Looking for potato salad without mayo? This healthy French potato salad recipe is vegan, tasty, and easy to make.Jump to Recipe
I discovered the French way to make potato salad after going on a hunt for potato salad recipes without mayonnaise.
I wanted a vegan potato salad. Not that creamy concoction most Americans have eaten a million times. The one you see at every supermarket deli counter or cold case …
Turns out this vegan French potato salad is way better!
Instead of mayonnaise, it celebrates heart-healthy olive oil in a flavorful vinaigrette, along with dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, shallots, loads of fresh herbs, and of course, salt and pepper.
It’s also got plenty of crunchy elements in dill pickle, shallots, and celery.
The salad makes for a satisfying addition to a healthy summer lunch or supper, or even just a great snack.
I love having cold vegetable salads as snacks. It’s such a healthy choice.
French potato salad is going to nourish your heart, digest easily, satisfy your hunger, and support your gut health.
Believe it or not, potatoes are associated with weight loss.
They are fat-free and filled with fiber.
Yes, the fiber is the secret!
Cold potatoes, and only cold potatoes, are loaded with a kind of fiber called resistant starch.
This fiber becomes more potent when potatoes are cooled, and when you eat cold potatoes the resistant starch slows the rate of absorption in the small intestine, lowering the glycemic index, and supporting overall metabolism.
The resistant starch is also a great food source for your good gut bacteria.
Potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamins B1 and B6, as well as potassium (a mineral that helps with overall mineral balance.)
When your gut is happy, and you feel satisfied and balanced from your food, you will also feel happy.
That’s why you will enjoy this salad so much!
How to make
This salad is very easy to make.
You’ll just want to give yourself an hour or so to boil the potatoes in salted water and then let them cool.
If you know you are making this, you can prepare the potatoes up to two days in advance and keep them in the fridge.
Once the potatoes are ready, assembling the salad will take you just a few minutes.
Meanwhile, you can prepare all the other ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Simply whisk together the olive oil, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Then chop your fresh herbs.
Then chop up your crunchy elements, which are the dill pickle, shallots, and celery.
If you chop the crunchy ingredients finely (and I recommend that you do), they harmonize with the vinaigrette, and become part of the sauce.
Now you have a crunchy sauce. Ummm … yum.
Once the potatoes are cooled, you can chop them up and add them to your mixing bowl.
I keep the skins on the potatoes, so there’s nothing to peel.
POTATOES: I recommend red potatoes, or if you want to go extra fancy use fingerlings or new potatoes. These varieties have thinner skins, so it is possible to keep the skins on the potatoes in your salad.
OLIVE OIL: Since you’re not cooking the olive oil, make sure to use your best quality cold-pressed oil. A good quality olive oil should taste pungent, and hit you in the back of the throat. That’s when you know it’s good.
Fortunately, it isn’t hard to find great extra virgin olive oil at a good price.
Just avoid the mainstream supermarket brands, and anything that’s a blend.
DIJON MUSTARD: Dijon mustard comes from Dijon, France, so naturally it is the best choice for a French potato salad. I love dijon for sauces and vinaigrettes, and appreciate its complex, clean, tangy taste.
I read that dijon mustard is made with a special tart liquid known as verjuice, which is made from unripe grapes. This gives it the characteristic flavor.
RED WINE VINEGAR: Another French classic, red wine vinegar is strongly tart and astringent with strong tannin notes and fruity fragrance. Again, it is one of my favorites for vinaigrettes.
SHALLOTS: Another French classic (I’m starting to sound like a broken record) shallots are very similar to an onion, but they tend to be smaller, milder, and sweeter.
Since we are using the shallots raw in this recipe, I like that they are not overpowering.
If you don’t have shallots, use a little red onion. Just be sure to chop your onions finely so that it doesn’t become too much in a single bite.
DILL PICKLE: I will say that dill pickles are optional in this recipe, since it will enhance the sour taste in the overall dish. If you are the dilly type, then definitely put them in. Just be sure to chop them up finely so they blend.
CELERY: Here you have a pure light and crunchy element. Use as much or as little as you like. Celery adds digestive support and is the ideal complement to potatoes.
Substitute with fennel bulb if you’re feeling creative or gourmet.
FRESH HERBS: French potato salad lends itself to many combinations of fresh herbs.
I could easily see fresh oregano in here, dill, a bit of tarragon, summer savory, and/or fennel bulb.
Making this salad is a great way to enjoy the fresh taste and bountiful nutritional value of culinary herbs.
When you add fresh herbs, you are bringing in bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes, which are all digestive and healthy.
Generally, most people don’t get enough of these tastes.
We also include a good amount of dijon mustard, which is a familiar Western digestive spice paste.
I also love that this salad stores so well.
The shallots are the only ingredient to be concerned with going bad, but since they are preserved in oil and salt, there is some built-in protection.
The salad can stand sitting at room temperature for hours and then go back in the fridge. I actually took it camping in my cooler and continued eating it after coming home.
Ways to enjoy
Take this salad to a garden party, or enjoy it as a side dish at an outdoor summer BBQ.
Speaking of side dishes, I can’t think of a more satisfying snack dish than this. When it comes to snacks, both savory and all-vegetable are at the top of my list.
Another great way you can enjoy French potato salad is as a topping for a simple green salad.
Add some chopped red bell pepper, tomatoes, and cucumber, and you’ve almost got a meal. Maybe include a couple of hard-boiled eggs.
The sky’s the limit friends.
Recipe for French Potato Salad
To cook the potatoes
- 4 cups red or fingerling potatoes, (see notes)
For the vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons shallots, minced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced (sub with 1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tablespoons dill pickle, chopped
- ¼ cup celery, finely chopped
Cook the potatoes
- Wash potatoes, place in a large pot, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, season water with a tablespoon of salt, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Test for doneness by piercing the potato with a knife and then lifting it. If the potato falls off the knife, it’s cooked. Drain water, and set potatoes in the fridge to cool.
Make the dressing
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, olive oil, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, optional shallots, parsley, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Stir well to combine. The dressing will be very thick and very flavorful. Don’t worry; the potatoes will absorb it.
Finish the salad
- Chop potatoes into ½-inch pieces and add them to the mixing bowl along with the dill pickles and celery, and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust for salt. If you like it more vinegary, add more vinegar or dijon mustard. Remember that the potatoes will absorb the flavors as it sits.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Sprinkle with extra parsley and black pepper for garnish. You can also enjoy this salad at room temperature.