This green goddess potato salad gets a kick from pickled shallot, crunchy vegetables, and an herbaceous, creamy dressing. Originally posted here in 2011, I’ve updated the recipe with a few changes and new photos.
When you’re a vegetarian, it’s essential to have an array of tasty, hearty side dishes at any given barbecue or potluck. Bonus points if the side dish could serve as your main dish, just in case it’s slim pickings in the veg department. Enter this green goddess potato salad packed with crunchy vegetables, kicky dressing, and some custardy eggs for extra protein.
I shared my original green goddess potato salad seven years ago, back before I had a proper camera. My CSA delivered a host of ingredients which at first I deemed inappropriate for summer, but later realized were actually the highly relevant ingredients for cole slaw and potato salad. I blended a trio of herbs – tarragon, dill, and basil – into some good mayonnaise and tossed it together with boiled potatoes and some crunchy vegetables. Potato salad is usually something I feel neutral about, but this was different. This was potato salad bliss.
The potato salad was deserving of some fresh photos, so this past week I revisited the recipe and gave it a few upgrades. The biggest change that I made was to fold in bits of pickled shallot which add a pop of acidity and brightness that complements the creamy dressing beautifully. I also swapped the anchovy in the dressing (a traditional green goddess ingredient) for capers. These add the same salty/briny notes while keeping the recipe vegetarian.
This recipe is all about the produce, so use the best you can find. Small, fresh potatoes tend to taste the most sweet and creamy. Slender cucumbers with thin skin and few seeds usually have the most crunch and sweetness; my favorite is the painted serpent variety shown here, but most middle-eastern varieties are excellent. Take care not to overcook your green beans so they stay crunchy and vibrant. And look for farm-fresh eggs from happy chickens, which tend to have the most vividly golden yolks (but let them age for a week or two before cooking so they’re easier to peel).
Tender potatoes, crisp veggies, and tangy dressing laced with pickled shallot add up to a verdant twist on a classic. Serve right away, or chill for up to a day or two to meld the flavors. The dressing is the brightest green when freshly made, but magic happens when the salad chills in the fridge for an hour up to two days – the flavors meld and emerge, the vegetables become slightly pickled, and the potatoes absorb all those lovely flavors.
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- ¼ cup finely diced shallot
- ½ teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
- 2-3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
- 2 pounds small yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 – 1 ½-inch chunks
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea or kosher salt
- 8 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut crosswise into halves or thirds
- 6 large eggs (preferably a week or two old for easier peeling)
- 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber (preferably a middle-eastern variety)
- ½ of a medium fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- ¼ cup snipped chives
- black pepper
- ⅔ cup packed basil leaves
- ½ cup packed tarragon leaves
- ⅓ cup packed dill
- 2 garlic cloves, put through a press or minced
- 2 teaspoons capers, drained (or 1 anchovy for a non-vegetarian and more traditional option)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
- ¾ cup good-quality mayonnaise, such as Spectrum Olive Oil (or homemade)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (more if needed to taste)
- In a small jar, combine the shallot, salt, and enough vinegar to barely cover the shallot. Put a lid on the jar and shake to dissolve the salt. Let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Add the 1½ teaspoons of salt, and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cook until the potatoes are tender but still holding a shape, 8-12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the potatoes out of the water and drain, reserving the water. Let the potatoes cool completely (you can run them under cool water to speed this up).
- Add the green beans to the boiling water and simmer until bright green and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain the green beans (you can save the cooking liquid to use as vegetable stock if you like) and rinse them with cool water to stop the cooking (or put in an ice water bath).
- Place the eggs in the now-empty saucepan and cover with an inch or two of cool water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 5-6 minutes (5 if you like a softer yolk, 6 if you want the yolk a bit more firm but still custardy, as pictured here). Drain the eggs and add ice and cool water to the pot to stop the cooking. Let stand 10 minutes, then peel and rinse the eggs and cut into halves or quarters. The whites should be firm and the yolks should be slightly soft and custardy.
- In a food processor, combine the herbs, garlic, capers, ½ teaspoon salt, and mayonnaise, and blend until just smooth. Blend in the lemon juice. Taste, adding more lemon or salt if you feel the dressing needs it. You will have about 1 cup.
- Place the cooled potatoes in a large bowl. Add the green beans, cucumber, fennel, ½ cup of the dressing, and a good grind of black pepper. Toss together gently to combine, then drain the pickled shallots (you can reserve the vinegar to use in other dressings) and toss them into the salad along with the chives, and more dressing if you like. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon or salt if you like. Toss the eggs into the salad or place them atop the salad when you serve it up.
- Serve the salad right away, or chill for up to a day or two to meld the flavors. The salad looks prettiest freshly made when the dressing is bright green, but the flavor improves after a bit of time in the fridge.