No mayo necessary.
This French potato salad recipe doesn’t need mayo. Instead, a fresh vinaigrette gets tossed with warm potatoes and tons of fresh herbs for a true standout side dish.
Potato salad may conjure images of lumpy, clumpy starch congealed in a mayonnaise bath. But potato salad can also be fresh, summery, and bright with acid and herbs.
This French potato salad recipe is the latter, and one of my favorite dishes to make year round, but especially in warm summer months, when room-temperature food is a great idea. This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s potato salad recipe. I’ve been making (and tweaking) it for years, and this is my easier, alcohol-free version that tastes just as good.
What Is French Potato Salad?
French potato salad is a vinegar-based potato salad, usually dressed with herbs, onions, hard-boiled eggs, and the like. This differs from the potato salad more common in America, which relies on mayonnaise as its base.
I love standard American potato salad, but prefer this French potato salad recipe. In addition to being a little more food safe than its mayonnaise-based cousin (at least as far as hot summer outdoor barbecues are concerned), this just feels like a more interesting, fresh take on an old standard — despite that the recipe is classic French.
French Potato Salad: Recipe Notes
- Do cook the potatoes until fork tender.
- Choose the right potato. I prefer small, waxy yellow potatoes like fingerling or Yukon Gold. If you use Yukon Gold or anything larger than a fingerling, I would cut the potato in half or quarters.
- If you don’t have basil, just use dill, and so on. Scallions are a non-negotiable for me because the flavor is so good with potatoes, but have fun with it and use what you have. The best options are dill, scallion, basil, parsley, and chives. Avoid “hard” herbs like thyme.
Here are some more tasty potato recipes:
French Potato Salad With Fresh Herbs
- 2 pounds small, waxy boiling potatoes, such as fingerling
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar (can substitute white wine vinegar)
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon French whole-grain mustard, such as Maille or Pommery brands
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to boil the potatoes
- 1 teaspoons fresh-cracked black pepper
- 1 bunch fresh scallions, green and light-green parts, sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons each of chopped fresh basil, dill, and parsley, or some combination thereof
- Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain well, and return to the pot off heat.
- While the potatoes are boiling, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and pepper. Separately, chop and mix together the scallions and fresh herbs.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the warm potatoes and stir to combine. Add the fresh scallions and herbs, reserving a bit for garnish.
- Toss gently and taste for seasoning. Pour into a serving bowl, garnish with the reserved herbs and a little more salt and pepper, and serve.