An Italian potato salad recipe that tastes like your favorite caprese dish. There's no mayo, just balsamic vinegar dressing, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil to make this a delightful potato salad summer side.
I know you love caprese (that salad of mozzarella and tomatoes with basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar). I mean, who doesn't? This Italian potato salad brings all those favorite ingredients together with tender potatoes to make a glorious side dish.
Now, I'm not sure potato salad, at least the way we think of potato salad, is a thing in Italy. However, Italians love potatoes and they love fresh mozz, tomatoes, and basil. I simply combined them to make my Italian potato salad recipe!
I used a bag of Melissa's Produce Red, White and Blue potatoes for a fun 4th of July holiday twist, but you could use any baby potato. More on that later!
This potato and tomato salad is truly perfect for a summer picnic or BBQ as a crowd-pleasing side dish. But it's so hearty and flavorful, it can absolutely be a summertime main dish.
Plus, keep reading for fun ways to customize this salad with other Italian ingredients; and options for making it vegan or gluten-free.
Get More: 31 Potato Salad Recipes
Warm Potato Salad Recipe with Tomatoes
Your crowd will seriously be thrilled with this Italian potato salad without mayo. I cut the creamy dressing and swapped it for a honey and garlic balsamic vinaigrette. Then I added tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. This truly turns the dish into a caprese potato salad!
Love tomatoes and mozz? Try my Focaccia Caprese with an easy prep shortcut.
Adding tomatoes to potato salad creates great flavor and texture. Juicy cherry or grape tomatoes add a bright, acidic, and sweet bite to the soft, creamy potatoes.
I love using heirloom cherry tomatoes in all different colors, but classic red tomatoes are just as fantastic.
How To Make Italian Potato Salad
You know how to make caprese salad: slices of mozzarella and juicy summer tomatoes, sprinkled with basil leave and olive oil. Super easy! Well just add some cooked potatoes and balsamic vinegar and you've got the best potato salad you've ever had!
- Cook the potatoes: I use baby potatoes. You can use any kind like Yukon Gold, white potatoes, and even purple or red potatoes. Add potatoes to a pot of cold, salted water and bring to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Then drain.
- Make the balsamic vinaigrette: Whisk together garlic, honey, salt, and plenty of black peppers and add olive oil. This dressing replaces mayo in an Italian potato salad, so the salad can be eaten warm, room temperature, or cold.
- Cut the potatoes: When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, cut them into pieces. Cut in half or quarters so the pieces are bite-sized. Drizzle with some vinaigrette so the warm potatoes soak up all the flavor.
- Toss everything together: Add cut tomatoes, chopped basil, mozzarella (I love Ciliegine, the little balls) some toasted baguette crumbs, and more dressing.
Ingredients in Italian Potato Salad Without Mayo
The beauty of this caprese-inspired potato salad is that it's customizable. Any fun Italian ingredients you have on hand will be delicious added in. Take a look at these great ingredients and additions:
- Baby Potatoes: use red, Yukon Gold, white or purple potatoes; or a mix!
- Balsamic Vinegar: make a honey and garlic vinaigrette with classic balsamic vinegar.
- Cherry Tomatoes: the small size looks amazing and there's no excess seed juice!
- Fresh Mozzarella: I use Ciliegine style mozz, which are the little balls. You can cut a ball of fresh mozzarella into small pieces instead.
- Fresh Basil: adds a classic Italian touch and flavor of summer.
- Toasted Bread Crumbs: just like serving a caprese salad with slices of toasted baguette, these crumbs add a fun crunch.
Add some of these:
- Kalamata Olives: a few sliced olives go so well with these flavors.
- Arugula: sprinkle in a few handfuls of arugula to make this more of a cold salad dish.
- Salami or Pepperoni: add diced Italian cured meat to the salad to make it a main dish.
- Artichokes: canned or marinated artichokes are a tasty addition.
- Red Onion: slices of red onion add a piquant bite to this savory salad.
- Parmesan Cheese: shaved or grated Parmesan would be a rich addition.
Red, White and Blue Potato Salad
Baby red, white and blue (really purple) potatoes are often sold in a bag together, especially during the summer months. They are great to use for fun 4th or July, Memorial Day or Labor Day recipes.
I used red, white and blue potatoes in this potato salad recipe, but you don't have to! I thought it was a fun way to make the salad festive.
Plus, because I don't use mayo on this potato salad, the colors really shine through. It's also a potato salad with out eggs, and great for a crowd.
Make it gluten-free or vegan
Swap the toasted bread crumbs for gluten-free bread crumbs to make this Italian potato salad gluten-free. Or simply leave them out. You can add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese instead if you'd like.
Leave the mozzarella out of the salad to make it a vegan potato salad. You can add in crumbles of your favorite dairy-free cheese if you'd like. If honey is not on your vegan diet, this can be swapped for agave syrup.
More summer sides and pasta salad recipes:
- 25 summer pasta salad recipes
- Fresh Carrot Lime Salad
- Crab and Corn Dip
- Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Zucchini
- Pasta with Artichokes and Herbs
Italian Potato Salad Recipe
For the Balsamic Dressing
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the Salad
- 2 lbs baby potatoes (use red, white, and blue for the holidays)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes large ones cut in half
- 8 oz Ciliegine mozzarella balls or diced fresh mozzarella
- ½ cup chopped basil
- ½ cup toasted bread crumbs
For the dressing
- In a bowl or dressing jar mix the vinegar, garlic, honey, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and shake, or whisk well, until combined and thickened. Set aside.
For the salad
- Add potatoes and about a tablespoo of kosher salt to a large pot. Cover potatoes with water. Place over high heat and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook potatoes until just tender (use a fork to prick potatoes to check for doneness), about 15 minutes.
- Drain potatoes in a colander and let cool a bit. When potatoes are still quite warm, but you can handle them, cut them in half or quarters depending on the size. All the pieces should be roughly 1-inch in size. Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl.
- Drizzle ½ to ¾ of the balsamic dressing on the potatoes and stir to coat. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with toasted bread crumbs, and extra basil if desired. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.
- You can drizzle with extra dressing just before serving. The potatoes soak it up!
- Salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.