Peruvian Causa – Layered Potato Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on May 9, 2009

causa3
When my friends B and R, who lived in Peru for a few years told me about this salad, I just had to make it. A causa, they explained is anything layered with mashed potatoes. In Peru, they use seafood, avocados, tomatoes, olives and sometimes eggs in the salad. Traditional causa also has aji amarillo – Peru’s signature yellow pepper.

I used three different colored potatoes to make the salad look vibrant and festive. I used Peru’s own purple potatoes, white fleshed potatoes, and red skinned potatoes colored orange with food coloring (or saffron).

The possibilities are endless with this salad, you can layer the potatoes anyway you like, with anything you like! You dont need a special mold to assemble this salad. Read on to see how you can use common household items to stack up these colorful layers.

Coincidentally, two other friends, also called B and R (how weird is that!), just returned from Peru. They got me the gorgeous orange sun-and-moon plate you see in the first, last and below pictures.

Peruvian Causa - layered potato salad

Peruvian Causa
Serves about 8 as an appetizer

For the Multicolored layers
I used 1/2 pound or about 10 baby potatoes of each color. You could use larger sized potatoes, they will make the peeling a bit easier. Just make sure you boil and mash each kind of potato separately.

White potato layer
½ pound white potatoes
½ tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
Salt and Pepper

Boil the potatoes in water till they are fork tender. Drain and peel them. Add all other ingredients and mash the potatoes.

Orange potato layer
½ pound red skinned potatoes
A pinch of saffron or orange food coloring (I used food coloring)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
Salt and Pepper

Boil the potatoes in water till they are fork tender. I prefer to keep the red skins on because they add more color. If using saffron, warm the milk and saffron in the microwave for a few seconds. Then add all ingredients to the potatoes and mash well.

Purple potato layer
½ pound purple potatoes
½ tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
Salt and Pepper

Boil the potatoes in water till they are fork tender. Peel the potatoes. Add all ingredients to the potatoes and mash well.

Peruvian Causa

Peruvian Causa

Vegetable and Olive layer
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
½ cup of your favorite olives, chopped. I used a combination of kalamata and halkidiki. Use less olives if you don’t like it too salty
½ tsp lemon or lime zest
1-2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper (watch the salt because the olives are already salty!)

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate till you are ready to use them.

coupling for causa


How to assemble Causa
Gather the prepared white, orange and purple colored potatoes and the vegetable-olive salad.

You will need a ring mold or something similar to make this salad. I used a 2×2 coupling (whatever that is!) from the hardware store. Here are some other things you can use to assemble the causa:

- A plastic bottle (without ridges) that has been cut so both ends are open
- A PVC pipe cut to about 2 inches tall
- A round ring mold like this one

Peruvian Causa - layered potato salad

Wash the mold well, especially if its a pvc pipe or some other hardware! Place your mold on a serving platter. Start with 2-3 teaspoons of the purple potato. Place it into the mold. Using the back of the spoon, press the mashed potato down to compact it as much as you can.

Then place 2 spoons of the vegetable-olive mixture followed by the white potato, more vegetable-olive mixture, ending with orange potatoes.

Compress and smooth out each layer as you go along.

Peruvian Causa

Now, gently lift the mold/coupling/pvc pipe to reveal a gorgeous multi layered, multi colored salad!

Peruvian Causa

Serve on a bed of lettuce with creamy avocado dressing.

Creamy Avocado Dressing
1 ripe avocado
3 tbsp Greek style yogurt
Salt and pepper

Combine everything and mash with a fork till the dressing is smooth and creamy. Add some milk for a thinner dressing.

creamy avocado dressing

Peruvian Causa

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{ 2 trackbacks }

20 Delicious Recipes For Gourmet Salads Without Mayo | Hugging the Coast
June 10, 2009 at 11:50 pm
Peruvian Causa – Layered Potato Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing | What2Cook
January 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lisaiscooking May 9, 2009 at 11:42 pm

That is absolutely beautiful food! And, it sounds delicious, especially with the avocado dressing.

