This is how you make summer potato salad

This is how you make summer potato salad

This is my “I can’t deal” potato salad. (It’s also my favorite potato salad.)

In the heat of summer, when it’s too hot to move, it’s nice to have a few easy recipes you can rely on when you just can’t cook. These recipes hit the mark without making you sweat unnecessarily over a stove; they can be prepared in just a few steps. They are minimal, fresh and light and won’t make you heavy and heavy once you enjoy eating them.

This is a European style potato salad that I make all summer. It’s a regular part of our meals, so I don’t think twice about making it. I’ve been thinking twice about it lately, though, when I offered to bring a potato salad to a friends gathering. The host’s response was quick, “No, I don’t want anything rich, heavy, and full of fat.”

Her take on a potato salad was the American-style mayo-heavy salad, thickly covered in a sweet and creamy dressing, and this salad isn’t like that at all. It’s light and bright, laced with vinegar and oil, and tumbled with a handful of fresh herbs, which add flavor and leaf texture. The best thing, in my opinion, is that you can actually taste the potatoes, which in my book is the key to a good potato salad.

When making this salad, it is important to immediately mix the drained hot potatoes with vinegar so that they absorb the vinegar as they cool. Then add the rest of the ingredients, followed by the fresh herbs. Allow the potatoes to cool slightly before adding the spices so that they soften slightly from the residual heat without wilting too much.

From there you can tinker with the recipe to your own taste. White wine vinegar is the go-to, but you can alternate it with another light vinegar, such as champagne, cider, or even white balsamic.

As for the herbs, have fun with what’s growing in your garden. Parsley, chives, and dill are my favorites and I usually add all three at once.

Simple Summer Potato Salad

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar, such as white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried mustard, such as Colman’s
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (packed) chopped mixed green herbs, such as Italian parsley leaves, dill, and chives, plus more if needed


1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and add 2 teaspoons of salt.

2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Partially cover the pan and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes.

3. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Immediately sprinkle the vinegar over the potatoes and stir to combine, breaking the potatoes into bite-sized chunks with a knife. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Whisk together the oil, garlic, mustard, black pepper, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add to the potatoes and stir to blend. The potatoes will continue to break a bit as you do this.

5. Cool slightly, about 10 more minutes, then stir in the herbs. If it’s too dry, add a little more oil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning food and wine writer, cookbook author and recipe developer. She is also the author of the blog TasteFood, a compilation of over 600 original recipes, photos and stories.

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