French Herbed Potato Salad         ( No Mayonnaise)

You will never miss the mayonnaise when you try this delicious French Herbed Potato Salad. Why do I call it French? Well, it uses two types of Dijon Mustard, Champagne Vinegar and three classic French herbs... tarragon, thyme and parsley and no mayonnaise or egg like American Style Potato Salad.

If you don't like the herbs used in the recipe, use ones you do like. If you only have smooth style Dijon Mustard, use more of that type, and omit the grainy Dijon (but the grainy one does make it even better!). If you are an olive fan, it is also delish with the addition of French pitted Niçoise Olives.

Boiling potatoes to the correct soft but not too soft (or too hard) texture is a bit of an art. Make sure a few minutes after they begin to boil, you continue check them for the proper softness. Nothing worse than making the entire salad only to have it look more like mashed potatoes because they were cooked too much. Or, biting into the salad only to find the potatoes are still a bit crunchy! The only thing that should be crunchy are the little pieces of celery.

Here are a few tips to ensure perfect boiled potatoes:

  1. Before boiling, cut potatoes to approximately the same size
  2. Waxy or all-purpose potatoes are best for boiling because they hold their shape when boiled and have a creamy texture when boiled. (This recipe uses red potatoes which are considered waxy)
  3. Start to boil potatoes in cold water which assists in them cooking more evenly.
  4. Add a bit of salt to the water (1t).
  5. Once the water beings to boil, reduce to a simmer and do not cover.
  6. It takes 10-20 minutes to boil potatoes depending on size. In this recipe it took about 13 minutes with potatoes cut to approx. ¾ cubes.
  7. After 5 minutes, begin testing. When a fork can very easily pierce the potatoes all the way through, they are done (test more than one piece to ensure even cooking). You can even eat a few to ensure that they are perfect.

This no mayonnaise potato salad has a fresh herby and tangy flavor and is a healthy alternative to traditional mayonnaise ladened potato salads.  However, I do admit to being a mayonnaise lover and can't imagine a world without it!  It is so versatile as it can be used to improve the flavor of so many foods, not just sandwiches.

Recently, I was roasting a chicken that had a spread made with mayo, roasted garlic, and Sharwarma Seasoning (a Middle Eastern spice mixture).  This spread was basted on the bird while roasting and then also served on the side for dipping when ready to eat.

One of the planned sides for this meal was Potato Salad. And of course, I usually make it the old fashion American way, with Hellman's Mayo, hard boiled eggs, and dry mustard.  I must admit, it is hard for me to comprehend there are people in this world who aren't jazzed about mayonnaise or down right despise it (usually the complaint is something about the texture of mayonnaise). So, since mayo was being used with the roasted chicken, I didn't want to overdo the "mayo thing". I wasn't sure if the people coming for dinner shared my love of this most versatile of condiments. So, enter my recipe for French Herbed Potato Salad.

Regarding the ingredients for this mayonnaise free potato salad: It is important to use fresh herbs, good Dijon and good vinegar. It truly makes a difference. If you don’t have an herb garden, and have a small space for one, consider planting one for future use. Herbs are the only type of edible plant I grow. I love going outside and picking fresh herbs for whatever dish I’m making. Often fresh herbs are harder to find at farmers markets (other than the occasional parsley, basil and dill). And. the grocery store offerings are usually expensive and not fresh and or already wilted. One can always find tomatoes, corn, and green beans at a farmer’s market, but good luck trying to find farm fresh oregano, tarragon or thyme when you need them. Also, good fresh herbs are go-to substitutes for adding in flavor when something such as mayonnaise is removed from a dish. Many fresh herbs freeze extremely well. Before the frost kills them off, I pick them, chop them, put them in containers and freezer them. And when I need them, I simply open the container, scrape out what I need, and put the rest back into the freezer.

Finally, O’Live A Little’s French Champagne Vinegar is like popping the cork on flavor. The grapes for this vinegar come from Riems, France which is in the heart of Champagne region. It is a bright and sweet vinegar with a unique toasty bouquet.

I hope you enjoy this French Herbed Potato Salad sans the Mayonnaise as much as we did!


French Herbed Potato Salad (without mayonnaise)


  1. 3# red potatoes, skins on, scrubbed and cut into ¾ - 1” dice
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1 large shallot, chopped fine
  4. 4 large celery ribs, diced fine – ¼”
  5. ½ cup O’Live A Little’s Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  6. 1/3 Cup O’Live A Little’s French Champagne Vinegar
  7. ¼ cup chopped (each )– French Tarragon, French Thyme & Parsley
  8. 1 tablespoon French Grainy Dijon Mustard
  9. 2 tablespoons French Smooth Dijon Mustard
  10. 2 teaspoons salt
  11. 2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper

Method of Preparation

  1. In a large pot, add diced potatoes to cold water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to boil and then down to a simmer, uncovered. Simmer for approximately 12 minutes till potatoes are fork tender. (See TIPS above to ensure potatoes are boiled properly). Drain in colander and allow to cool.
  2. Add ingredients 5-11 in bowl and whisk until the dressing comes together. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  3. Add cooled potatoes to a large bowl and then add the shallots and the celery
  4. Pour ¾ of the dressing over ingredients and toss well with rubber spatula to combine. Add the more or the rest of the dressing if the potato salad seems to dry for your taste.
  5. This salad is best when made 6-8 hours ahead. Bring to room temp before serving.



Written by Jennifer O


Sounds fabulous will try because I can’t do mayonnaise! Thank you for sharing

Suzanne Beattie on Jan 04, 2023

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