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2 Elra May 10, 2009 at 1:23 am

OMG, This is incredibly beautiful. You must submit this to Potato Ho Down event. They’ll love it.

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3 subbuki May 10, 2009 at 1:31 am

Absolutely fantastic. I just love your blog, the recipes you choose and the way you present them. Very unusual (in a nice way)

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4 Trupti May 10, 2009 at 2:04 am

wow what a lovely salad..i never heard of this before..looks very very yummy..lovely click

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5 Pavani May 10, 2009 at 2:14 am

That dish looks too beautiful to be eaten, but I'm sure it tastes equally delicious. Awesome pictures. Ur new sun & moon plates look great too.

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6 Joie de vivre May 10, 2009 at 2:30 am

How beautiful! Those purple potatoes are really something aren’t they? Gorgeous photos.

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7 Prathibha May 10, 2009 at 2:47 am

OMG…Look at that salad…Its looking so lovely..never saw purple potatoes n the orange ones..I love food in natural colours..looking gorgeous..

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8 Home Cooked Oriya Food May 10, 2009 at 2:50 am

1st time here. Very nice site and very nice dish too… Your profile was an interesting read too…

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9 Varsha Vipins May 10, 2009 at 4:44 am

OmG..u know what I feel now..Take that thing n keep it in my shelf..:D:D.gorgerous Sala..hats off..:)

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10 Sharmilee! :) May 10, 2009 at 5:56 am

The layers look soo colorful & beautiful!

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11 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 10, 2009 at 6:35 am

This is absolutely breathtaking! What a glorious job you’ve done here. I’m speechless! :o

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12 Rosa's Yummy Yums May 10, 2009 at 9:02 am

So pretty, colorful and delicious looking! A wonderful speciality!

Cheers,

Rosa

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13 Rachel Cotterill May 10, 2009 at 9:32 am

That looks stunning! And I’m sure it tastes good too :)

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14 Yasmeen May 10, 2009 at 11:32 am

Fabulous pictures and the salad is such is interesting combination of flavors and colors.thanks for the alternative molds,I’m booking this for sure:)

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15 Dana May 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm

For real Sala? That’s not even food, it’s just art. The quality of your photos and the styling continues to blow my mind. You obviously put a lot of love and effort into that dish and it shows!

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16 Jes May 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Oh my lord, those are so beautiful!! I love Peruvian food. I spent some time in the Amazon a couple of years ago, which is totally different than the pototatoey Andes region, but I think this dish could take me right back. And the use of the coupling is ingenious!

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17 veggievixen May 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm

wow, this is so gorgeous! i love purple potatoes–what a great color. your plate is very pretty too :)

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18 Cham May 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm

The plate is very pretty, the tower u built with potato is just amazing! Always great pict!

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19 Pam May 10, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Wow – it’s the prettiest salad I’ve ever seen. Great photos.

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20 Daily Spud May 10, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Beautiful – that is definitely one for the Spud to try!

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21 Parita May 11, 2009 at 7:15 am

Gorgeous pictures…potato salad as never looks soo colorful and yummy to me before….love your blog..first time here..me too a vegetarian and i love your collection…will visit regularly :)

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22 Grace May 11, 2009 at 1:21 pm

what a fantastic dish! that presentation and color combination simply can’t be topped, and the fact that it’s made from taters and avocados makes me absolutely giddy. awesome, awesome dish!

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23 Olga May 11, 2009 at 2:58 pm

you are an ARTIST. Your photo and presentation skills are just incredible.

And of course I’m sure the salad tasted great :)

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24 Ulla May 11, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Gorgeous! your photo’s belong in a magazine! those colors, just wonderful!

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25 Deseree May 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Absolutely beautiful! Your pictures are fantastic, and I love the presentation of your recipes. Nice job!

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26 anudivya May 11, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Does one even eat that!!! Sala, that is a piece of art, looks so exquisite! I wish I could be as skilled as you!

