French Potato Salad

Okay, I know this isn’t the usual baked good, but go with me on this one. I like a traditional potato salad, it’s fine, but what I really want from it is something with a bit more tang and some flavors other than just mayo. If you agree, then French Potato Salad is the perfect thing for you.

It’s got boiled potatoes, as you would expect, but instead of tossing them in a mayo-based dressing they go in a vinaigrette instead. Throw in a bunch of herbs – dill and parsley seem traditional but you do you – and it’s so bright and tangy and the perfect side for a heavier, meat-centric meal, like a good BBQ. It also happens to be vegan, if that’s something that you’re looking for!

While I think recipes should always be a starting off point that you tweak to fit what you like best, that is especially true here! You can use almost any vinegar you’ve got on hand, switch up the herbs, substitute (or even omit, if you want) the shallot and garlic. There are so many options! There are some key points to keep in mind when substituting:

  • the potatoes – you want to use something a bit waxy, like red potatoes, so that they retain their shape and stay delicious after being topped with a vinaigrette. Russets are a no-go here, they just won’t hold up
  • the shallot and garlic – you can really use any kind of onion here but just don’t skip the step of lightly cooking them in the oil. cooking them slightly tames the forward flavors that come from uncooked garlic and onion while also infusing the oil so you get the garlic and onion flavor in every single bite
  • the herbs & vinegar – use what you’ve got! I suggest choosing a flavor profile and going from there, adjusting the herbs, onion, and vinegar to all coexist beautifully. Think about the flavors that each bring to the table and how they’ll taste together. They should all get along and bring out the best in each other, not drown anything else out

With those tips you’re ready to make the French Potato Salad of your dreams, complete with whatever flavors make you happy!

French Potato Salad


  • 2 lbs red potatoes, or other waxy potato
  • 1 shallot
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 4 sprigs dill
  • small handful of parsley

How to do it

  1. boil the potatoes: in a large pot of salted water, boil your potatoes whole until they’re soft all the way through but not falling apart. start checking for doneness after 25 minutes, but it may take up to 45 minutes or more depending on the size of your potatoes
  2. make the vinaigrette: mince the shallot and garlic. add to a small pot along with the olive oil and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. let cook for 2-3 minutes then remove from the heat
  3. in a medium bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, and a couple of grinds of pepper. slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until it has all been incorporated. if you start to see a bunch of oil sitting on top of the vinegar mixture stop adding more oil and whisk vigorously to incorporate it all before continuing.
  4. prep remaining ingredients: roughly chop the dill, parsley, and capers. set aside
  5. bring it all together: once the potatoes are cooked, drain and return to the pot. top with a clean kitchen towel and cover with the lid and let steam for 10 minutes. you can skip this, but it creates a great texture in the potatoes
  6. cut the potatoes into bit sized pieces and place into a large bowl. pour on most of the vinaigrette, reserving some, and mix gently to not break up the potatoes. add the dill, capers, and parsley and mix. taste and adjust for seasoning – you may need to add more salt or the rest of the vinaigrette
  7. enjoy! serve warm or at room temperature

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