Mayo-Free Potato Salad with Vinegar ~

I was reading Cooking Light magazine the other day and there was a picture of this potato salad but not a whole recipe. It was a question and answer section and it kind of told you approximately what to do to make the salad. The picture, however, looked amazing.

Nate loves potatoes and has been begging me to make him a potato recipe for some time now, so I knew this was the one. We both love sour things so this recipe’s vinegar, dijon mustard and capers were a perfect match for our taste buds. I just made the recipe up as I went, adding what I thought the photo showed.

Mayo-Free Potato Salad with Vinegar ~

The recipe mentions an interesting technique for the dressing. By mashing up some of the potato and mixing it with the dressing ingredients, you get a creamy, highly seasoned dressed that coats the potatoes and really stays in place.

This dressing also, unfortunately, makes for a less than gorgeous appearance-hence the reason there are only two photos. But you’ll have to trust me that it tastes THAT good.

Nate and I ate this alongside our dinner for several days, and we found that it only gets better as it sits, because the onions and potatoes really absorb all the dressing. We fought each other for the last serving.

I can’t wait to make this again!

Mayo-free Potato Salad with Onions and Capers

adapted from Cooking Light

Print this recipe!

makes a lot (sorry, I have no way how to estimate this, but it filled my large mixing bowl, but prob 8 servings)

3 lb. bag red-skinned potatoes, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces.
1/4 cup white vinegar plus 2 Tbsp for boiling, divided
1 medium red onion, cut into quarters and then into 1/2 thick slices
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp capers
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil plus 1 Tbsp, divided
3 Tbsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste.

Place the cut potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a couple Tablespoons of white vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, and cook for 5-10 minutes or until a fork can pierce them but they’re not falling apart (I took a potato out, cut it and tasted it to really tell). Drain potatoes and rinse with cold water to cool them down and stop cooking.

While potatoes are cooking heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saute pan. When it gets hot, add the onion. Cook several minutes then add the balsamic. Continue cooking, stirring so balsamic doesn’t burn, until onions are cooked but still hold their shape. Remove to a large bowl.

Take a heaping cup of cooked potato, put in a small bowl and mash well. Whisk in the olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar and dijon mustard.

Add rest of the potatoes to the bowl with the onions. Add the celery, capers, parsley. Dump in the dressing and thoroughly combine. Serve at room temperature or cold. It’s even better the next day after the flavors have really absorbed into the potatoes!


  1. juanitascocina

    It’s okay…I need a LOT of this…because YUM!

    • Hehe, thanks Jen. It was so so good, I have to say. I don’t like raw onions so i just cooked them a little and they were my favorite part!

  2. I really like the sound of this potato salad. I love capers in recipes as they add so much flavor to a dish.

  3. I think I might know what you’re talking about Amy… I was also inspired to make cold slaw and roasted yukon potatoes from a recent issue of Cooking Light. I am not a fan of mayo so I would totally give this potato salad a try. I love learning these techniques, like mashing the potatoes for the dressing, so we can eat well but a little lighter and healthier!

    • Totally…the mashed potatoes in the dressing was a great idea! I don’t mind mayo, but it’s nice to switch things up a bit :)

  4. This looks so refreshing! I really think my whole family would love it. Time to pick up potatoes… Thanks so much for introducing me to your site:)

  5. What a cool potato salad recipe. I will have to try this soon. Devon is a no-mayo guy so this would be more his style.

  6. Great recipe! I have a crazy fear of mayo where I run away from it quickly and cry, so this is perfect!

  7. It looks terrific to me!!! Love the tip about adding some potato to the dressing. I think the whole family would love this one :)

  8. That’s a really good looking potato salad. Love the addition of capers – they go so well with potatoes. Looking forward to our salad season – so cold at the moment (by Sydney standards!) xx

  9. Whatever, I think your two photos look delicious! And I’m mostly anti-potato salad (at least the stuff from the store) because … well.. they might as well just sell you a jar of mayo with 3 potatoes in it. No thank you.
    And I agree about the onions! I used to be fine with them but I SWEAR that they have gotten like 1000% stronger over the last few years because now? Forget about it! I’ve mostly just been omitting onions from any raw-onion recipe but your idea of cooking them just a little bit to temper the taste is basically genius and life-changing.
    Thanks you for changing my life <3

  10. i was thinking that looks really delicious! I’m not really supposed to have mayo while pregnant so a mayo free potato salad sounds great to me.

  11. I always find potato salad to be almost IMPOSSIBLE to photograph..but yours looks super appealing! As a mayo hater, I’m definitely going to have to give this a try! And very cool on the dressing method!

    • Aw, thanks Joanne! I was thinking it didn’t look great so I appreciate that :) I’m surprised to hear how many mayo-haters there are out there…who knew!?

  12. I am definitely going to try this. I love potato salad, but I also feel so guilty after I eat it because of all the mayo!

    • Well, this did have a decent amount of oil but I think you could cut it back some…and I think it’s prob still healthier than mayo!

  13. I just made a potato salad almost like this one! It was soooooo friggin good! Now I want more ;) xo

  14. I love that technique – creamy but without the extra mayo or anything! I love sour flavours too, so this would be right up my alley!

  15. here’s what: potato salad? rarely pretty, but really delicious. i love the dressing technique in this one! Excellent idea on how to do creamy without mayo. I love Cooking Light: really, it may not be as fancy schmancy as the other food mags, but i could eat out of theirs daily.

  16. I love your no-mayo version of potato salad. not that i have anything against mayo. But it’s good to know I can make this lighter version and still states great. Can’t wait to try this. Mashing up a potato to thicken the dressing is genius!

  17. This looks so delicious! Perfect for a summer picnic.

  18. This is my ideal potato salad. I’m always a fan of the mayo-free, although not just for health reasons! Vinegar brings out all the flavours so much more brightly than heavy mayonnaise, in my opinion. Great recipe :)

  19. This sounds fantastic, I love a potato salad that doesn’t use half a tub of mayo, and adding capers yum. I am about to start digging my spuds out in a couple of weeks, will be putting this on the things to make list.

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