I never thought I could love a potato salad so much…until now. This is not your typical mayonnaise-coated, bland-tasting potato salad that everyone seems to have a love-hate relationship with. No, my friend, this potato salad just might be the best potato salad around. It’s the summer side dish you don’t want to miss.
It’s an herby, savory combination of flavorful fresh herbs, scallion, and sauteed leek that come together to make one incredible potato salad. Paired with all those fresh herbs – chives! dill! parsley! – it’s a magical combination.
It’s a side dish perfect for BBQs, cookouts, or potlucks with friends, because it’s easy to make ahead of time, takes less than 25 minutes to prepare, and is excellent served at room temperature, too. You’re really gonna love it, so let’s get to it!
A few simple, yet flavor-packed ingredients make this incredible potato salad. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Baby Potatoes: you’ll want to use a waxy potato like baby Yukon Gold potatoes, or baby red potatoes. Fingerling potatoes would work, too.
- Waxy potatoes have a thin skin that doesn’t require peeling and a creamy textured inside. They’re lower in starch and higher in moisture and sugar, so they’re a little sweeter with great flavor. They hold their texture when boiled, making them the best option for potato salad.
- Leeks: It’s hard to describe the magic that happens when the leeks saute up, becoming extra savory, slightly sweet, and delicate flavor that pairs perfectly with the potatoes, vinaigrette, and herbs. If you must substitute, I recommend thinly sliced shallot (raw or sauteed).
- Fresh Herbs! There are a lot of herbs in this potato salad, which is the most wonderful thing. A combination of fresh dill, chives, and parsley. All are relatively budget-friendly to buy and can be easily grown in your garden or pot. They grow like weeds, so you’ll always have them on hand!
- Scallion: otherwise known as green onions. Use the white and dark green parts to add more subtle onion flavor and a little texture throughout the salad.
- Salt: an important, noteworthy mention because salt is key for cooking flavorful potatoes.
Potato Salad Dressing
Now, if you’re wondering what kind of dressing we’re using for potato salad, this no-mayonnaise version uses a bright, tangy red wine vinaigrette for its dressing, similar to what you would find in German potato salad.
It’s slightly creamy from the dijon mustard and the emulsification with the olive oil. The other key ingredients in the dressing include red wine vinegar, garlic, and salt. That’s it!
How to Make Herby Potato Salad
There are just a few simple steps to make this deliciously flavorful potato salad. The longest part is boiling the potatoes, but even that goes pretty quickly and you can prepare the remaining salad components while they boil – doing double duty and making the process super-efficient.
Step 1: Boil the Potatoes
The most important step in making potato salad is ensuring that the potatoes are boiled perfectly – not too firm, just perfectly tender without falling apart. Here are a few quick tips for making perfect potatoes for potato salad.
Boil the potatoes whole, not cut, when making potato salad. This helps the interior texture of the potato stay creamy and firm because there is no inside surface area cooking, preventing it from becoming mealy or crumbly.
Salt the water well. Potatoes absorb a lot of water, so it’s important that it’s salty water to infuse them with flavor, as you would when cooking pasta. Use approximately 1 tablespoon of salt.
Start the potatoes in a cold pot of water. Don’t add them to an already boiling pot of water, otherwise, they won’t cook evenly.
Step 2: Saute the Leeks
While the potatoes are coming to a boil, cook the leeks and continue with the rest of the steps and prep the herbs. Then, when the potatoes are done, it all comes together quickly!
Now, before you saute the leeks, it’s important to clean them properly. Be sure to check out my guide all about leeks for more information on how to clean them properly.
For this recipe, we’ll slice the leek in half and then slice it into thin half-moon slices.
Saute them in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt until golden brown and fragrant. This will take about 8-10 minutes, with occasional stirring.
Step 3: Prepare the Dressing
To prepare the dressing, simply whisk together the red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic clove (pressed or really finely minced so it incorporates throughout the dressing), and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking so it emulsifies.
To take a shortcut, throw the ingredients into a jar and shake away until combined.
Step 4: Put it all Together
Once the potatoes are fork-tender, drain them and give them a quick rinse with cold water. Let them cool until you’re able to handle them, then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Because they are already cooked, it’s not as important that they are evenly sized.
I will usually cut them in half and then in half again to quarter the potatoes. Try slicing them or just halving the really small potatoes for even more variety. Use a sharp knife for best results.
Toss the still slightly warm potatoes in the dressing for best results. They’ll soak in the dressing and become even extra flavorful. Let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes if you have time.
Toss in the golden leeks, scallions, and herbs. Taste test and adjust salt and pepper levels as needed.
Serve immediately, or even better, let it sit for up to an hour before serving to let the flavors meld together. You can also prepare the salad up to a day in advance.
What to Eat With Potato Salad
Ah, the quintessential bbq side dish that is potato salad…but what else do you serve with it?
There are endless options when it comes to bbq side dish recipes, but a few are classics that are sure to be a hit to serve together. Why not try some baked beans or some corn on the cob? Coleslaw is another classic potluck side dish to go alongside potato salad or maybe try pasta salad.
As for mains and dinner ideas with potato salad, any of your favorite grilling recipes are spot on – like your favorite burger, vegetarian hot dogs, or cauliflower steaks. It would also be great served with a simple salmon, crispy rosemary fish, or shrimp skewers.
FAQs and Recipe Tips
Because this potato salad is made without mayo or eggs, it’s much more stable at things like picnics and potlucks. It can stay at room temperature for up to 2 hours, then place in the fridge.
Store leftover potato salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. I don’t recommend freezing potato salad as the texture doesn’t necessarily thaw out well.
Generally, the rule of thumb is just under 1/2 pound of potatoes per person. This recipe serves 4 smaller-sized servings. You can easily double it to make more.
Make-Ahead: you can easily prepare the potato salad a day in advance, just store it in the fridge and take it out about 20 minutes before serving so the dressing has a chance to loosen up a bit (the olive oil may somewhat harden in the fridge).
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Herb and Leek Potato Salad (no mayo, no eggs)
- 1 ½ pounds baby gold potatoes, or another baby waxy potato
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups leek (2 medium), white and light green sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons scallions , (2 whole) white and green parts, chopped
- Add whole, cleaned potatoes to a large pot. Cover them with 1 inch of water and add a hearty pinch of salt. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain, then let cool slightly until you can handle them. Cut into half or quarters, depending on their size.
- Meanwhile, add oil to just coat the bottom of a medium skillet. Heat over medium-high heat, then add the sliced leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Dressing: whisk together all of the dressing ingredients except for the oil, then slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking. Once the potatoes are cut but still warm, toss them in dressing and let sit for 5-10 minutes if you have time – this helps them absorb the flavor. The longer they rest, the better!
- Stir in the fresh herbs, scallion, and leek until combined. Serve at room temperature or cool in the fridge, and enjoy!