Potato and Poblano Rajas Salad

If you are going to try a new potato salad, it has to be this one.

It’s rich. It’s filling. Yet at the same time, it’s light and bright. How can this happen? You may wonder…

Soft tender potatoes are combined with an exuberant poblano chile rajas, or strips, and lightly caramelized red onion mix. It’s not a creamy salad, but one that has an unexpected vinegary kick, laced with olive and sesame oils.

In my kitchen, it’s a well documented fact that poblano chiles love the company of allspice. And it is no secret that potatoes love to be showered with tarragon. Mix it all up, and I want to eat the entire serves-six-people bowl.

Of course, potato salad is as familiar and old-fashioned as apple pie, but you have never tried one like this. It brings the character of Central Mexico, where the combination of papas con (poblano) rajas has a long history at the table. But this may be the first time you see that combination in a salad form.

I dreamed it up while sitting at my desk wondering how I could bring the legendary combination of potatoes and poblano rajas to your table. Maybe it was the seesawing March forecast teasing spring, after the coldest winter in years here in Washington, DC, that put the idea of potato salad in my head…

Perfect, I thought, if it comes out as I am hoping, to bring this substantial salad to your table for Easter, or Passover, or a cookout, or any occasion you may have in mind this spring, where a big bowl of the best-ever potato salad will come in handy. And: I loved it!

Don’t think about this as a potato salad with chile peppers.


poblano chiles

We are not using a spicy chile for the heat. We are adding the grand poblano chile, which is more like a stunning vegetable with mild heat than what many people consider all chiles to be.

Not only is the poblano a large, shiny, curvy, dark green beauty – it also has the most extraordinary rich, fruity, spirited flavor.

However, the poblano chile is a bit timid in it’s raw form and calls for a little coaxing, or prep work, before it can bring out its finest flavor, color and texture. Though, not to worry, it’s very easy to master the process of charring, sweating, and peeling the chiles.

prepping poblano chiles

Once you prep the poblanos a couple of times, you’ll see it’s no harder than roasting a red bell pepper. And the reward is in the deepened flowery, smoky, mildly spicy flavor of your transformed poblanos.

This salad is versatile, too. I like it warm, but you can eat it any way you prefer or best suits the occasion: warm, room temperature, or cold.

And it’s filling enough to eat as a main course for a quick lunch or as a side dish for a celebration table, for sandwich night, or for a backyard BBQ.

Seriously, give it a try.

potato and poblano rajas salad

Potato and Poblano Rajas Salad

Ensalada de Papitas con Rajas

Recipe Yield

6 servings

Cooking time

45 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.34 from 6 votes


  • 2 pounds baby red potatoes
  • 3 poblano chiles charred, sweated, peeled and cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 cups halved and thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

To Prepare

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Drop in the red potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes, until they are cooked through and the tip of a knife goes in without much resistance, but the potatoes are not falling apart. When ready, drain into a colander. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into halves.
  • In a large deep skillet or casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the sesame oil. Stir in the red onion and cook for about 12 minutes, stirring once in a while, until they have completely softened and edges have begun to slightly brown. Incorporate the poblano chile rajas (strips), stir, cook for a minute or two.
  • Add the tarragon, allspice and sesame seeds and cook for a couple minutes. Pour in the white wine vinegar and rice vinegar, stir, cook for another minute and turn off the heat.
  • Place the potatoes in a large bowl, pour the onion, rajas, oil and vinegar mixture on top, and gently toss. Serve warm, at room temperature (how I like them the best) or cold.


65comments inPotato and Poblano Rajas Salad

  1. Gayle G.

    May 08

    This is our new go-to potato salad! My husband made the recipe about six months ago and we found the charred poblano chiles, tarragon, rice vinegar, and sesame oil and seeds give this potato dish a new flavor combination that we love! The two of us could eat the whole dish in one sitting, but we remind ourselves that it tastes even better the next day when the flavors have fully married.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 11

      Thanks so much Gayle! You know how much I love poblanos 😉

  2. Katie

    Feb 01

    I just watched this episode on Prime and i just had to make this salad. My mouth was watering watching you make it. This salad is now my favorite potatoes salad! I do love your show….Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 04

      Thanks for tuning in Katie, my pleasure!

  3. Connie D'Andrea

    Aug 01

    WOW! This salad is soooo good and full of flavor! We watched Patty last night, as we do every time she’s on Create and I made this for dinner tonight and I had to try it. It is excellent!!
    Thank you Patty!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 02

      Thank you for always tuning in, Connie!

