This roasted French potato salad with lentils and a herby dressing is a far cry from standard mayo-filled potato salad – it’s very light and a meal in itself with protein-packed lentils and spinach. The herb vinaigrette lifts everything up here, with dill, chives, and a little spicy mustard, perfect for picnics and barbecues.
When I first hit publish on this recipe, the text was a list of things I wanted to do before I hit 30. Now at 28 I’ve done most of those things and for some, priorities have changed – I’m not planning on doing another yoga teacher training in the near future, for example. I’m still waiting on adding a pet to the family, though!
I know that resonated with many of you, but I’ve chosen to remove it now as I’m updating the post with information relevant to the recipe. And because I don’t know if I can learn another language in the next year and a half.
This French potato salad is a far cry from the German potato salad I grew up eating. No mayo, no bacon – but lentils! Roasted new potatoes, chewy lentils, greens, and plenty of herbs, all topped off with a mustard vinaigrette. It’s a classic made into a solid vegan weeknight meal.
A handful of alternative potato salad recipes grew out of this one, mostly based on requests I’ve received from readers. This curry potato salad, a version with asparagus, and a winter rosemary potato salad.
- New potatoes
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black or French (beluga or le puy) lentils
- Spinach or other greens (see substitutions)
- Fresh dill
- Fresh chives
- White wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Maple syrup (or honey, if not vegan)
- Black pepper
Preheat the oven and prep a large baking sheet. You don’t need parchment paper, but it might be preferable in case any potatoes stick. Cut any potatoes as needed to make sure they’re all about the same size and place them onto the sheet. Add the oil and salt, mixing very well, to fully coat the potatoes.
Roast the potatoes for 40-50 minutes, or until very golden and the skins look crispy. While the potatoes are in the oven, cook the lentils if they’re not already cooked, and make the vinaigrette.
Place the spinach and lentils into a large bowl, then add the roasted potatoes. Top with the vinaigrette and mix very well. The vinaigrette will partly soak into the potatoes, that’s a good thing. Serve immediately, topped with extra herbs if you’d like.
Tips and Notes
The big, important thing for this recipe is to mix everything together while the potatoes are still very hot. Have everything but the vinaigrette already in a large bowl ready for the roasted potatoes so they can go straight in.
If you’re cooking lentils specifically for this recipe, or any time, really, salt the water they’re cooked in. It makes a particular difference here to have seasoned lentils but is generally better.
Mixing the herbs with the vinaigrette rather than the spinach, for example, does improve the salad. Fats (like olive oil) help to carry flavour throughout the whole dish and it’s noticeable here. That’s also why you add the vanilla or lemon zest to the butter mixture, for example, rather than the flour, when you bake a (traditional) cake.
Leftovers are still pretty good for this potato salad, though maybe not as good as one that’s made to sit for a few hours before serving. This is at its very best when served warm, but I also like to make it for picnics and leftovers are still quite tasty the following day.
You might notice that some of the potatoes I used are red, and some are partly peeled. They’re from my garden (second early, mostly Annabelle) and some had slight potato scab which I cut off. I don’t recommend peeling your potatoes for this recipe.
Okay – I make this all the time. I’m talking at least once a week, so buckle in here. Though my favourite time of year for this salad is in late spring or summer, when my own new potatoes are fresh from the garden and the herbs are in full swing, it can be made all year with some variations. The recipe as written is how it’s the very best, though.
Dried dill is one of the few herbs that dries very well, so it can be used in place of fresh. A tablespoon or do will do it. Freeze dried chives are best if you want to sub them, or use green onion or very finely sliced red onion. Any regular mustard (not yellow hotdog mustard) can be used in place of Dijon.
Red wine vinegar will work, as will plain white vinegar in a pinch, though I recommend using a smaller amount as the acidity is higher. You can also use lemon juice.
French green (le puy), black (beluga), or brown (mountain) lentils all work in the same way here and I use them interchangeably. Red lentils and the big brown/green ones are not nice in this recipe and are not recommended. I’ve used black in the photos because they’re least expensive and easiest to find where I’m currently living.
Spinach, rucola, chard, baby kale, or any greens you like when they aren’t really cooked – just wilted – are great! I do rucola and spinach in the warmer months and then switch to mostly chard over the winter here because I have it in the garden.
You can also use larger potatoes cut into cubes instead of new, baby potatoes. I like it a bit less this way, and the texture changes, but it’s still good. It’s not necessary to go out and buy a bag of overpriced small potatoes if you have perfectly good larger ones sitting around.
More Potato Recipes
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Roasted Potato Salad
- 1 kilogram (2 lb.) new potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 300 grams (2 cups) cooked black or green lentils (belgua or le puy)
- 50 grams (2 cups) fresh rucola or spinach
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 10 grams (1/4 cup) dill, finely chopped
- 10 grams (1/4 cup) chives, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Scrub the potatoes and cut any larger ones so that they're all roughly the same size (about the size of a golf ball).
- Add the olive oil and salt and use your hands to mix until the potatoes are well coated. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until very golden.
- To make the dressing, add the olive oil, dill, chives, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to a jar or small bowl and mix to fully combine. It should be a light golden colour and not separated.
- To assemble the salad, place the spinach and lentils into a large bowl. Top with the potatoes immediately after coming out of the oven.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until the potatoes are fully coated with dressing and the spinach is wilted. Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 27mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 12gSugar: 2gProtein: 14g
This data is provided by a calculator and is a rough estimation of the nutritional information in this recipe.
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This post was originally published in August 2016. It has been updated with new photos and improvements to the text and recipe as of September 2020.