Light, bright, and perfect for any picnic or cookout, my naturally vegan Lebanese Potato Salad is easily one of my favorite summer sides. Made without any mayonnaise, the dressing is bursting with the flavors of fresh herbs, lemon, and garlic.
Best of all, it takes just about 15 minutes of active prep time to put together, meaning it’s easy enough for even a last-minute get-together.
Why This Side Is The Best
While I like traditional American-style creamy potato salad, this decades-old family recipe for Lebanese red potato salad will always hold my heart. Made with a simple lemon juice and olive oil-based dressing that is loaded with fresh herbs, I can eat a whole bowlful without feeling yucky!
Potato salad without mayo is not only lighter, but it also seems far more appropriate for hot weather gatherings. You can easily let your serving bowl hang out for a few hours without worrying about accidentally getting your friends and family sick. I’d call that a win-win, wouldn’t you?
Aside from being super tasty and perfect for outdoor activities, this Lebanese potato salad recipe is also:
- Quick & Easy To Make. As a skin-on potato salad, you don’t need to fuss with any peeling. Simply cook the potatoes, mix up the dressing, give the taters a quick chop, and toss everything together. It’s seriously SO SIMPLE.
- Requires Just 7 Ingredients. Made with just red potatoes, fresh herbs, and a handful of pantry staples, you’d be hard-pressed to find a potato salad with a shorter ingredient list.
- Meal-Prep Friendly - As with most potato salad recipes, this Lebanese beauty does great in the fridge for up to a week.
- Allergy-Friendly. Free from soy, eggs, nuts, and gluten, this naturally vegan dairy-free potato salad is perfectly acceptable for most diets.
Lebanese Potato Salad Ingredients
As promised, this red potato salad recipe requires just a few ingredients. Here’s your shopping list:
- Red Potatoes - Cheap and easy-to-find, red potatoes are my go-to for this recipe.
- Olive Oil - If possible, use cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Lemon Juice - Fresh is always best when it comes to citrus juice. To get the most from your fruit, give it a firm roll on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before cutting it open.
- Cilantro - Fresh, herbaceous, and simply delicious. Feel free to swap in mint or dill if cilantro isn’t your thing.
- Parsley - Either flat-leafed or curly parsley will do great here!
- Garlic - Use fresh cloves for authentic flavor.
- Green Onions - Use both the whites and greens for optimal flavor and color.
You don’t need much to make this lemon potato salad recipe. Here’s what to gather:
- A large pot to cook the potatoes. You can also swap in your Instant Pot if you prefer! Read on below for instructions.
- A mortar & pestle to mash the garlic. If you don’t have one on hand, you can easily use the bottom of a thick-walled glass or the broad edge of your chef’s knife instead.
- A small mixing bowl to make the potato salad dressing. To cut down on dishes if you used a cup to mash your garlic, consider repurposing the cup to make your dressing, too!
How To Make Lebanese Potato Salad
Step 1: Cook the potatoes until they’re fork tender. Cook in salted water until tender, about 25 minutes
Step 2: Mash the garlic and salt into a paste using either a mortar & pestle or the bottom of a heavy cup.
Step 3: Cube and season the potatoes. Cut the cooked potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place in a mixing bowl with the garlic. Add salt and pepper. Toss.
Step 4: Make potato salad dressing. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro, and parsley. Pour it over the potatoes and stir together.
Step 5: Garnish & Enjoy! Top with the green onions and serve warm, room temperature, or chilled in the fridge!
Swaps & Substitutions
Since this Lebanese no mayo potato salad is a family heirloom recipe, I don’t usually tweak it too much. That said, I do have a few variations that I heartily endorse:
- Cook the potatoes in an Instant Pot. Don’t want to turn the stove on? In this heat, I don’t blame you! Feel free to use the Instant Pot to cook your potatoes instead by following these directions:
- Place 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot and place the trivet in.
- Set potatoes on the trivet and season with a large pinch of salt.
- Cover and cook on high pressure for 11 minutes.
- Natural release the pressure.
- Red Skin Potato Salad is but one option. I love red potatoes because they are cheap and easy to find at just about any supermarket, but there are lots of varieties to choose from. Fingerling potatoes are quicker to cook and barely need to be cut, and purple potatoes are gorgeous! You can also use yellow wax potatoes if you prefer, but they’re not quite as visually stimulating.
- Swap out the cilantro for mint. I personally have a deep love affair with the fresh flavor of cilantro, but know that some folks have a serious aversion to it. No worries! Swap in fresh mint (another Lebanese favorite) in its place.
FAQs & Tips
What do Lebanese people call potato salad? While the official language of Lebanon is Arabic, French and English are also widely spoken. As such, potato salad might be called سلطة بطاطس (pronounced “sultat batatis”) or salade de pommes de terre. I’ve also seen it called patata (or batata) salata.
What are the best potatoes for potato salad? Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get all kinds of different answers to this question. However, for this Lebanese-style potato salad, wax potatoes are most common because they hold their shape the best. I prefer red potatoes because they are easy-to-find and inexpensive, but feel free to swap in heirloom varieties like fingerling or purple potatoes instead.
How far in advance can I make this lemony potato salad recipe? As with most potato salads, this one does well to rest in the fridge for a day or two for maximum flavor. Once prepared, it should last for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
- Keep some extra olive oil on hand if you refrigerate the salad. There’s something about the chilly air that helps to dry out the potatoes a bit.
- Cook the potatoes whole, then chop them into pieces. You’ll get cleaner edges this way.
Since this naturally vegan potato salad is made without mayo, I find that it has a broader range of uses than just typical BBQ fare. I find that it pairs well with:
- Anything you’d find at a typical cookout: BBQ chicken, burgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, and baked beans.
- Delicate fish dishes like these Sheet Pan Salmon Steaks
- Traditional Lebanese fare like Chicken Kafta Burgers or Kousa!
More Tasty Side Dish Recipes
If you tried this recipe for my family’s Lebanese Potato Salad without mayo, please be sure to rate and review it below!
Lebanese Potato Salad
- 1 large pot or Instant Pot
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 mortar and pestle
- 5-8 red potatoes
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ tablespoon pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 green onions
- Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until tender , about 25 minutes (I've also done this in an instant pot!)
- Place 1 cup of water in the instant pot and place the trivet in.
- Set potatoes on the trivet and season with a large pinch of salt.
- Cover and cook on high pressure for 11 minutes
- Natural release the pressure
- Peel the garlic and place in the mixing bowl with a pinch of salt, mash with a mortar (or you can use the bottom of a cup to really smash it all up)
- Cut the cooked potatoes into 1 inch cubes and place in a mixing bowl with the garlic. Add salt and pepper. Toss.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro, and parsley. Pour it over the potatoes and stir together.
- Top with the green onions and serve warm, room temperature, or chilled in the fridge!