French Potato Salad

5 from 2 votes

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This mayo-free potato salad is very clean tasting, with fresh herbs and a touch of mustard and a lovely vinaigrette dressing.

Bowl with French Potato Salad set on a table with utensils and other foods.
Large white bowl of French Potato Salad with a spoon.

What is French Potato Salad?

French potato salad is essentially a potato salad made with a vinaigrette-based dressing vs. a mayonnaise based one. It also typically contains Dijon mustard, some member of the onion family, as well as a generous flurry of fresh herbs.

What Kind of Potatoes to Use

You will want to use waxy, non starchy potatoes for potato salad, which tend to hold their shape better. They also have thin skins, which means you don’t have to peel them unless you want to. And for this salad I went with baby potatoes, and cut them into thin slices before cooking them, about ¼-inch thick. You could definitely go with larger waxy potatoes, red or white or yellow. You can cut those into ½ inch cubes, or cut them into quarters, and then slice the quartered potatoes ¼-inch thick.

Spoon scooping French Potato Salad onto a wooden plate.

How Long to Cook Potatoes for Potato Salad

If you slice the potatoes, or cube them into small dice they should take about 10 minutes to cook until just tender. Don’t let them overcook, as they will start to fall apart. And even as they cool in the dressing, they will continue to soften slightly, so make sure to take them out just at the point of tenderness.

French Potato Salad: This mayo-free potato salad is very clean tasting, with fresh herbs and a touch of mustard and a lovely vinaigrette dressing.

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Dress the Potatoes While They are Still Warm

Make sure to finish the dressing while the potatoes are simmering, because you will want to pour the olive oil and vinegar based dressing over the potatoes while they are still warm, so they soak up the dressing nicely.

French Potato Salad piled in a large white bowl.

Once you drain the potatoes, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet or tray of some kind. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the potatoes. When they are slightly cooled Using a spoon, or your hands when they are cooled slightly, toss the potatoes in the dressing on the baking sheet. Spread them out again and let the whole thing come to room temperature. Transfer to a serving dish and serve at room temp.

A Change of Pace No-Mayo Potato Salad

Did anyone miss the mayo? Nope. This potato salad you see sitting before you was inhaled by a bunch of teenage boys. And it was on a buffet with things like ribs and chicken wings and other magical teenage boy foods that might have distracted from the humble potato dish.

Bowl with French Potato Salad set on a table with utensils and other foods.

I rarely am surprised when a dish is so heartily embraced – I usually see it coming from a cutting board away. And conversely I rarely have false expectations about how excited the kids are going to be about a rutabaga puree. I know who I made that for, and it wasn’t Jack and Charlie and associates. This time, I was surprised by the French potato salad.

But in a good way, and I hope you will, too.

What to Serve with French Potato Salad:

Ribs (in the photos are Cajun Sticky Ribs, recipe coming soon, but you could try Asian Baby Back ribs, too).

French Potato Salad on a wooden plate and in a large bowl.

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5 from 2 votes

French Potato Salad

This mayo-free potato salad is very clean tasting, with fresh herbs and a touch of mustard and a lovely vinaigrette dressing.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 People
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Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, adjusting the heat so that the potatoes stay at a simmer, about 8 minutes. Drain and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, scallions, shallots, mustard, parsley, basil, thyme, dill and salt and pepper.
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the warm potatoes on a baking sheet and gently toss and spread them out again. Allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature, and soak up the dressing.   Adjust seasonings to taste.   Transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature.

Notes

You will want to use waxy, non starchy potatoes for potato salad, which tend to hold their shape better. They also have thin skins, which means you don’t have to peel them unless you want to.   And for this salad I went with baby potatoes, and cut them into thin slices before cooking them, about ¼-inch thick. You could definitely go with larger waxy potatoes, red or white or yellow. You can cut those into ½ inch cubes, or cut them into quarters, and then slice the quartered potatoes ¼-inch thick.

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 35mg, Potassium: 757mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 275IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 2mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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4 Comments

  1. P gallagher says:

    Can this be made the night before?

    1. Katie Workman says:

      yes, absolutely – bring it to room temperature before serving.

  2. Peg says:

    How many servings is this?

    1. Katie Workman says:

      It serves 8! The serving size is hiding under the headnote (and will be more obviously when the site is redesigned in January!)