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
This is so perfect for the summer days when we all enjoy meals outside in the garden. Simple, filling and delicious!
Hi Angie, we like easy -- and flavorful! -- at this time of the year. :-) Thanks for the comment.
That is a beautiful plate and a delicious source of energy. Thanks for posting this dish, John. :)
Hi Ray, it's good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I've made a slightly different version with basil and it's SO good! I know yours is, too, and would be a great addition to our 4th of July menu!
Hi Liz, basil sounds terrific! Gotta try that. :-) Thanks for the comment.
It's these simple, delicious recipes that I love the most! Green beans are our favorite so this is a must make for me. Thanks John - sounds great.
Hi Tricia, you'll like this -- such a nice, tasty, simple dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Green beans and potatoes make a fabulous salad, I could enjoy a big bowl of this all by itself, looks delicious!
This is definitely a favorite! Green beans and new potatoes are perfect for this time of year. Your salad looks wonderful! Thanks :)
A yummy and healthy dish for the summer... yet so comforting!
I love potato salad but sometimes they're way too full of mayo for me to enjoy them. This sounds like the perfect compromise! I love the addition of green beans here :)
I love vinaigrette dressed potato salads. I just love potato salad. No hill of beans in that!
What a nice combination. I've made one similar with sausage as well. I prefer vinaigrettes on potato salads.
A wonderful summer salad! The thyme and parsley really add a layer of flavor to this scrumptious side dish!
I do enjoy a great potato salad and I would be back fro seconds on this one. I prefer red potatoes so great choice and the color with the green beans is perfect. It does have a more European dressing, close to the Austrian one, that I prefer. Thanks for sharing!
I just ate a whole bunch of green beans! Love me some of those buggers!
Hi Cheri, this alone for dinner would make me happy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lydia, this is a nice combo of flavors, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Denise, summer comfort food! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Kelsie, we like mayo potato salads, but a vinaigrette one is even better. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Abbe, who doesn't love potato salad? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mimi, sausage would be good in this! Or bacon. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Deb, the herbs really do add nice flavor, don't they? Thanks for the comment.
Hi Evelyne, this is our favorite type of dressing when it comes to potato salad. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi GiGi, green beans are great, aren't they? We love them too! Thanks for the comment.
Since we're now heading into winter here in Australia, I think I would like to serve this recipe warm. Thanks for the tip on the green spots on the potatoes- I'll keep an eye out for them from now on.
Such a great picnic dish! I love the idea of adding green beans and I'm not much of a mayo girl so the vinaigrette sounds wonderful!
Hi Fran, warm really works with this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Chris, we do like mayo, but this is better. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love this idea! I always serve my potato and green beans dish hot. Love the way you've lightened it up and cooled it off. Love the dressing to complement it Making it soon!
Hi MJ, this is nice on a hot day. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Looks like summer on a plate!
Well the weather is finally warm and now I have a cool salad for picnics ~ we're set for summer! Nice dressing too. :)
Hi Frank, it is! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Judy, that dressing is yummy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Delicious salad recipe, John! Can't wait to give it a try!
Hi Agness, you'll love it! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I've never had a salad like this. Do you prefer it cold, or room temperature?
Hi Jeff, both, although I probably serve it room temperature much more often than not. Thanks for the comment.
Potatoes and green beans are such an awesome combo! I love making salads with warm vegetables and dressing them hot so all that dressing soaks right in!
Hi Laura, it's that dressing-soaking-in-thing that's really nice with a vinaigrette potato salad. Thanks for the comment.
I bet your potato salad was the first thing to disappear after all that cavorting! GREG
Hi Greg, yup! :D Thanks for the comment.
I love potatoes and green beans together - this is my kind of dish.
Hi Pam, it's a great combo of ingredients, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
Such a comforting and yummy dish. Love the combination of potatoes and green beans. Added in my weekend menu. I would be making it soon :)
Hi Ritu, such nice flavors, don't you think? :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love Dijon in any potato salad. It just adds such a welcome hit of sharp piquant flavor that adds so much depth.
