Mom's European Potato Salad


In the U.S., potato salad is most often served with a mayonnaise sauce and onions. I prefer this European style, which is olive oil based with fresh spring vegetables and served cold.

1 pound of potatoes (Red new potatoes or fingerlings work best; generally potatoes with thin, tender skins—feel free to use a variety of different potatoes!)

1 can (cooked) or ½ pound fresh green beans, cleaned with ends trimmed

1 cup green olives (or any sliced, pitted olive, or capers), sliced

1 bunch parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons vinegar (white wine, champagne, or red wine vinegar work well)

4-6 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Leave potato skins on and cut each potato in quarters.
  2. Place potatoes in a steamer basket and deep pot. Pour in hot or already boiling water—just enough until the level reaches just at the steamer basket (about an inch high). Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the potatoes. Place a tight lid on the pot and turn the stove temperature to a medium heat. Let the potatoes steam until just tender enough to stick a fork into them, about 15-20 minutes.*
  3. If using fresh green beans, take cleaned and trimmed green beans and cut into 1” lengths. Similarly to the potatoes, bring a pot with a steamer basket and the same amount of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt to the water. Once it is boiling, place cut beans into the pot and cover tightly with a lid, steaming for 3-5 minutes, or until tender. Note that the potatoes and green beans can be steamed ahead of time, up to 3 days in advance.
  4. Toss all ingredients together, adding more salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil to taste, if necessary.
Seattle Tilth
Christine Mrak, adapted by Eva Mrak-Blumberg, Community Kitchens Northwest intern.