Recipe: Potato Salad with Saffron and Herbs, for Beth

This is another recipe that I promised to pass on more than  a year ago.  Maybe two years go.  Oh dear.  Sorry, Beth… Anyway, this recipe’s a real delight – light and herby and tangy, without the creaminess of traditional potato salads, but with so much more sharpness and flavour.  Also, it’s vegan!

The recipe originated in Julie LeClerc’s cookbook, Made in Morocco, which I can heartily recommend, though not quite as much as Taking Tea In the Medina, which I love even more and is one of my go-to books for things middle-eastern. I’ve added more herbs, and have upped the dressing-to-potato recipe because I’m evil like that.  Enjoy!

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750g new potatoes, washed but not peeled
a good pinch of saffron threads
2-3 little red salad onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
several handfuls of herbs – Julie suggests mint and coriander or parsley (and in much smaller quantities) – I tend to use all three, plus whatever else I can find in my garden – a few sage leaves, some rosemary, basil, chives, tarragon, whatever. I recommend this approach!
salt and pepper to taste

Now What Will You Do With It?

Halve the potatoes if they are on the large side, and cook in boiling water until just tender.  Drain and cut in half (or quarters if they were already in halves).

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, soak the saffron in a tablespoon of very hot water, to infuse.  Chop the onions very finely and add to the saffron and water with the crushed garlic.  Pour in your oil and vinegar and whisk to combine, then chop all the herbs and add them in with the salt and pepper.  Stir.

Add the potatoes while still hot, and toss everything well to combine.  Eat while warm, or at room temperature. But do toss it again if it stands for a while before eating.


This is already vegan, gluten-free and nut-free, of course, and it’s fairly low-fructose, too.  You could make a lower-GI version of this by using half and half potatoes and sweet potatoes (though new potatoes are actually not too bad, glycemic index-wise, especially once you add vinegar).  Just don’t overcook the sweet potatoes as they will become mush quite easily.  Or use this dressing over cooked (or tinned and drained) cannelini or butterbeans for a really delicious bean salad.

If you wanted to make this super-pretty, you could add in some edible flowers just before serving – nasturtiums, rosemary and sage flowers and so forth.  Yum.

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3 comments for “Recipe: Potato Salad with Saffron and Herbs, for Beth

  1. Iestyn
    January 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Looks like a good recipe for Rosevals if they are in season, or Ceciles if you can’t get Rs.

    • January 31, 2012 at 9:19 am

      I would think any good waxy potato would do. Kipfler, maybe, though I’m less keen on those than on some others.

  2. Iestyn
    January 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I agree, Kipfers suffer from Fashion pricing and a hyped flavour reputation. I probably wouldn’t go for a royal blue or a bison for this either.

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