This fresh, no-mayo French potato salad with mustard vinaigrette and fresh herbs is a simple and delicious side any time of year.
Potato salad is a classic crowd-pleaser, what picnic or barbeque would be complete without one? It’s a staple year-round but even more so this time of year when outdoor get-togethers are at their all-time high. Of course if there’s one thing that doesn’t go well with the outdoors, it’s mayo. Heat and mayo just don’t mix; but that’s where this French potato salad comes into play.
It’s a mayo-free potato salad that’s a lighter and fresher alternative to the classic American potato salad, and one you don’t have to worry about sitting out at room temperature.
What is French Potato Salad?
The truth is there’s not just one kind of potato salad in France. There are lots of variations, some include chunks of ham, others douse the potatoes with white wine, and yes some even have a cream based dressing (in fact most of the prepared potato salads you find in grocery stores are cream-based). But what we often think of when we say French potato salad is one with a vinaigrette based dressing instead of a mayo based one because that’s one that’s the one that’s commonly made in French homes and the one we hear about most often.
How is French Potato Salad Different from American Potato Salad?
While the specific ingredients can vary, a French potato salad typically includes more subtle flavors, like shallots instead of onions and chives instead of scallions. Mustard is used to emulsify the dressing instead of mayo. It's also heavy on the fresh herbs like parsley or chervil.
Another difference is that the potatoes are dressed while still warm so as to absorb as much of the dressing as possible and served at room temperature.
How to make French Potato Salad:
- Potatoes – I like one or two bite baby potatoes the best because they are quick cooking but any creamy potato will do.
- Shallots – Finely minced they bring a mild onion flavor to the salad that won’t overpower the other ingredients.
- Dijon Mustard – Creamy Dijon helps to emulsify the dressing and adds a little heat.
- Red Wine Vinegar – Use your favorite red wine vinegar or feel free to substitute white wine or champagne vinegar instead if you prefer.
- Olive Oil – Use a good quality, peppery olive oil if you can for the best flavor.
- Fresh Herbs – I like a combination of chopped parsley and chives but tarragon is also a nice addition if you enjoy the flavor.
How it’s made:
- You start by cooking the potatoes. Slice your potatoes in half and cover them with water that’s at least one to two inches higher than the potatoes, then bring to a simmer and cook until fork-tender but not falling apart. (Depending on the size of your potatoes this could take between 8-10 minutes.)
- Once cooked, drain you potatoes (reserving a few spoonfuls of cooking water) and let them cool slightly while you whisk together the dressing and herbs.
- Add the still warm potatoes to the dressing and gently toss to coat. If the potatoes are looking dry a spoonful of the reserved cooking water to loosen the dressing.
- And that’s it; your potatoes are ready to serve! Serve them at room temperature and store any leftover in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
More potato recipes:
French Potato Salad
This fresh, no-mayo French potato salad with mustard vinaigrette and fresh herbs is
a simple and delicious side any time of year.
- 1 ½ pounds /660g one bite baby potatoes, scrubbed and sliced in half or quarters depending on size
- 1 ½ Tablespoons/22ml red wine vinegar (or substitute white or champagne vinegar)
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons/45ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅛th teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 2 Tablespoon chives, finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley (stems removed), finely chopped
- Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1-2 inches. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, salt the water and cook until potatoes are tender (about 8-10 minutes depending on size).
- Drain (reserving a few spoonfuls of cooking water) and let cool for 5 minutes while you make the dressing.
- In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper and shallot. Add potatoes and chopped herbs and toss gently to combine. If the potatoes look dry add the reserved cooking water a teaspoon at a time to loosen sauce until desired consistency.
- Serve at room temperature.
VARIATIONS: Substitute white wine or champagne vinegar for the red wine vinegar. Use regular fingerling instead of baby potatoes. Substitute or add your favorite fresh herbs such as basil, tarragon or thyme.
STORAGE: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
DIETARY INFO: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 10.5gSaturated Fat: 1.5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 286mgCarbohydrates: 29.6gFiber: 3.75gSugar: 1gProtein: 3.4g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.
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