Cara Greenstein, the food blogger behind Caramelized, shares her creative take on an old Southern staple: potato salad.

Cara Greenstein

Searching for a crowd-pleasing accompaniment to your Fourth of July party? The upcoming holiday calls for more than your typical Saturday lunch, and we've got just the ticket.

This summer, I have constantly challenged the "expected" backyard grilling menu. Sure, hot dogs and slaw invoke nostalgia and guaranteed goodness, but why not take it to the next level? My husband Alex and I have become fond of inviting over friends and neighbors for chargrilled tenderloin alongside colorful and crisp vegetables and salads from our weekly farmers' market trip. During last weekend's roundup, we discovered a bucket of purple Japanese sweet potatoes and scooped them up for a Sunday supper. The result was a captivating purple potato salad—emphasis on "salad." This side dish is more than the usual display of mayo and such.

Potato salad is a goes-with-everything summer side, but its classic creamy consistency isn't necessarily required. In this recipe, I opted to infuse the colors and textures of the season with radish microgreens (tiny, spicy greens typically available at your farmers' market or organic grocer), peppery arugula, spring onions, and basil pesto. The zing of the fresh greens lightens the typical load of this starchy dish. Plus, the purple-hued potatoes are a nod to the blue in the American flag for your Fourth of July party color palette.

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You'll enjoy the garlicky tang of my Pesto Purple Potato Salad alongside chargrilled burgers or kabobs or beneath a salmon filet for a fresh "nicoise"-like entrée. Or, serve the salad individually in mason jars alongside turkey paninis for a family picnic on the go. The versatility of this Southern "veggie" will fuel your creativity in the kitchen. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Click here for Cara Greenstein's Pesto Purple Potato Salad recipe

Cara Greenstein is author of the award-winning, Memphis-based food and lifestyle brand Caramelized. A bonafide foodie and entertaining expert, Cara shares a wealth of inspiration for the kitchen and home, as well as guides for outings in Memphis and across the South. Her latest venture, the Caramelized Supper Club, offers a "dinner party in a box" subscription service for convenient and creative at-home entertaining.