  4. Curt

    Jun 26

    Pati, I saw the episode on create tv with the Potato and Poblano Rajas Salad. I made it! Im hooked! It was pretty darn good. Thanks you.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 01

      Beyond happy to hear you are hooked, Curt 😉

  5. Susan

    Jun 23

    I have a truly United Nations family, although I am English/Scandinavian, my three daughters are French, American Indian, and Mexican, and between them and my sons in law and my 5 grandchildren, there is not a continent or country that is not in the mix. Lebanese, Chinese, African, the list is endless. I have made it my goal to celebrate all these cultures and heritages for all of them every time we have a family gathering. Your recipes have helped me SO much to do part of that. This 4th of July we are celebrating a daughter’s birthday and a country’s and this potato salad will make it’s debut. I know they’ll love it. I just wanted to thank you for all the work you to do bring your recipes to the world.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 23

      Thank you so much Susan. I hope you and your family have a wonderful July 4th!

  6. wnymoneydoctor

    Mar 31

    Pati I made this tonight for me and my boys. Saw this show and went on line and grabbed the recipe. Yummy! I enjoy your show!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 13

      I’m so glad you and your boys loved the salad!

  7. Jackie Fritz

    Mar 23

    Love this dish…. tonight will be the second time I am making it along with the Chipotle agave chicken wings and the No Bake Chocolate pie…. you and your show are inspiring … thank you 🙏

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 25

      Aww thank you so much, Jackie!

  8. Swadem

    Nov 05

    Should the sesame oil be toasted? Can’t wait to make this!

    1. Pati

      Nov 08

      I use regular sesame oil…and I hope you enjoy the salad!

  9. Alejandro Munoz

    Jul 01

    Look delicious
    I’m going to make it

    1. Pati

      Jul 03


  10. Marion j Rojas

    Jun 08

    My family loves this above all the other recipes, which they are very fond of!

    Marion J Rojas


    1. Pati

      Jun 08

      That is super amazing! Thank you for sharing Marion.

  11. mercury613

    Aug 30

    This recipe looks wonderful. I’m going to make it this weekend for a Labor Day BBQ, but I have a question about the sesame oil. I’m assuming you should use roasted (dark) sesame oil, as the unroasted kind does not have much flavor, but it’s always been my understanding that roasted sesame oil should never be used to sauté, and that it only should be added to dishes as a condiment. Does the cooking mellow the flavor? (2 tablespoons seems like quite a lot.) Thanks!

    1. Pati

      Sep 03

      Hi! I do use it for cooking, roasted, however, I heat it up for a very little time. It does not mellow the flavor at all, and I like its strong presence, try it out!

      1. mercury613

        Sep 05

        Thank you! Made this yesterday for a BBQ, and everyone loved it.

        1. Pati

          Sep 05

          Delighted! I make it quite often…

        2. Pati

          Sep 05

          Delighted! I make it quite often…

  12. Noel ray-ortega

    Jul 07

    Do you have a time estimate for boiling the potatoes? I ALWAYS overcook them. I made this recipe today and it was delicious but my potatoes weren’t as pretty as yours.

    1. Pati

      Jul 11

      About 20 minutes works for me, but I always keep an eye on them so they don’t get too mushy =)

  13. Amy Barlow

    Mar 15

    Pati, God love you. You are an inspiration to this little norteamericana. I now love poblanos and have shed my fear of all things picante. My Lex, who used to live in Austin, is so happy that I have embrace la vida picante. Gracias; siempre gracias. Amy (con un abrazo para Juju, even though I know he’s too old for that stuff now)

  14. Jim

    Jan 29

    I just made this for lunch today for my family and esta muy delicioso! Allspice is new to me but you were so enthusiastic about it on your show I felt confident I would like it too and I absolutely did. Thank you for the great recipes!

    1. Pati

      Jan 30

      Con gusto!

  15. Linda O'Connell

    Jan 27

    I love watching you cook, you make it look so easy. I am not the best cook but will try to make some of your yummy recipes. I really like Mexican food.

    1. Pati

      Jan 30

      I am sure you are great in the kitchen or else you wouldn’t be looking for tasty recipes 🙂

  16. Marilyn Albright

    Jan 08

    I have made this recipe many times, and often take it to pot lucks,where it is always a big hit! I have your cookbook and have made and enjoyed lots of your tasty recipes! I learned about you on Create TV. Thanks for all you wonderful recipes and information!

    1. Pati

      Jan 12

      Hi Marilyn, Thank you so much for getting my cookbook and for watching! Happy to hear you are enjoying the recipes!!