Hi Carolyn, Dijon mustard is welcome in almost any dish! Well, maybe not ice cream, but haven't tried that, so don't know for sure. :-) Thanks for the comment.
One of our favorite salads as the kiddos are all anti- mayo. Safer too if your a having an outdoor gathering. The potatoes are like sponges and just love that vinaigrette! Wishing you a super weekend! Hope the family spoils you rotten!
Hi Bobbi, trust yur kiddos. :-) Although we do like mayo salads, vinaigrette ones are our favorite. Thanks for the comment.
John, besides being a good potato salad, it's also a green vegetable; so two side dishes in one! Shoot - just throw in some slices of meat, and you've got a one-dish meal!
Hi Jean, I'm actually toying with a one-dish meal version of this! :-) Thanks for the comment.
We love red-skinned potatoes, the addition of green beans and the no mayo dressing makes this more appealing to me.
Hi Amira, red-skinned potatoes look so nice, don't they? And taste even better! Thanks for the comment.
What a lovely version of potato salad. That Dijon mustard makes this a winner for me. Pinning.
Hi Lea Ann, isn't this nice? We love Dijon too! Thanks for the comment.
What a lovely dish, perfect for summer, I'd love to give it a try.
Green beans and potatoes are two basics of Salade Nicoise, the French favorite, though the two are prepared separately for that dish -- I wonder why they never do them together as you have done. Did you say what you served with the salad? Tuna, maybe?
I'm in your city, St.Louis, visiting relatives for 2 days which you can see on my blog.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Amalia, this is such a good dish -- great flavor. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mae, I'll be checking out your blog! And, yes, it'd be quite easy to turn this into a Salade Nicoise. I think classically for that dish everything gets seasoned and tossed in oil/vinegar separately to every ingredient is perfectly flavored, but I'm not sure it'd make much difference in the end. Thanks for the comment.
Salads are the best way to enjoy summer! This one is right up my alley!
This is one of the best Salad i have ever come across. Looking for some good time to bake it.
HI Katerina, never met a salad I didn't like! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Supriya, enjoy! And thanks for the comment.
Love this combo! I remember many summers of eating a very close version of this salad poolside at my grandmother's house, where potato salad was king. :) Looks lovely.
Hi Shannon, these ingredients play so well together, don't they? A really nice dish! Thanks for the comment.
Traditional mayo-laden potato salads are always the first thing you see on a list of 'No Goes' by food experts, particularly on picnics and BBQs so I was very excited to see this beautiful salad dressed with a vinaigrette, and I agree with Mrs. KR, the beans are a wonderful addition. Adding the vinaigrette while the potatoes are still a little warm helps the dressing absorb into these delicious morsels.
Hi Eva, mayo can be a problem at a picnic, can't it? No problem with this dressing, though! Well, as long as it doesn't sit out forever. Thanks for the comment.
Looks so incredibly good. I don't use green beans too often, such an overlooked ingredient. Today I will since I have some in the freezer. :)
Hi Nisha, it IS incredibly good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I make a very similar salad and it's always a hit. I love lighter potato salads like these sometimes. It looks delicious!
Hi Amy, we like lighter potato salads, too. So good! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Can have potato salad anytime and I love the addition of green beans to it.
Hi Taruna, the beans really add a lot of nice flavor! Thanks for the comment.
This is a perfect salad with any grilled meats
Hi Raymund, totally agree! :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, I think your potato and green bead salad looks like the perfect summer side dish!! This will be wonderful with anything off the grill :)
Mh Marcelle, yup, this + grilled anything = bliss! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Nice side, but I would eat this for my entire meal.
Hi Debra, we actually did eat this for our whole meal! :-) Thanks for the comment.
The two things I really love about this salad, John, is that you added green beans (I think they pair so well with potatoes) and that you used a vinaigrette. This looks so tasty! :)
Hi Anne, this is SO good! And we love a vinaigrette in potato salad. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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