Skip to Content

Italian Potato Salad With Green Beans & Red Onions

Italian potato salad, with green beans and red onion, is a super fresh and delicious salad, perfect as a side dish or a main course for an easy lunch.

Italian potato salad holds a special place in my heart (and stomach); I have such good memories of summer picnics as a child spent enjoying my Nonna’s delicious Italian potato salad.

Tender potatoes, crisp vegetables, and herby vinaigrette dressing are perfect for a light but filling meal.

As someone with Italian heritage, potato salad has always been a staple at family gatherings and picnics. There is something about the simple mixture of ingredients that tastes like home.

italian potato salad

This potato salad takes inspiration from a Sicilian recipe, which we Sicilians call “Insalata vastasa”.

The term “vastasa”- which in dialect means “rude and vulgar person”- probably refers to the exaggerated and disproportionate use of ingredients. 

Traditionally, the dish’s preparation includes potatoes, green beans, tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, red onion, white and black olives, oregano, salt and pepper, and plenty of extra virgin olive oil. 

But in my version, I prepare it without the tomatoes and olives.

Italian Potato Salad Ingredients

These are the main ingredients you need for this potato salad recipe.

Scroll down to our printable recipe card for the step-by-step directions and measurements.

Green beans: You can use fresh ones, but frozen ones are fine.

fresh green beans for potato salad

Potatoes: Yellow-fleshed potatoes are best; they are firm, low in flour, and resist cooking better.

Red potatoes can also do well; they have flesh inside that is pale, firm, and compact and remains firm even after long cooking.

Other types of potatoes that go well with this recipe:

  • Yukon Gold
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Small Boiler Potatoes or baby potatoes

Red onion: Gives a unique flavor to our salad. 

If you do not like raw onion, you can opt for this little trick to eliminate much of its intense flavor and help digestion. 

Slice them and soak them in water and vinegar for about 1 to 2 hours; drain the slices, blot them with paper towels, and add them to the salad.

Or you could use onion pickles.

sliced onions for italian potato salad

Origano: Make the salad super flavorful; try with fresh basil or other fresh herbs.

Salt and black pepper: To taste.

Oil and balsamic vinegar: I use olive oil and balsamic or red wine vinegar, the classic Italian dressing, to dress this salad.

How to Make Italian Potato Salad 

Step 1

Clean the onion and slice it.

Place it in a small bowl with cool water for at least half an hour.

This will make the onion more digestible and cause the pungent elements it contains to run off into the liquid.

Step 2

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of water and cook them with a lid.

From boiling, cook for about 25/30 minutes until they are fork tender.

Then peel and dice the hot potatoes into bite-sized pieces and let cool at room temperature.

Cut off the ends of the green beans and cook them in salted boiling water for about 10 minutes. 

Then, drain them and keep them aside.

Step 3

Add the cooked potatoes, green beans, and onion in a large bowl. 

Season the salad with salt and pepper, and add oil, oregano, and balsamic vinegar dressing. 

Gentle toss and refrigerate.

italian potato salad in a bowl

Other Way to Cook Potatoes For Italian Potato Recipe

Choose your preferred cooking process. I usually boil them, but the microwave is a lifesaver when you’re short on time.

Pot: Choose new, even-skinned potatoes, wash them under running water, and if necessary, use a brush to remove soil.

Then, place the potatoes inside a large pot with cold water covering them completely, add a tablespoon of salt (for every kg of potatoes), and bring them to the fire on high heat.

When the water comes to a boil, lower the heat and finish the cooking, checking occasionally by piercing the potatoes with a knife tip.

Microwave: It is also possible to boil potatoes in the microwave; the rule of washing them carefully is the same; then, without removing the skin, we will operate the cooking at 750w, 6 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. 

Halfway through cooking, turn the potatoes over and continue cooking on the opposite side.

Pressure cooker: Alternatively, we can boil the potatoes in the pressure cooker with only 3 cups of water, close the lid, and bring them to the stove, calculating about 15 minutes of cooking time.

