This No Mayo Potato Salad is a healthy and super flavorful side dish. Instead of a mayo based dressing, it’s tossed with a tangy basil vinaigrette. Sun-dried tomatoes add a burst of flavor, and baby spinach brings color and a kick of fiber. This healthy side dish is a total crowd pleaser, and a snap to pull together.
This recipe was originally published May 31, 2017. It was updated on May 24, 2019 with new photos, recipe video, additional content, and tips.
There is no better way to declare that summer is imminent than by making a good old-fashioned potato salad.
Potato salad is one of my favorite ways to feed a crowd, and ranks high on my list of go-to potluck and picnic foods. Just like its close friend pasta salad, potato salad is portable, easy to prepare in advance, crowd friendly, and at its best when served at room temperature. Can you say perfect party food?
Unfortunately I’m not really a fan of mayo. Furthermore, who wants to tuck into a mayo-laden picnic salad that’s been sitting in the sun for an hour? Not you? Nah, me either.
Cue this no mayo potato salad tossed with tangy basil vinaigrette.
This recipe is a flavorful, nutritional powerhouse with creamy, perfectly cooked potatoes, scads of fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and baby greens. It’s also vegan, dairy free, and gluten free, so it can be enjoyed by friends of all dietary persuasions.
This no mayo potato salad can be served cold or room temperature, and only improves with time. AKA, you will be the talk of the party with this healthy make-ahead salad in tow!
How to Boil Perfect Potatoes for Potato Salad
The best potatoes for potato salad are new potatoes – I used red bliss here, but yukon golds work too.
The ideal boiled potato is firm, but fully cooked, with soft skins that aren’t mushy. They should also be bursting with flavor from the inside out. A daunting challenge? Nope! The key to making perfect potatoes for potato salad is two-fold.
- First, you want to start them in cold water. Potatoes dropped into boiling water will cook quickly on the outside and more slowly on the inside, because physics. By starting them in cold water, the dense potatoes will heat right along with the water, and therefore cook evenly throughout.
- Secondly, you should heavily season the water. I use at least a tablespoon of good kosher salt per 2 pounds of potatoes. This infuses the potatoes with flavor from the inside out. Salting the water will add a punch of flavor that can’t be replicated by simply salting the finished salad.
For a cooking vessel, I use a wide, heavy bottomed pot, like my trusty dutch oven. This gives the potatoes plenty of breathing room and helps with even cooking.
I prefer to cut my potatoes before boiling them. For one, I just think it’s easier to do it beforehand instead of handling hot potatoes (and who wants to wait around for them to cool before slicing?). Two, they retain more of their integrity (no mushy potatoes!), and it’s pretty easy to tell if you’re over-cooking them. Three, they cook faster. Tastier and faster? Yes, please.
How to Make The Best No Mayo Potato Salad
This potato salad is so stinking easy and comes together quickly. The hardest part is waiting for the potatoes to cool while they marinate in the basil vinaigrette. I stretch this salad into a larger serving (and bump up its nutritional value) by tossing it with a few ounces of baby greens. Sun-dried tomatoes add a meaty flavor to the finished salad that will please even the most carnivorous palettes.
Rinse the potatoes to remove any residual dirt, then quarter them by cutting in half lengthwise, then across the middle – this will result in a chunkier cut that holds its shape well.
Transfer the cut potatoes to a large pot. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt, then enough water to cover the potatoes by about 2 inches. Set the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium high and boil an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife.
While the potatoes boil, prepare the basil dressing. This basil vinaigrette is packed with so much flavor you won’t even think twice about losing the mayo.
In a large mixing bowl, combine a cup of chopped basil with salt, pepper, whole grain mustard, extra virgin olive oil and champagne vinegar. Whisk to combine.
Drain the potatoes, then add them to the basil dressing. Toss with the vinaigrette while the potatoes are still warm so they can soak up as much flavor as possible. Set the dressed potatoes aside to cool to room temperature, occasionally re-tossing them with the dressing.