  17. Kiersten Coleman

    Nov 19

    Is the oil you used *toasted* sesame oil?

  18. Michael Illes

    Nov 10

    Esta comida es muy delicioso! Mi familia y yo preparamos el platillo y yo anade pimienta molida y jamon. El sabor es excelente! Muchos gracias por publicando la receta! 🙂

    1. Pati

      Nov 11

      Suena muy rico con jamón!

  19. Stephanie

    Sep 19

    Oh. My. Yes!!! I just made this for a bbq im having tomorrow and it tastes wonderful! What a great combo:-) i just adore peppers and potatoes. i hope i made enough! Although i did substitute sweet potato, white vinegar and Acv. Thank you for sharing. Instant favotite

    1. Pati

      Sep 19

      Yay! I hope everyone enjoys!!

  20. Maria Martinez

    Jul 06

    I love your show every Sunday I watch and love your recetas Gracias.

    1. Pati

      Jul 07

      Thank you, Maria!

  21. Mary Anne

    May 17

    What would be good in place of the white wine vinegar?

    1. Pati

      May 18

      Any other crisp vinegar that you like… such as white distilled vinegar.

  22. Jose Gomez

    May 13

    Hola Pati , Acabo de hacer este Platillo , Salió Riquísimo Muy buen complemento al Pollo a las brasas para la Cena de esta Tarde

  23. Jose Gomez

    Apr 26

    Gracias Pati por la Receta ! Se ve Deliciosa La Voy a hacer este Fin De Semana

    1. Pati

      Apr 26

      Espero que te guste muuuuucho, Jose.

  24. Mary Stoltz

    Apr 22

    OH MY GOODNESS!!! Must make this dish this weekend. Thank you so much Pati for opening my eyes to trying chiles but especially the poblano! I have to admit I am a bit of a spice wimp but trying to develop a stronger tolerance and I just LOVE the poblano. NEVER would have tried cooking with it without your show and guidance. Thank you!

    1. Pati

      Apr 22

      Delighted to hear! It is one of my favorite ingredients, by far.

  25. lou

    Apr 12

    utterly fantastic! I had leftover boiled organic gold potatoes, so I used them. fyi, I char the pepper under the broiler on foil; then wrap the pepper in the same foil to sweat. GRINGO ALERT! wow, good thing I only used one pepper–SPICY! as pati says, the heat can vary….. was out of rice vin., so I used cider. same with sesame, used veg. oil.

    using tarragon, allspice, and frying the onions–GENIUS. and the colors, so pretty and pastel for spring.

  26. Michelle

    Apr 10

    Looks wonderful and I live rajas. Pati, would you ever put a bit of meat in this? I was thinking of a potato salad my mom makes with little pieces of bacon. Might be tasty.

    1. Michelle

      Apr 10

      Oops, I meant love not live!

  27. Mari

    Mar 29

    Hola Pati, it looks delicious I will have to make it soon!
    I love your show thank you for your encouragement.
    Mari from Exeter CA

    1. Pati

      Mar 29

      Thank you, Mari!

  28. Frank

    Mar 29

    What a wonderful discovery we made today, quite by accident. Living in Scottsdale, AZ, we have come to LOVE Mexican cooking. Exactly what was that item assembled in a tall tapered glass with layers and layers of what looked like corn, peppers, cream, and more. It was wrapped in a napkin and eaten with a long spoon. I WANT IT! And everything else, tambien.

    1. Pati

      Mar 29


  29. Gerald

    Mar 28

    Luce deliciosa. Voy a prepararla. Que tenga un buen fin de semana.

    1. Pati

      Mar 28

      Igualmente, Gerald!

  30. Elaine

    Mar 28

    I love cooking with poblanos. I char several on the wood grill outside, sweat them, peel them and then freeze them individually so I have them when I need them; the smoked flavor in them is really wonderful.

    1. Pati

      Mar 28

      Elaine, I love them, too! Freezing them is a great idea – I do this as well.

  31. Liz

    Mar 28

    Thank you Pati for the lovely recipe. Have a Wonderful Weekend!

    1. Pati

      Mar 28

      I hope you do too, Liz!

  32. Tamara Belt

    Mar 28

    This looks amazing! I’m ready for summer. Will try soon. Thanks for sharing this creative take on the basic potato salad.

    1. Pati

      Mar 28

      Yay! Thank you!!

  33. Arthur in the Garden!

    Mar 28


    1. Pati

      Mar 28

      ; )

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