Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette ❊ Simple, Fresh

The classic potato salad with a mayonnaise-based dressing that my mother made when I was growing up (along with everyone else’s mother, I think) isn’t something I could imagine eating other than during the summer. But I’d welcome the appearance of this more European version with a sassy vinaigrette on my table any time of the year. Voila, simple and fresh Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette.

Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette | © UrbanCottageLife.com

Don’t get me wrong — my mother’s potato salad was really good. It was creamy, tangy and had just the right amount of finely-diced crunchiness going on. I’ve made it often for my family. But about 15 years ago I discovered a French-style potato salad, made with a classic vinaigrette instead of a creamy dressing and I was in potato salad heaven. My kids, however, were not. When it comes to family recipes, they’re ardent traditionalists. So now I reserve my fancy-schmancy (but easy!) potato salad for myself and make the creamy version for family gatherings. Everyone’s happy!

This time, I decided to switch up the traditional vinaigrette for the basil honey version I just made recently. As decisions go, this was a very good one indeed. It imparted such flavour to the potato salad. I even went all out with this one and added some hard boiled egg, with the yolk mashed with more of the vinaigrette. That’s two for two in the excellent decisions department. This Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is definitely a dinner winner!

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Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette | © UrbanCottageLife.com

Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

  • Servings: Two entrée portions; four sides
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Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette | © UrbanCottageLife.com© Marlene Cornelis, Urban Cottage Life.com 2017

This is most likely not your mother’s potato salad! Made in the French style with a vinaigrette instead of a creamy dressing, but not the classic vinaigrette … this one is infused with basil and brings a beautiful green freshness to the plate. It’s worth making the vinaigrette just for this potato salad, and the yield of that recipe is exactly the amount needed here.

  • 1 lb miniature fingerling potatoes
  • 1/4 lb green beans
  • 1 small yellow zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 – 3 tbsp red onion, finely diced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 hardboiled eggs
  • (optional) 4 cornichons (gherkins)
  • 1 recipe Basil Honey Vinaigrette

Steam the potatoes just until fork tender (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then slice them lengthwise.

Top the green beans, but leave the tails on for a little extra flair. Slice them in two or three, so they’re about the same length as the potatoes. Drop them into boiling, salted water (enough to cover them by an inch or so), turn the heat down and cook for 4 minutes. Rinse the beans under cold water and spread on a plate or tray to cool.

You can make the potatoes and beans ahead of time, and keep them covered in the refrigerator once they’re no longer hot. On those sultry summer days, it’s always a good idea to get any cooking out of the way first thing in the morning, so you can be cool as a cucumber when you assemble dinner.

If you’re using the hard boiled eggs, halve them lengthwise and remove the yolks to a small plate. Add a pinch of salt and a couple grindings of black pepper. Roughly mash the eggs with a fork, then add a tablespoon of the vinaigrette and continue mashing and stirring until the yolk is fairly smooth. Return the now basil-infused yolks to the eggs; you can use a piping bag to make them pretty or take a more rustic approach like I did. If you wish, top with a few more drops of the vinaigrette.

To assemble the salad, place the potatoes, beans, zucchini and onion in a large bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grinding of black pepper, plus the rest of the vinaigrette. Toss gently until the ingredients have tumbled together and are evenly coated with the vinaigrette. Taste and adjust for seasonings if necessary.

Mound the salad in the centre of the serving plate, and garnish with two hard boiled egg halves and two cornichons, if using.

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Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette | © UrbanCottageLife.com

As you can see, I kept the vegetables in this salad simple. But first, those potatoes. I steamed some fingerlings from the Little Potato Company until fork tender (this is not a sponsored post; I’m simply a fan of their miniature, ever so creamy potatoes). After they were cooled to room temperature, I sliced them in half lengthwise. The rest of the vegetables were chosen for colour, crunch and flavour: lightly steamed green beans (tails left on for extra flair), raw yellow zucchini for a touch of sunny cheer, and finely diced red onion. The eggs were an optional addition, as a nod to the hard-boiled egg that often appeared in my Mom and aunties’ potato salads. The garnish of cornichons (gherkins) was a tip of the culinary hat to the classic French potato salad.

This Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette could easily grace the finest picnic (if only I had a checked cloth and a wicker basket!), but it also makes for a fine dinner while watching Netflix. No judgment!

Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette | © UrbanCottageLife.com

Looking for More Hearty Salads?

Salads don’t have to feature leafy greens! If you’re looking for some that are more substantial, check out Potato, Beet, Green Bean & Tomato Composed Salad, Potato, Corn and Chicken Salad and Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad with Chickpeas.

3 comments

    • Oh, wow, thanks! I always knew you had a discerning eye … yes, I’ve been working on the photography. I think I need to try a different lens though. I’m using a 50mm prime and the area of focus seems too narrow. Thank you for the compliment … your photos are wonderful, so of course I’m trying to copy you 🙂

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