potato salad

Potato salad doesn’t have to be a boring side dish. In fact, it can be the star of the show and its good for gut health.

Resistant starch and gut health

Resistant starch is found in plant foods and as it name explains, it resists digestion in the small intestine. In doing so it is transported to the large intestine and can:

  • increase insulin sensitivity – meaning that it has a beneficial effect on blood glucose levels
  • produce short chain fatty acids – which provide energy for intestinal cells and increase the growth of these cells
  • provide food for the healthy bacteria to grow – this helps to crowd out the bad bacteria that can cause gut issues

You can find it in a range of plant foods including: green bananas (used to make banana flour), ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, cooked and cooled rice, cooked and cooled pasta, oats, lentils, legumes and cashew nuts.

Due to the fermentation of the resistant starch in the large intestine it can cause bloating and abdominal pain in some people. If you have a sensitivity to these foods, then try the recipe as a side dish and see if you have any reaction.


If you haven’t tried potato salad with homemade mayonnaise then give this simple recipe a whirl because it will change everything. It goes by the title ‘The Best Mayo You’ve Ever Made’ and I agree, it really is. Here is the link to the recipe on the Whole30 website. It’s gluten free, dairy free, paleo and low FODMAP friendly (in line with serving sizes in the Monash University Low FODMAP App at the time of writing).

You only need 1 egg, 1 lemon, 1 + 1/4 cup of light olive oil and salt plus a blender, food processor or stick blender. A couple of tips: ensure that you use ‘light’ olive oil (not virgin), use the juice of a whole lemon and it tastes just as good without the mustard powder if you don’t have any.

Serving it as the main attraction

The resistant starch will form after it is chilled in the fridge. But the best thing about this salad, it that it can be eaten chilled or you can warm it up for serving and it can be topped with your choice of protein. Sliced steak, shredded chicken, flaked salmon, left over lamb roast, tinned salmon or tuna. Whatever you prefer or have leftover from another meal.


  • Cooking and prep time 20-30 mins, plus fridge chilling time
  • Serves 4-6
  • Dairy free
  • Gluten free
  • Grain free
  • Paleo
  • Low FODMAP (in line with the Monash Uni Low FODMAP Diet App at the time of writing)
  • Whole30


  • 1.3 kg/ 42 oz potatoes, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup spring onion tops (the green bit), chopped
  • 3 cups (loosely packed) green leafy vegetables (e.g. kale, silverbeet, spinach), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup homemade mayo
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste


  1. Wash and slice the potatoes into chunks
  2. Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pot of water with a pinch of salt, then reduce to a simmer
  3. In the meantime, prepare the homemade mayo and pour this into a jar or bowl. You’ll have some left over to store in the fridge after making this dish
  4. The seeds and nuts can be lightly toasted in a frypan (no oil) or they can be used raw
  5. In a large bowl add the chives, spring onion tops, seeds, nuts, salt and pepper
  6. Gently simmer the green leafy vegetables in a saucepan with a little water, or use a steamer. Once slightly cooked, remove from the heat and strain if needed
  7. Once the potatoes break apart easily with a knife, strain and leave to cool in the strainer (so that any remaining water evaporates)
  8. Add the cooked potatoes to the bowl along with the green veggies
  9. Add the mayo and mix with a large spoon
  10. Pop this in the fridge to chill
  11. To serve, divide into bowls, heat if needed and top with your choice of protein


  • Gropper, S & Smith, J 2013, Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, 6th edn, Wadsworth, Belmont.
  • Gower, A et al. 2016, ‘Baseline insulin sensitivity affects response to high-amylose maize resistant starch in women: a randomized, controlled trial’, Nutrition & Metabolism, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 2-8.
  • Whitney, E et al. 2014, Understanding Nutrition: Australian & New Zealand edition, 2nd edn, Cengage, South Melbourne.
  • CSIRO 2016, Which foods contain resistant starchhttp://www.csiro.au/hungrymicrobiome/food.html