In Crete, we make many different Greek potato salad recipes, as they are quick and easy to make. I remember my childhood regularly revolved around my mom saying, “So, what can we have for dinner?” and my dad replying, “How about a potato salad?”
We love to enjoy a Greek potato salad mostly in the summer when we could get the fresh ingredients direct from the garden. We got the eggs from our own chickens’ nests and every Crete home has olives and olive oil in the house.
This recipe is typical of one of our summer potato salads. However, we make a variety of potato salads, depending on the season or our mood. In one version, we boil potatoes and mash them thickly but don’t puree them. We then add chopped parsley, pieces of smoked pork, and cubes of cheese (usually soft cheese). Olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper complete the salad.
Another version adds grated carrots, sliced olives, green peas, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Finally, one of my favorite potato salads is made with mashed potatoes, boiled shrimp, boiled sliced carrots, pickled cucumber, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Yes, there’s no mayonnaise in sight!
This is one of the best Greek potato salad recipes, as it combines ingredients you’d typically find in a Greek salad with tender boiled potatoes, like tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, Greek olives, feta cheese, and oregano. The only unique additions are boiled egg and zucchini. Packed with fresh Greek flavor and a hint of tang from the fresh lemon juice, this healthy potato salad recipe is the perfect dish for any Mediterranean diet.
Here are some easy substitutions and variations to make this Greek potato salad recipe work for you:
Substitute the lemon juice in the dressing for white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar or use a combination of lemon juice and vinegar.
Use red onion instead of yellow onion.
Add up to three minced garlic cloves.
Use any type of olive you can get your hands on, whether that’s black olives, Kalamata olives, or green olives.
Substitute the dried oregano for fresh oregano.
Add up to ½ cup of additional chopped fresh herbs. Popular additions include fresh dill, fresh mint, and fresh parsley.
Use baby purple potatoes or red potatoes instead of white potatoes.
For heat, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
Add fresh green or red bell pepper for extra crunch.
Add one to two teaspoons of capers (it’s the Mediterranean way).
Chill the salad for a minimum of 30 minutes up to overnight to let all of those flavors mingle together.
What is the Greek name for potato salad?
In Greece, we call it patatosalata.
Do you have to put hard-boiled eggs in the potato salad?
Hard-boiled eggs are a typical ingredient in old-fashioned potato salad and American potato salad recipes. However, you don’t have to include them and can easily leave them out if you wish.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Cook the zucchini for 10 minutes, until they are soft when pierced with a fork. Rinse the zucchini in cold water, then drain it, and set it aside in a large bowl.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook them for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are soft when pierced with a fork. Rinse them in cold water, and then drain the potatoes and add them to the zucchini.
Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, olives, olive oil, lemon juice, eggs, feta, and oregano. Toss the ingredients lightly to combine them.
Add salt and pepper, to taste, and stir the salad gently to mix in the seasoning.
Chill the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving it.
Koula Barydakis was born into a long tradition of eating and living Mediterranean on the Greek island of Crete. She is a chef who has worked in many of the top restaurants in Crete and in Greek Town in Toronto, Canada. Koula is the co-author of “Foods of Crete, Traditional Recipes of the Healthiest People in the World” and is currently completing her second cookbook. Koula teaches cooking classes to tourists in Crete and has been hired to teach classes in other countries as well.