Vinaigrette dressing makes this perfect for picnics
Potato salad is the ultimate summer side dish. It never misses a cookout, barbecue, or picnic.
Green beans make this potato salad lighter and more colorful – not to mention tastier. And this salad features vinaigrette dressing instead of mayo, so you can serve it at room temperature.
That’s great for cookouts. You can leave this salad on the picnic table while you’re cavorting in the summer sunshine. Because after all that outdoor activity, you’ll want to go back for seconds.
Recipe: Potato and Green Bean Salad
This dish is similar to our French Potato Salad. But here we quarter or halve the potatoes (rather than slicing them), and of course add green beans. And the procedure for this dish is a bit more streamlined.
We generally use small red-skinned potatoes for this salad because we like their size (and they cook quicker). But you can use any waxy, boiling-type potato that you prefer.
Preparation time for this salad is about 30 minutes. You can make it ahead of time and serve cold, or serve it immediately at room temperature.
This recipe serves 6 to 8 as a side dish. Leftovers keep well for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- ~12 ounces fresh green beans (exact quantity is not critical)
- ~2 pounds waxy potatoes, preferably red-skinned new potatoes
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt for seasoning the cooking water (may substitute table salt; see Notes)
- ½ medium red onion
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard (to taste; optional)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
- salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (about a dozen grinds for us)
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (or to taste)
- Fill a large cooking pot (one that holds at least 4 quarts) with water and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. While the water is heating, wash the green beans (and trim off their ends, if you wish).
- Scrub the potatoes, but leave them whole.
- When the water is boiling, add a tablespoon of kosher salt to season it. Add the green beans. Simmer until they’re just tender (4 minutes or so). Then remove the green beans from the cooking pot with a slotted spoon or a wire-mesh skimmer. Place the green beans in a bowl of ice water to stop their cooking. Let the green beans sit in the ice water for two minutes, then drain them and dry them in a towel.
- After removing the green beans from the cooking pot, add the potatoes to the simmering water. Cook the potatoes until they’re tender (12 to 15 minutes).
- While the potatoes are cooking, peel an onion and cut half of it into thin slices or ½ inch dice (reserve the rest of the onion for another use).
- Make the vinaigrette: Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, thyme (if using), salt, and pepper to a small lidded bowl. Cap the bowl with the lid, then shake vigorously to combine all the ingredients and form an emulsion.
- By now, the potatoes should be done. Drain the potatoes and let them cool for a couple of minutes. (Peeling is optional; see Notes.) Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters (you want all the pieces to be more or less the same size) and place the pieces in a large mixing bowl. Add the green beans and the chopped onion, then toss together. Add the vinaigrette and toss until well blended. Add the minced parsley and toss for another minute.
- Serve the salad immediately, or refrigerate it in an airtight container for serving later (you can make this dish several hours ahead of time).
- Greens beans are sometimes also called snap beans or string beans.
- But almost all green beans you buy these days are stringless. We can’t remember the last time we had to string them.
- Why use an ice bath for the green beans in Step 3? Because the icy-cold water will instantly stop the cooking process, and will help preserve the bright green color of the beans.
- Salting the water when you cook the green beans helps season them.
- We use kosher salt for cooking (sea salt for table use). Kosher salt has larger crystals than regular table salt, so it’s less salty by volume. If you’re substituting regular table salt, start with about half as much as we call for. But, as always, season to taste.
- Any waxy boiling-type potato will work in this dish. We like the red-skinned new ones because they’re smaller and have nice-looking skins. Their skin also is thinner and tastier than that of more mature potatoes, so you don’t have to peel them. The skin on mature potatoes can sometimes be tough and bitter.
- If your potatoes have a greenish tinge (you sometimes find this in mature potatoes), you must peel them. The green is chlorophyll, and it signals that the potato contains a toxin called solanine. Peeling the potato gets rid of that.
- Our recipe calls for adding mustard to the vinaigrette. You can omit the mustard if you prefer, but we like the extra tang it adds.
- BTW, a lot of the flavor in this dish comes from the olive oil in the vinaigrette, so make sure you’re using good quality.
- You can substitute shallots for red onion if you wish.
- You can also substitute another herb for thyme (or leave it out entirely). Fresh tarragon would be nice in this salad, as would dill.
“Yum,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs, piling her plate. “This is what I call a hill of beans.”
“Aw, shucks,” I said. “It’s just small potatoes.”
“The green beans are a great addition,” said Mrs K R. “Glad you got beanie, baby.”
“Hey, I know how to use my bean!” I said.
“And you do like being full of beans, I’ve noticed.”
Mrs K R – she likes vinegar in her addressing.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Potato Salad Basics
French Potato Salad
American (Mayonnaise) Potato Salad
German Potato Salad with Bacon
Mustard Potato Salad
Horseradish Potato Salad
Chipotle Sweet-Potato Salad
Cauliflower Potato-Style Salad
Or check out the index for more recipes