra virgin olive oil (have a tbsp measure handy)
  • 1 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 4 grinds of black pepper
  • 1 large onion, cut in half, then thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 strips thick cut bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped


  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • generous tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp mustard, dijon or brown
  • large pinch Italian seasoning
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • generous pinch salt
  • bacon and rendered fat (from above)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Toss cubed potatoes with about 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Toss potatoes with sea salt and pepper.
  4. Evenly spread potatoes on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Roast potatoes for 35 minutes, until golden brown and tender. While potatoes are roasting, crisp bacon and caramelize onions.
  6. In a large, non-stick pan set over medium heat, add 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil.
  7. When oil is hot, add sliced onions and toss with granulated sugar.
  8. Caramelize onions by stirring them in pan for about 15 minutes, until they become soft and caramel-colored.
  9. While onions are caramelizing, cook bacon pieces in another pan.
  10. Prepare the dressing.
  11. In a large bowl, combine all dressing ingredients.
  12. Toss potatoes in dressing.
  13. Mix in caramelized onions.
  14. Toss in chopped parsley.
  15. Serve immediately, or refrigerate to keep longer.

Recipe adapted from the Cozy Apron.

2 thoughts on “Roasted Potato and Caramelized Onion Salad – A New Picnic Favorite

    • Thank you! It’s all about balance, right? There is the same amount of fat in rendered bacon grease as there is in extra virgin olive oil. But there is a delicious flavor difference to experiment with. No fear!

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