Recipe Idea: Easy Potato Salad

Having the most frugal grocery budget in the world isn’t going to help you and if you can’t put together at least a few healthy, tasty, and cheap eats! Every month, The Outlier Model features a cheap recipe idea, along with the cost breakdown.

Summer is almost upon us, and with it comes… BBQ season!  Brian and I were invited to our first BBQ of the summer the other week.  It was a very frugal potluck style dinner which featured un-frugal contributions from some individuals including store-bought cookies and pie.  Sigh.  Brian and I bought one of my favorite summer recipes, potato salad.  It’s an incredibly simple recipe that is also easy to modify and customize.  I bring it to countless BBQs and have always had a good response.

Because we ate it all before CF remembered to take a photo….(Photo credit: http://www.life123.com/food/sides/side-salads/german-potato-salad.shtml)


  • 3lbs of small bite-sized potatoes in a variety of colors ($6)
  • 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced ($0.10)
  • 1/4 of a red onion, chopped ($0.25)
  • ranch dressing to taste ($0.50)
  • 2 teaspoon salt (< $0.05)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper  (< $0.05)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar ($0.10)

Scrub the potatoes clean, leaving the skins on.  Boil the potatoes until they are tender, about 10 or 12 minutes, then strain.  Together in a large bowl, toss the potatoes, celery, and seasoning with enough dressing to lightly coat the potatoes.  Toss again with a sprinkle of the vinegar.  Then on top, sprinkle the red onion.  You can refrigerate the potato salad until you are ready to serve.

Servings: 10

Cost per serving: About 70 cents per serving or less, depending on how much each person eats!

Frugal hack:  You can use regular potatoes instead of the mini bite-sized potatoes and just chop them up into bite-sized chunks.  You’ll save quite a bit of money because the little potatoes are ridiculously expensive!  (But oh-so-cute!)

Feeling adventurous: In addition to the basic toppings, you can also add fresh parsley, green onion, grated cheddar cheese or bacon!

Full disclosure: Yeah, yeah… it’s a lazy person’s potato salad – but that’s what makes it great!  However, if you want to be all fancy and make your own dressing, it’s still pretty easy.  Just combine one part mayonnaise with one part sour cream plus half a package of ranch seasoning and use this in place of the “ranch dressing” in the recipe.

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