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European-Style Potato Salad (Dijon Vinaigrette)

European-style potato salads (you might be most familiar with German potato salads, but you can also find others including French, Croatian, and Danish with a quick Google search) are typically made with a mustard vinaigrette, not mayonnaise bombs like standard American picnic fare. ¬†I’ve never liked the potato and mac salads that are made with mayonnaise, mostly because ingesting mayonnaise in any form other than mixed (sparingly) in chicken salad or as a thin layer on a sandwich makes me want to die a slow, painful death.


I do have a tendency towards hyperbole (grammar police: is that a sentence? edit: thank you Taylor!).  Fritz loves (loves!) Waldorf salad, which is a terrible combination of all my least favorite things (iceberg lettuce, mayonnaise, and walnuts), and he only gets to eat it when his mom makes it for him (she must truly love him) because I refuse create such an abomination in my kitchen.

Side note: I’m sure Tharrie (Fritz’s mom) makes the best Waldorf salad that ever Waldorfed, it’s just the ingredients that I hate.

Anyway, this potato salad is different.  I first was introduced to it when I lived on Long Island (land of mayonnaise mac salad) and two of my coworkers used to make it for office parties and barbecues (hi Stef and Kelly!).  They would always make a lot and leave the leftovers in the fridge, which I would try to finish as fast as possible without anyone knowing I was the culprit.


no‚ĶI haven’t seen that potato salad anywhere! Chris probably ate it–you know how he eats.

Stefanie texted me this recipe a few days ago when I frantically told her I had a picnic emergency. ¬†I think Kelly may have found the original recipe on Pinterest? ¬†If anyone knows that source recipe, I’ll happily give it credit.


European-Style Potato Salad (serves 8-10)

  • 12 C cooked cubed red potatoes
  • 1/2 C minced red onion
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1/3 C red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 T grainy Dijon mustard (originally recipe called for 2 T)
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Scrub the potatoes, cube, and cook.  You could cook the potatoes first, cut after and they may hold their shape better, but I am usually rushing (not the best planner, which is why everything reaches picnic emergency status), and they cook faster this way.  For 12 C potatoes, I probably used three quarters of a five pound bag (you can do that math, thankyouverymuch).

While the potatoes are cooking, combine the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper) into a vinaigrette by whisking it all together.  Drain the potatoes, place into a large bowl, and mix the vinaigrette in.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.


I’m willing to admit that I overcooked the potatoes a bit, but that is pretty typical of me since I dread the texture of undercooked potatoes. ¬†I would probably cook them the same way next time, because as I mixed in the vinaigrette, the potatoes mashed slightly and really incorporated the oil and vinegar. ¬†I’m also not a huge fan of seeing the food I’m eating sitting in oil, so I really liked the way these potatoes turned out.


Apparently I have a lot of dislikes when it comes to potato salad.

This also still looks like your typical potato salad, which might make some kids willing to try it.


Fritz is a big fan of this salad, even as a self-professed “Mustard Hater” (though I have my doubts about that). ¬†The vinegar and mustard give it a really nice tang without being overpowering, and there’s no sickly post-picnic feeling I always get from eating too much¬†mayonnaise.

The picnic also including an important first: this adorable baby Caleb eating corn on the cob for the first time.


Oh, hello my precious.

He was a big fan.

Those who know me well know that there’s a part of me that is deeply saddened that I’m not a natural redhead like Emily.

I’ve also started reading a new book called¬†The New Rules of Lifting for Women. ¬†Sometimes it’s hard to read exercise theory books because, as a physical therapist, I know a lot about exercise and hearing things like “getting toned”, “reshaping your muscles”, and diets recommending more protein than our body can even digest is really irritating. ¬†However, this book so far really appears to be following an evidence-based program, and is mostly just knocking down old myths and encouraging women to be more fearless and powerful in the gym to gain muscle. ¬†I’m never going to count my macros or go all-out with the diet plan (um, hello wine), but it is always nice to be reminded that I do need more protein than chocolate chip cookies, and that eating more calories can help shape me into a goddess (that’s what it says, anyway–wine, anyone?).

The New Rules of Lifting for Women

Anyone else read it? ¬†I like trying new ways to push myself fitness-wise once I get bored and fall into a rut. ¬†Insanity was a great kick in the butt last year (okay, two years ago), and this year I’m excited to be running more and now shifting my focus over to lifting like a badass.

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  1. Chris @ Shared Appetite

    So happy to see you back blogging! Welcome back :) Hahaha oh Long Island, home of the mayo-laden potato and mac salads hahahaha! Love it. Gonna have to try this at the next backyard grill-out!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      and chicken cutlets. I had never heard that term until I moved to LI (oh, you mean breaded chicken? :))

  2. Taylor

    Towards hyperbole or to hyperbolize… But anyway so glad you are back in the blogging game!!! I can’t wait to read your new posts!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thank you Taylor! :) feel free to edit for me at anytime, even without requests!

  3. Florence

    The real french vinaigrette is really simple , with four ingr√©dients: 2 tablespoons of vinaigar, 4 tablespoons of o√Įl,1 pinch of salt and 1 pinch of Pepper. Now, you can add parsley, basilic…..Nowadays, you can put lemon or balsamic vinaigar in place of classic vinaigar and use olive o√Įl in place of classic o√Įl. Your recipe is really european, you have mixed influences of North , East, West and South of E.U. It’s a good idea. Have a nice day.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I’m going to try the classic French version next (mostly because I like to imagine myself as a casually sophisticated woman in the South of France with baguettes and wine dining al fresco (en plein air?) all summer long :)

      1. Florence

        For the South version, you must use olive oil, lemon or balsamic vinaigar and just a little bit of garlic with salt and pepper. With that, I’m sure, you could hear cicadas! Bon app√©tit.

  4. Deb

    Good to have you back Lauren. I don’t like mayonnaise much either. I might even try replacing the mayo with plain Greek yogurt in this recipe. It’s funny you mention you don’t like Waldorf salad. Neither do I, yet my husband loves the WS his mother makes. It might be fun to experiment and update that salad…maybe a 21st century version…something with summer berries, spinach and kale with a cherry vinaigrette dressing??? But what to call it?

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Great idea for the Greek yogurt swap. According to Florence, in France they don’t add any mayo (and might I guess, most European countries) so you could probably just leave it out and maybe add a tad more oil if you felt it was dry. Your salad also sounds delicious–can we call it the WalDON’T salad? :)