Can a summer cookout truly be complete without potato salad? Can you imagine trying to explain its absence to your guests?

That’s all to say that potato salad is a crucial summer side and should be treated as such. Classic preparations always have their place at the table, but we have a few twists in case you’re looking to switch it up.

Warm Parslied New Potato Salad, above. This potato salad takes a German approach with mustard, vinegar and sweet onion doing the heavy lifting on flavor. While the recipe asks you serve this salad warm, you can totally eat it at room temperature.

(Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Japanese Potato Salad. With classic potato salad elements, such as mayonnaise, hard-boiled eggs and pickles, a few subtle swaps make this version new yet familiar enough to get everyone on board. A little dashi powder goes a long way, and vegetables add a subtle crunch. An unexpected add-in? Ham for a salty, umami punch.

(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Potato Salad With Kale Pesto. Don’t hate us for bringing kale into this. And while kale is certainly an unusual addition to potato salad, trust us when we say that kale and basil (with a little lemon) is a fantastic dressing for potatoes.

(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Amanda Soto/The Washington Post)

Mustard and Dill Potato Salad. One word to describe this one: zippy. Cornichons, mustard and vinegar add brightness, while a little bit of honey balances the scale. The best part? A whole bunch of fresh dill, chopped and stirred throughout.

(Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post)

Janice Canaday’s Potato Salad. Janice, a historical interpreter, keeps this potato salad classic and creamy. Crunchy bell peppers and celery, plenty of mayonnaise, sweet onion and mustard will take you back. As this recipe is meant for a crowd, scale it back if your gathering is more intimate.

(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Warm Sweet Potato Salad With Chorizo. From a classic, we go to something totally out of left field. Replace regular potatoes with their sweet cousin, add spicy chorizo and jalapeño, and completely rework the dressing. Though this potato salad is quite different from what you’ve probably had before, we’re certain you’ll approve.

(Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)

Farmers Market Potato Salad. A rather classic potato salad gets a lift from plenty of herbs: Tarragon, parsley, chive and fennel fronds with green peppercorns make this version sing of spring and summer bounty.

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