Once the potatoes have cooled, add the remaining ingredients. This salad doesn’t need too much more, but a few additional ingredients make it crazy flavorful. Be sure to wait until the potatoes have soaked up most of the dressing before mixing these in, ideally just before serving:
- Sun-dried tomatoes bring a meaty texture and punch of additional sweetness
- Baby spinach stretches this into a larger serving size, but also brings beautiful color and a healthy dose of fiber
- Green onions add just enough crunch, and the classic onion flavor you’ll find in every great potato salad
Toss the potatoes with the remaining ingredients, and serve!
Make Ahead Tip: If you’re making this salad ahead of time for a potluck or picnic, transfer the cooled potatoes tossed with dressing to the fridge and let them chill overnight (they’ll only get better with time!). The next day, toss the cold potatoes with the remaining ingredients.
Is this No Mayo Potato Salad Healthy?
If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m not a big fan of the word “healthy”. But when it comes to certain recipes, you can’t help but declare them as such, and this potato salad is one of them.
For one, it neatly fits into most dietary tick-boxes: this recipe is naturally vegan, dairy free, gluten free, grain free, Whole30, and paleo. It’s even on the lower carb side, with just 20g net carbs per serving. But more than that, it’s packed with nutrition – scads of Vitamins C, A and K, and healthy doses of fiber and iron.
Tips for Making the Best No Mayo Potato Salad Perfectly
- Use new potatoes for best flavor and texture, like baby gold or red bliss. They’re creamy and flavorful, the skins are edible (and delicious), and they cook quickly.
- Start the potatoes in cold water so they cook evenly from the inside out.
- Heavily salt the water to season the potatoes from the inside out.
- Allow the warm potatoes to soak up the basil dressing and then cool to room temperature before adding the remaining ingredients.
- To make this in advance for a potluck or picnic, transfer the potatoes to the fridge after they’ve soaked up the dressing, then chill overnight. The next morning, toss the potatoes with the sun-dried tomatoes, onions and spinach.
- This recipe really does improve with time, so make it the day ahead if you can.
More Healthy Summer Side Dish Recipes
- Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Sunbutter Sauce
- Classic Italian Potato Salad
- Grilled Zucchini Salad with Corn and White Beans
- Grilled Corn Salad with Peppers and Basil
- Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw
- Cauliflower Tabbouleh
DID YOU MAKE THIS NO MAYO POTATO SALAD!? I’D LOVE TO KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT! LEAVE A COMMENT AND A RATING BELOW 👇
No Mayo Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
- 2 lb. new potatoes (red bliss or yukon gold), quartered
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 2 oz oil-packed sundried tomatoes, about 1/3 cup chopped
- 5 oz baby greens
No Mayo Basil Vinaigrette
- 1 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c champagne vinegar
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- Wash your potatoes under cool water, then slice them into quarters.
- Place the potatoes in a large, heavy bottomed pot with plenty of room (I like to use a dutch oven). Add enough cold water to the pot to cover the potatoes by 1-2" and add kosher salt to the water.
- Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it hits a boil, reduce to medium high. Boil until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 8-10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the basil, olive oil, champagne vinegar, whole grain mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
- Once the potatoes are finished cooking, strain them and immediately add to the basil dressing. Toss the warm potatoes with the dressing, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Occasionally re-toss the potatoes and dressing to encourage them to soak up as much flavor as possible.
- Toss the cooled potatoes with the scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, and baby spinach. Transfer to the fridge and chill, or serve at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. See notes for preparing this recipe in advance.
- It may seem like a lot of salt, but do use a full tablespoon for the potatoes - they need a lot of salt, and will be seasoned wonderfully from the inside out.
- Allow the warm potatoes to soak up the basil dressing and then cool to room temperature before adding the remaining ingredients - if you add the baby spinach too early it will wilt unpleasantly.
- To make this in advance for a potluck or picnic, transfer the potatoes to the fridge after they've soaked up the dressing, then chill overnight. The next morning, toss the potatoes with the sun-dried tomatoes, onions and spinach.