Ditch the mayo and head to the pantry! No Mayo Potato Salad is a tangy and robust summer 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 red potato salad is a pot-luck perfect crowd pleaser!
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 mayonnaise. And who wants to tuck into a mayo-laden picnic salad that’s been sitting in the sun for an hour? That’s a no. When I want something more robust than Italian potato salad, I reach for this red potato salad with basil vinaigrette, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh baby spinach. It’s hearty, filling, and super simple!
Why You’ll Love This Red Potato Salad
- Fresh basil vinaigrette is an epic taste of summer – it’s so flavorful, we swear you won’t miss the mayo for a second!
- 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
How to Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad
The key to perfect potato salad is perfectly boiled potatoes – not too soft, not too firm. The ideal cooked potato for potato salad is firm, but evenly cooked, with soft skins and creamy, tender flesh. Use these pro-tips to make “goldilocks” potatoes every single time!
- Choose the right potatoes. The best potatoes for potato salad are new potatoes – these are small “baby” potatoes with soft skins. I used red bliss here, but yukon golds work too.
- Cut the potatoes properly. Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces. I like to cut them into “fat” quarters for the perfect bite every time – this means you’ll cut each potato once lengthwise and then once widthwise. Reference the photo tutorial below for a visual.
- Boil the potatoes the right way. Yep, there’s a wrong. Always start boiled potatoes 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.
- Season the potatoes while they cook. 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.
- Drain and dry the potatoes. After draining, return the potatoes back to the hot pot and give them a toss. The heat from the pot will evaporate any clinging water droplets. “Dry” potatoes will better absorb the dressing!
Pro-tip. Use a large, heavy bottomed pot, like a dutch oven. This gives the potatoes plenty of breathing room and helps with even cooking.
How to Make 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.
- Dice potatoes into quarters – they should be bite-sized.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot, then cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, season with salt, then reduce the heat to medium-high and boil 8-10 minutes, until tender.
- Drain the potatoes, then return to the hot pot; toss to help any residual drops of water evaporate.
- Make the dressing – whisk olive oil and vinegar in a large bowl until very smooth; add the basil, mustard, salt and pepper, and whisk once more.
- Add the potatoes to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss well to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or until cooled to room temperature.
- Just before serving add the green onions, sun dried tomatoes, and spinach. Toss to combine, and serve cold or room temperature. Enjoy!
- Use new (baby) 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.
- Cut the potatoes before boiling them. They’re easier to cut while still raw, will retain more of their integrity, it’s easier to taste for texture, and they’ll cook more quickly.
- Start the potatoes in cold water so they cook evenly from the inside out.
- Potatoes need a lot of salt! Salt the water liberally. It should taste like the ocean, like pasta water. This will season the potatoes from the inside out for maximum flavor.
- Dress the potatoes while they’re still warm, and allow them to marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature to soak up the flavor.
- This recipe really does improve with time, so make it the day ahead if you can. It’s terrific both cold or room temperature.
Serving and Storing
How to Make Ahead: If you’re making this salad ahead of time, transfer the potatoes to the fridge after dressing, but before adding the spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and green onions. We actually prefer to make the potatoes ahead, as they only get better with time! Add the remaining ingredients just before you’re ready to serve.
Serving: potato salad is best served cold or room temperature. It’s a great option for outdoor gatherings because it’s dairy free and doesn’t need to stay chilled to remain food safe.
Leftovers: store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Enjoy straight from the fridge, or allow it to come to room temperature for 15 minutes to remove the chill.
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 VinaigrettePrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1.5 lb red new potatoes, quartered
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 3 oz baby spinach
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes, use oil-packed tomatoes
- ½ c extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ c champagne vinegar, or white wine vinegar
- 1 c fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- Dice potatoes into "fat" quarters. Slice each potato in half lengthwise, then each half widthwise.
- Place potatoes into a large 6-quart pot (they need room to move). Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by about two inches.
- Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Add the kosher salt, then reduce the heat to medium-high. Boil until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 8-10 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes, shake to release as much water as possible, then place the potatoes back into the hot pot. The heat from the pot will help any residual water dissolve.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and vinegar until very smooth. Add the basil, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk once more.
- Add the potatoes to the dressing, then toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt or pepper as needed. Marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour, until they have cooled completely to room temperature. As this point, the potatoes can be transferred to the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- When you're ready to serve, add the spinach, green onions, and sun dried tomatoes. Toss until well combined, and serve right away. Enjoy!
- 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.