Deliciously savory, this French potato salad is a slightly lighter version of traditional potato salad, prepared without mayonnaise. Made with tender, buttery baby yellow potatoes, shallots, lots of fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley and tarragon, this simple French potato salad recipe is dressed in a vinaigrette kissed with Dijon and whole grain mustard, champagne vinegar and olive oil for lots of vibrant flavor!
Potato Salad with a French Twist
While we often think of the spring and summer seasons as the ideal time to whip up a tasty potato salad to enjoy at a picnic or as part of a cookout, I love to prepare a batch of potato salad any time of the year to enjoy as a quick, savory side dish.
Served with fried or roasted chicken, or as an accompaniment to a deli-style sandwich, a good potato salad is a classic staple that goes well with pretty much anything, any time.
While I typically make a potato salad such as my loaded baked potato salad which has at least a little bit of mayo in it, I also really love a potato salad such as my warm German potato salad made without mayonnaise to keep things a little bit lighter and brighter.
My latest favorite mayo-less potato salad recipe to enjoy is this French potato salad, prepared very simply with a handful of fresh herbs, some thinly sliced shallots, and an earthy and bright mustard based vinaigrette to dress it all in.
This French potato salad recipe, made with buttery baby yellow potatoes, hits the spot deliciously! I love to keep a bowl stashed in the fridge from time to time to dig into with everything from roasted chicken thighs, to pan-fried fish, to a ham sandwich!
My Recipe for French Potato Salad
This potato salad recipe has just a small list of ingredients to create lots of bold, vibrant flavor, and baby yellow potatoes are the star here.
I love to use the small yellow potatoes here because they are deliciously buttery when tender, with a creamy, mild flesh. They're simply halved once cooked and cool enough to handle.
You could also substitute baby red potatoes if desired, or even regular size yellow or red potatoes. If using the larger waxy potatoes, you would cut them into smaller chunks once cooked and slightly cooled.
The other ingredients I like to add to my French potato salad recipe are a combination of fresh dill, parsley and tarragon to impart lots of delicious flavor, and thinly sliced shallots, which is milder than a regular yellow or red onion.
As for the bright and savory dressing, it's a mustard-based vinaigrette, and for this I like both Dijon and whole grain mustard (for the added texture), as well as champagne vinegar, a clove or two of garlic, lots of olive oil, plus salt and pepper.
The little trick to imparting even more flavor to the potatoes is to drizzle them with a little bit of the champagne vinegar when they're still warm after cooking, and allow that to penetrate before dressing them with the rest of the ingredients.
Here's a glance at my French potato salad recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I boil my baby yellow potatoes for about 25 to 27 minutes, or until easily pierced with a paring knife or fork. I then drain them and allow them to ever-so-slightly cool, just enough so I can handle them.
- Next, I whisk up my mustard vinaigrette, to have on hand and ready.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, I cut them in half (or cut into smaller chunks, if using larger potatoes), drizzle over some champagne vinegar to flavor them, and let them sit for a few minutes.
- Then, while still a little warm, I add in my sliced shallot and most of my fresh herbs, drizzle in my mustard vinaigrette, then toss everything together until well coated.
- I spoon the French potato salad into a serving bowl, then sprinkle with the rest of the herbs, and serve warm or room temp.
French Potato Salad
by Ingrid Beer
This savory French potato salad with fresh herbs and shallots is a light and vibrant pick, dressed in a mustard vinaigrette instead of mayo!
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 382 calories per serving
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 27 minutes
Total time: 42 minutes
Potato Salad Ingredients:
- 4 pounds baby yellow potatoes
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- ½ cup thinly sliced shallot
- 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoons fresh, chopped tarragon
Mustard Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- ½ cup champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (heaping) Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon (heaping) whole grain mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your potato salad ingredients according to the ingredient list to have ready and organized for use.
- Add the baby potatoes to a large pot, and cover with water by about an inch. Add enough salt to the water so that it tastes like the ocean, and place the pot over high heat to bring to the boil.
- Once the potatoes are boiling, reduce the heat to medium, and allow the potatoes to gently simmer/boil for about 25 to 27 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife or fork. Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool just enough to handle.
- While the potatoes cook, gather and prep all of the mustard vinaigrette ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the vinaigrette, add all of the ingredients (except for the olive oil) to the bowl of a food processor, and blend (you can also use a large bowl and a whisk to make this vinaigrette, if you prefer). Then, with the processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil in a thin stream, and process until completely blended and emulsified. Spoon into a bowl or into a glass mason jar, and set aside.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each in half and add to a large bowl. Drizzle over the warm potatoes the 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar and allow the potatoes to sit for about 10 minutes.
- To finish the French potato salad, add the shallots and most of the herbs to the warm potatoes (reserve about a teaspoon worth of each herb to use as garnish), as well as about half of the mustard vinaigrette, and gently toss to combine and coat. Add a little more salt and pepper, and taste to see if more vinaigrette is needed.
- Spoon the French potato salad into a serving bowl or onto a large platter, sprinkle with the remaining fresh herbs, and serve warm or room temp, or even chilled if you prefer.
Tips & Tidbits for my French Potato Salad recipe:
- Baby yellow or red potatoes: I love the way the halved baby potatoes look in this French potato salad, so I'm opting for yellow, or even red ones. However, you can sub regular, larger yellow or red potatoes, and just cut them into smaller chunks once they've been boiled. Russets are too dry and starchy for this potato salad.
- Mustard and herbs for that classic French flavor: I'm opting for two types of mustard to prep the vinaigrette for this potato salad. The types I enjoy are classic Dijon as well as the whole grain mustard, for a little texture. You can certainly use just one, or even sub in your own favorite type of mustard. I also love the combo of dill, tarragon and parsley here, but feel free to use only one, or even sub green onion or add in basil.
- Shallot for a milder note: Instead of using regular onion for this salad, which can be a bit too intense here, I like the flavor of thinly sliced shallot for just a touch of earthiness.
Craving more deliciously cozy potato salad recipes? Check out this Warm German Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, this Loaded Baked Potato Salad, or this Sweet Potato Salad!