This French-style new potato salad is a far cry from the German potato salad I grew up eating. No mayo, no bacon – but lentils! Roasted new potatoes, lentils, greens, and plenty of herbs, all topped off with a mustard vinaigrette. It’s a classic made into a solid vegan weeknight meal.
We make this at least once a week when new potatoes are available, and it’s a treat every time. There’s something quite special about a warm potato salad, particularly when you add the combination of crispy potato skin and chewy lentils to the mix.
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.
Why You Should Try This Recipe
I can’t say enough good things. While I’m not averse to a good dill pickle potato salad, there’s something special about all the fresh flavours and textural variety happening here. It’s a gardener’s dream.
- It’s filled with greens: with a good amount of fresh greens in the form of spinach or another hardy leafy green, plus plenty of herbs, you’re getting some vegetables in.
- Roasted potatoes add more flavour: of course! Roasting rather than boiling means more flavour and more texture, and adds a new element to potato salad.
- No need to peel: the skin is so thin on new potatoes that they’re much better unpeeled. You want that crispy skin from roasting, so leave it on.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Lentils: 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.
- Greens: 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.
- Herbs: 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.
- White wine vinegar: 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.
- Dijon mustard: any regular mustard (not yellow hotdog mustard) can be used in place of Dijon.
Step by Step
1. Prep the potatoes: scrub and trim the potatoes as needed, then add them to a large pan with the oil and salt.
2. Roast: cook the potatoes for about 40 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
3. Make the vinaigrette: while the potatoes are cooking, mix the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar or dish.
4. Assemble: add the hot potatoes to a bowl with the greens, lentils, and vinaigrette, and mix well.
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.
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.
How to Store
Storage: leftovers will keep well for a couple of days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. This is best when fresh and still warm, though.
Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing this salad.
- Use bigger potatoes: 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.
- Use fat as a carrier: mixing the herbs with the vinaigrette rather than the greens 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 to the butter mixture, for example, rather than the flour, when you bake a (traditional) cake.
- Work quickly: the potatoes must still be hot when they’re mixed with the greens and vinaigrette for this salad to be at its best. The point is to wilt the greens and have the potatoes absorb some of the dressing.
More Delicious Potato Recipes
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Roasted New Potato Salad with Lentils and Herb Dressing
Roasted Potato Salad
- 1 kilogram new potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 300 grams cooked black or green lentils (belgua or le puy)
- 50 grams fresh rucola or spinach
- 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 10 grams dill, finely chopped
- 10 grams chives, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) 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 potatoes, olive oil, and salt to the prepared tray and use your hands to mix until the potatoes are well coated. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until very golden.1 kilogram new potatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 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.60 ml extra virgin olive oil, 10 grams dill, finely chopped, 10 grams 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
- To assemble the salad, place the spinach and lentils into a large bowl. Top with the potatoes immediately after coming out of the oven.50 grams fresh rucola or spinach, 300 grams cooked black or green lentils (belgua or le puy)
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until the potatoes are fully coated with dressing and the spinach is wilted. Serve immediately.