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Italian Potato Salad is loaded with zesty flavors! Tender yellow potatoes and Italian cherry peppers are tossed in a delicious, fresh herb dressing.
If you google the term Italian Potato Salad you’ll find as many versions as there are families. The variety of potatoes used is different from recipe to recipe, and the other ingredients in the salad also seem to vary quite a bit, perhaps based on the region of Italy from which each recipe originates.
But, the one similarity among all Italian Potato Salads is that it’s an oil-based potato salad without mayonnaise. That makes this ideally-suited for serving at outdoor gatherings – no need to worry about the mayonnaise turning in the hot sun.
In addition, Italian Potato Salad is absolutely delicious!
Why You’ll Love Our Italian Potato Salad
- It’s simple and delicious! Just a few basic ingredients come together in one flavorful side dish.
- It travels well. As mentioned above, this oil-based salad is ideal for cookouts and pot luck parties.
- It’s versatile. You can change up the fresh herbs, or add in different vegetables to make this salad your own.
For our version, we used yellow potatoes and Italian sweet sliced cherry peppers and kept the dressing simple with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs and garlic.
Key ingredients and Substitutions
- Yellow Potatoes – We chose yellow potatoes for their buttery taste and tender texture. Select oval-shaped potatoes of similar sizes and with a smooth, unblemished skin.
- Italian Cherry Peppers – We used jarred, sweet Italian cherry peppers for a nicely balanced, zesty flavor. If you’d like, you can use the hot variety.
- Dressing – We made a simple dressing with good-quality extra virgin olive oil, sweet onion, fresh lemon juice, and garlic, plus fresh herbs (chives, oregano and parsley) and seasonings.
Place the chopped sweet onion in some lemon juice while you prepare the potatoes. The lemon juice will mellow the harsh bite of the raw onion as it sits. (This is also called “deflaming” the onion.)
How do I make Italian Potato Salad?
- Boil the potatoes whole, with the skin still on. (This actually helps prevent the potatoes from getting waterlogged.)
- Peel the potatoes. Use the side of a fork or spoon, or a butter knife and peel off the skin from the cooked potatoes.
- Slice the still-warm potatoes into a bowl. Coat them in some of the olive oil to seal the potatoes and prevent them from getting mushy.
- Make the dressing by combining onions, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs and seasonings.
- Place the sliced potatoes, cherry peppers, and dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate the salad overnight to meld the flavors.
- Serve as a side dish with your favorite grilled or roasted meat.
We cook the potatoes whole with the skin on. Then peel and slice while the potatoes are still warm and coat them in olive oil. This will ensure that your potatoes are perfectly-cooked and you can cut firm potato slices. As the warm potato salad chills, the dressing flavors meld, but the potato will be firm and actually taste like a potato when eaten, and not a mushy dressing-soaked potato.
Frequently asked Questions
- Can I make this salad ahead? Yes in fact, we highly recommend that you do, so the potato salad can fully chill and the flavors can meld together.
- How do I store leftovers? Cover and keep refrigerated for up to three days.
- Can I add other vegetables to my Italian Potato Salad? Of course! We think steamed green beans and sliced tomato wedges would be a nice addition to the salad. Olives might be a nice addition too.
- Can I serve this as a hot Italian Potato Salad? Sure – in fact, we tasted it ourselves before it was chilled. It was delicious!
You may enjoy these other summer salad recipes:
- Jack’s Potato Salad
- Grilled Sweet Potato Salad with Sweet and Sour Bacon Dressing
- Blue Cheese Coleslaw
- Italian Tortellini Salad
- Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
3 pounds skin-on yellow potatoes (try to choose potatoes with smooth, unblemished skins that are uniform in size)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1–2 lemons
¼ cup sweet onion, diced small
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped fine
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup jarred sweet Italian cherry peppers (sweet or hot), drained, stemmed and sliced
Place skin-on yellow potatoes into a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil.
Place one teaspoon of kosher salt into the boiling water and boil uncovered for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes, or until tender in the center when poked with a paring knife blade.
If some potatoes are smaller than others, remove them with a spider or tongs and allow the larger ones to keep boiling until done.
While potatoes are cooking, in a small bowl, cover the chopped onions in the lemon juice and set aside.
Remove the hot potatoes to your cutting board and with the side of a spoon, fork or a butter knife, peel the skins off of each hot potato. I found that the side of a fork works best by peeling the top facing you, flip the potato over and peel back the rest. The skin should slide right off.
Once all the potatoes are peeled, slice into thick slices and place gently into a large bowl.
Spoon in three tablespoons of the olive oil and toss gently to coat. This will help seal the slices so they stay firm.
In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining oil, remaining teaspoon of kosher salt, garlic, parsley, chives, oregano, pepper and the onions and lemon juice from earlier.
Add the dressing and the sliced cherry peppers to the oil covered potatoes and gently toss.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed, gently mix again and pour into a serving bowl.
Optional: Drizzle on more olive and top with any of the fresh herbs before serving for garnish.
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