Recipe Tips For The Perfect Potato Salad

  • Always boil the potatoes with cold water to prevent the outside from becoming soggy.
  • Potatoes require a lot of salt! 
  • Add one teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of potatoes.
  • Do not overcook the potatoes to avoid a mappy salad. Always check the potatoes with the help of a toothpick while cooking.
  • Drains excess water from all ingredients.

Peeling Before vs. Peeling After Boiling

I prefer to peel the potatoes after boiling. This saves time and allows the potatoes to retain their natural flavors and nutrients.


I love to add artichoke hearts or sun-dried tomatoes to mine for more flavor. Depending on your preferences, boiled carrots or celery can be substituted.

As for the dressing, an olive oil-based vinaigrette is classic, but feel free to play around with different herbs like rosemary or basil.

I love to throw in some chopped olives and or grape tomatoes to my salad or make this a unique dish by adding chicken, tuna, or even hard-boiled egg and serve it with this delicious focaccia.

What to Serve with this Green Bean Potato Salad

For my taste, this salad is best served cold; I always make it for lunch and dinner in the morning. 

Letting it sit for a few hours in the refrigerator helps blend the flavors.

This potato salad perfectly pairs with chicken cutlets or ham with ham gravy for a delicious dinner.

I also love to serve it with a yummy chicken pesto sandwich.


Make-Ahead: Italian potato salad is the perfect make-ahead dish.

Prepare it a few hours or even a day before, allowing the flavors to meld together beautifully. Just make sure to store it in the refrigerator.

It is even better the next day.

Storing: I recommend refrigerating leftovers within a few hours in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

The potatoes tend to soak up the dressing over time, so you may need to gently toss in more olive oil before serving again. 

I do not recommend freezing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should The Potatoes Be Peeled?

As per the family recipe, I make this salad with peeled potatoes, but if you prefer with the peel, that’s perfectly fine, too. 

When cooking, I always leave the peel on.

You have to consider that the peel is like a protection for the potatoes, preventing them from absorbing too much water and thus preventing them from flaking after cooking.

Should Italian Potato Salad Be Served Hot Or Cold?

I advise serving it cold; letting it sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator makes the flavors blend better.

Italian potato salad recipe


Be sure to follow me on social media so you never miss a post!

Facebook  Group | Pinterest Flipboard

Yield: 4 serving

Italian potato salad, with green beans and red onion recipe

Italian potato salad recipe

A potato salad with a Sicilian twist. This Italian potato salad can never be missing from my table.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Rest in the fridge 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes


  • 1 Red Onion
  • 5 Large potatoes
  • 2 cups Green bean (300g)
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt, black pepper & oregano to taste


  1. Slice the onion and put it in a bowl with water and ice. Let it sit for a minimum of half an hour.
  2. Wash the potatoes well and boil them with all their skins on in cold salted water.
  3. Let them cook for about 25 to 30 minutes. Check the cooking from time to time with the help of a toothpick.
  4. As soon as they are cooked, peel them, let them cool, then cut them into chunks. Avoid overcooking them to prevent them from falling apart later.
  5. Cut off the ends of the green beans, wash them, and steam them for 5 minutes or in salted water for 10 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, prepare the dressing with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and oregano.
  7. Drain and squeeze the onion well.
  8. Compose the salad in a large bowl by placing the peeled and chopped potatoes, well-drained green beans, and dried onion.
  9. Add the dressing with the oil and mix well. Allow to rest in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 478Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 186mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 11gSugar: 9gProtein: 11g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram and tag thebellavita_blog


the bella vita
italian potato salad with green beans pintarest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Shay L.

Friday 24th of March 2023

I love that there's no mayo in this potato salad! Lighter, healthier, and the perfect summer side dish!


Friday 24th of March 2023

This reminds me of my grandmother's easy potato salad which was a great meal. Delicious and fulfilling. Thanks for the recipe.


Friday 24th of March 2023

I love how simple this was to whip up! The balsamic vinegar gave it such a different flavor too, a great switch up from the classic.


Friday 24th of March 2023

Thank you :)

amy liu dong

Friday 9th of September 2022

It looks so delicious and is easy to make. My husband will def love this, yum!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe