If you’re looking for a simple and tasty–no-mayonnaise–best potato salad…here it is! This Mediterranean potato salad with sumac dressing is sure to please! New potatoes are tossed with lots of fresh parsley, kalamata olives, capers (my favorite part!) and red onion in a dressing made with one of my favorite spices – sumac. As a lighter potato salad, the dressing relies on a high-quality extra virgin olive oil, a little lemon juice, red wine vinegar, grainy mustard and one small garlic clove to create a tasty summer salad, one that’s perfect for summer BBQs and picnics.
Every household and every culture has their own treasured potato salad recipe. Admittedly, I have a few! Whether it’s my favorite Schwabe’s family recipe for an original German potato salad, this Mediterranean potato salad recipe, or one of my other potato salad recipes (yes, I actually have a separate category for this!), one thing is for sure. You won’t find mayonnaise in any of them. I like mine pure, healthy and unadulterated, so that all the other flavors can shine through!
You want waxy potatoes which in Germany are called “festkochend” these are the type that hold their shape when they’re cooked and keep their firm texture in the salad when you chop them up and toss them with dressing. My favorites are any variety of new potatoes or fingerling potatoes. If you visit your farmers market you can choose from half a dozen or more fantastic variations that are great for potato salads. I often choose a mix and depending on the type I’ll also leave the skin on, which make meal preparation even easier!
Tips for a perfect potato salad
One important trick that makes all the difference when preparing this Mediterranean potato salad is that you want to toss the potatoes with the dressing while they are still warm. This infuses the potatoes with flavor. And if you let them sit for a few minutes this also gives the potatoes a chance to soak of the flavor. Once the potatoes cool the structure of their starch changes which also prevents them from soaking up the dressing. Which also brings me to the cooking method. Yes we often cook vegetables in boiling water, but with potatoes this shouldn’t be the case. Only because it can cause uneven cooking. Meaning the outside of the tater may be soft and mushy, while the inside undercooked. So for this reason you should start cooking your potatoes in a pot of cold water.
What to serve with this Mediterranean potato salad
I love to enjoy this Mediterranean Potato Salad with a side of green asparagus or green beans for a light and delicious, vegetarian lunch. And leftovers are great tossed in with a simple green salad dressed with my go-to French vinaigrette dressing. If you are already bringing out the BBQ, this also makes a great side with grilled vegetable skewers, chicken, meat or fish.
Mediterranean Potato Salad
- 750 g new potatoes, scrubbed
- ½ cup kalamata olives (50 g), about 18 olives, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp capers (in brine), drained and roughly chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 2 small bunches flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the sumac dressing:
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sumac plus extra to serve
- 1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove minced
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Transfer the potatoes (in the skin) to a large pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes until just tender, about 20-25 minutes (depending on size). Drain and once cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and cut into slices or chunks.
Note: if I am using red potatoes or really light colored ones I leave the skin on because it is tender, delicious and adds fiber and additional nutrients.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the dressing ingredients. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl, pour the dressing over and toss together while still warm.
Add the olives, capers, red onion, and parsley to the bowl, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired.
Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
Capers in brine (both bottled with a brine of water, vinegar and sea salt) can be found in most organic food stores. Some supermarket brands of capers can pack them in a higher quantity of vinegar (20% or more) so depending on your taste preference, you can also rinse these to reduce the vinegar flavor.
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