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27 Laavanya May 11, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Wow that looks gorgeous – what a stunning salad.

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28 Marta May 11, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Oh wow! what a visually appealing dish! This looks great, just like a party on your plate!
I really like your blog! Fun concept! Only, your “won’t touch” foods are my “can’t get my hands off them” foods! Hahaha the diversity of tastes!

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29 Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks) May 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm

That looks just beautiful! Sounds delicious to boot!

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30 Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." May 11, 2009 at 9:10 pm

wow, this is sooooo beautiful! A very creative way to make a humble potato be so proud.

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31 Ramya Vijaykumar May 11, 2009 at 9:12 pm

OMG lovely colors interesting and I am all into this Salad now!!!

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32 Soma May 11, 2009 at 11:46 pm

That is the most beautiful potato recipe I have ever seen. How did u even eat this?

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33 5 Star Foodie May 12, 2009 at 1:47 am

Seriously, this is the best and the most beautiful potato salad I’ve ever seen! You absolutely have to submit it to Potato Ho Down for sure. I can’t wait to make this! My daughter will really love it!

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34 Beatrice May 12, 2009 at 2:00 am

I didn’t know that purple potatoes existed… Where did you find them?

I especially like the use of the PVC pipe.

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35 Cindy DG May 13, 2009 at 12:04 am

How pretty and creative!! :)
Cindy
http://vegetarianmamma.blogspot.com

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36 Cynthia May 13, 2009 at 4:25 am

You have outdone yourself here! What a colour and beautiful creation.

I am so envious that you get such a variety of potatoes to work with.

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37 A_and_N May 14, 2009 at 1:04 am

I haven’t seen a prettier thing! So so so pretty.

You are indeed an artist!

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38 FlyingRoo May 14, 2010 at 10:56 pm

This must be the most creative use of a pipe fitting I’ve ever seen – and I’m a piping engineer so I know what I’m talking about!
The dish itself is DIVINE, absolutely a masterpiece – almost too beautiful to eat… well, not really, I’d eat it in no time ;^)

BRAVO!

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39 Dana Zia July 20, 2010 at 5:59 am

Wow! These are so beautiful! We are growing purple, red and french fingerlings this year and this would be a great dish to highlight them in. Thank you for the lovely idea.

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40 Kulsum@JourneyKitchen August 13, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Awww! That plate. I WANT THAT! Mission for life: Find a friend from Peru :P

Really just loved it. And as for the causa, it looks fabulous.

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41 Karla August 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm

this is my favorite Peruvian dish! :) (I’m from Peru) … you made it perrrrrrrrrrr-fect!

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42 GailRose April 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I have just made this dish for a school project it turns out beautifully but is very time consuming, although its worth it and tastes greaat!!!!!

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43 The Mistress of Spices April 26, 2011 at 11:08 am

These are absolutely gorgeous!!!

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44 JoAnn July 2, 2011 at 1:50 pm

This is the most beautiful dish. I used annato oil for the orange color since it has less flavor than saffron and the oil helps hold the potatoes together. Well done!

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45 Elbey April 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Hi,
Thanks for posting this… A couple of pointers… Causa is different from mashed potatoes in that it has lime juice and aji amarillo paste for color and flavor and oil for binding (never butter nor milk). The texture before stacking has to be like a masa. A great one to make and add color to your layers is beetroot causa. Basically you add one cooked and mashed beet to the yellow potato mix and you get a deep red color that is wonderful and nutritious. Another tip, for a mold I have used an ampty can with both top and bottom taken out and edges smoothed to prevent cuts…. Congrats on the blog!

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46 tanya @ i heart chocolate milk June 5, 2012 at 8:59 am

this looks delish!!! almost too pretty to eat!

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47 Jeannette January 12, 2013 at 3:55 am

I will for sure be making this and yes I see opportunity to play around with it. Perhaps even using sweet potatoes for the orange colour.
I also thought my hamburger press might do the job to compress it into….little wider, more short and fat!
Thank you for sharing!!

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