Southwestern Potato Salad in a glass bowl with potatoes, tomatoes, avocado, and corn.

Southwestern Potato Salad

Southwestern Potato Salad is a delicious recipe for grilling season! You’ll love the buttermilk dressing, fresh corn, roasted pepper, and avocado.

Southwestern Potato Salad in a glass bowl with potatoes, tomatoes, avocado, and corn.
Southwestern Potato Salad

One of my favorite recipes for grilling season is this Southwestern Potato Salad, which comes from the cookbook, Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club Book, by Debi Shawcross. I love the buttermilk dressing, the musky flavor of cumin, and the fresh cuts of hearts of palm.

Southwestern Potato Salad in a glass bowl with potatoes, tomatoes, avocado, and corn.

“What should we have with our ribs this weekend?,” I asked my husband. Before he had a chance to reply, “potato salad?” quickly blurted out of my mouth.

The good news is, he agreed.

I love when we’re on the same craving page.

“What happened to that potato salad you used to always make?” he asked.

My mind started racing…there was a potato salad that I used to always make? I started running through the list of possible recipes, but none sounded quite right. Was he delusional, I wondered?

I turned to this very blog, to see what a quick search into the archives would bring up, and sure enough, here it was, this Southwestern Potato Salad that used to be in rotation quite a lot back in the day.

Red potatoes, lime, and cilantro for Southwestern Potato Salad.

Red potatoes, corn on the cob, and hearts of palm to make Southwestern Potato Salad.

This twist on a classic potato salad came when I was cooking my way through my friend Debi Shawcross’ cookbook, Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club Book, and when weekends meant entertaining at the grill instead of running kids to rehearsals and games.

Debi’s cookbook was a go-to, and I still love referring to it when we have dinner parties. The recipes are real, authentic and classy…food you want to serve your friends. Perfect for the seasoned cook, or the newlywed couple just finding their footing when it comes to their first dinner parties, Friends at the Table is a welcome addition to any cookbook shelf.

Hearts of palm, red potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and lime for Southwestern Potato Salad.

Buttermilk dressing in a small glass jar swirled with ground cumin for Southwestern Potato Salad.

As I sliced fresh hearts of palm, roasted a poblano pepper over a flame, and whisked the buttermilk dressing with its spicy flavors, the potato salad came back to me like an old friend, a good, well-trusted friend that I should not have ignored for so long. Light and tangy, with just the perfect amount of heat, the southwestern flavors paired perfectly with the ribs, and quite frankly, goes with nearly everything off the grill.

Potatoes, fresh corn, cherry tomatoes and hearts of palm in a glass bowl to make Southwestern Potato Salad

I made a solemn promise to not forget about this potato salad again…and to invite some friends over, just so I have an excuse to make it again.

Southwestern Potato Salad in a glass bowl on a wooden board with corn on the cob in the background.

Note: This recipe first appeared June 2, 2011. The recipe has been updated from the archives with updated content and photographs, as well as improved kitchen notes and recipe annotation. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen.

If you enjoyed this Southwestern Potato Salad, be sure to check out these other recipes:

Southwestern Turkey Burgers
Fireworks Pasta Salad
Buffalo Ranch Grilled Potato Salad
Grilled Chimichurri Lobster and Chimichurri Potato Salad
Chickpea Salad

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Southwestern Potato Salad

One of my favorite recipes from my friend Debi Shawcross’s cookbook, Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club Book, is this Southwestern Potato Salad. I love the buttermilk dressing, the musky flavor of cumin, and the fresh cuts of hearts of palm.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 352kcal


For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the salad

  • 2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes
  • Kernels from 1 ear cooked corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
  • 14 ounce can hearts of palm, drained, cut into 1/3-inch rounds
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1 poblano pepper roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt
  • 1 avocado peeled and chopped


Make the dressing

  • In a medium bowl whisk the buttermilk, mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin, coriander, and cayenne until well blended.

Make the salad

  • In a large pot of boiling salted water cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Ad the corn, onion, hearts of palm, tomatoes, poblano pepper, and cilantro. Drizzle dressing over the potato mixture and toss to coat. Season generously with salt. Gently stir in avocado and serve.


Elements of this dish can be prepared in advance. Make the dressing up to one day prior. The vegetables can be combined the morning of the gathering, and dressed an hour before serving.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club Book by Debi Shawcross (Franklin Green Publishing, 2011).


Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 129mg | Potassium: 2295mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 660IU | Vitamin C: 45.5mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 3.7mg
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Recipe Rating

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  1. Laura

    I just love your blog, and get excited when I see you have a new post. Your photos are some of the best around! Lovely salad.

  2. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    I love it when Rob and I are on the same recipe page – although that doesn’t happen very often (lol)! What a fantastic potato salad, Liren! You totally had me at buttermilk. I’ve never tried hearts of palm, but am always up for new-to-me ingredients. This looks just scrumptious! Beautiful update!

    • Liren Baker

      It is nice when you’re both craving the same thing, isn’t it, Traci? You definitely need to try the hearts of palm – it’s an added texture that I love!

  3. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    It’s important to have a go-to potato salad recipe and this particular one looks fabulous (digging the addition of avocado, corn, and cilantro). I’m sure I have similar recipes tucked away on the blog that I really should go back to and make again.

    • Liren Baker

      Oh Brian, it’s quite amusing (and scary) to dig into the depths of the blog and unearth old recipes! I love the food, but feel the need to reshoot them all, haha!

  4. Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    Yes, delicious review of Debi’s book. Her approach to food really resonates with me and including a shopping list is a lifesaver. Everything you made looks so enticing, but just in case we weren’t convinced, the chocolate cake really puts us over the edge :)

  5. The Cilantropist

    Ooo, Liren this menu sounds amazing! I have had Debi’s cookbook on my “wishlist” for awhile now, and your mouthwatering photos and genuine experience of using are making me want to buy it right now. (Even if only to make that chocolate cake!) The menu you chose was perfect, and the recipe you shared really sounds like something I would like – I am intrigued by the hearts of palm in the potato salad, I really love them!

  6. Jean

    Liren, I meant to tell you that hubs polished off the salad as soon as everyone left. I was happy to have had a taste earlier because he didn’t leave any for me! What a great salad! Debi’s blog is wonderful and I know I’d love this book. :-)

    Thank you for a allowing us to enjoy this beautiful salad at the brunch!

  7. Kate@Diethood

    Debi’s cookbook is waiting for me on my Amazon ‘wish list’! I am going to love cooking through it!
    I think I’m with your hubby… I like that choice, too…a lot!!

  8. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

    Liren – What a great dinner party! Debi’s book looks fantastic – putting on my list! I think you are brave to break the cardinal rule and hats off to you. I agree with your hubby – that chocolate cake is a must make. :)

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