Green Bean and Potatoes salad in a bowl

The main course is sort of the easy part. We can all grill chicken or roast a pork loin, but with limited ingredients, it can be the sides that throw us off. You can only eat boxed macaroni and cheese so many times, even during a global pandemic.

Veggie sides tend to be my go-to, since they’re easy, and you can make vegetables taste great with very limited ingredients. In general, I’m not a huge potato eater, except for one potato dish my mom used to make all the time that I just could not get enough of. This potato and green bean salad was a summer go-to, alongside BLTs, at barbecues, or even just with some crusty bread for a double-starch dinner.

Because it’s attached to so many good memories for me, this is definitely a comfort food that I turn to in times like these. It’s great hot, lukewarm (how we usually ate it), or cold out of the fridge the next day, and it’s good paired with literally anything, from hot dogs to slow roasted lamb shoulder.It has six ingredients, including salt, and it comes together in less than 20 minutes. Can you tell how much I like this dish?

The ingredients are simple, and you can double or even triple them easily:


  • 1 1/2 lb yellow potatoes, halved or quartered if large – I’m pretty sure my mom made this with all kinds of potatoes growing up, and I don’t see why you couldn’t use Russets (I would peel them first). I like the small yellow ones because I don’t have to peel them.
  • 1/2 lb green beans or haricot verts, cut into bite-size pieced – Use more or less, if you have it. Sometimes when I make this, it’s green bean heavy, sometimes it’s potato heavy. Either way, it’s good.
  • 3 cloves garlic – This dish is pretty garlic forward. If it’s not your thing, use less. You can also blanch or sauté the garlic first, so it’s less pungent.
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste – Vegetable or another neutral flavored oil is fine here.
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste – Regular balsamic is fine here, too, it will just color the potatoes. Which is seriously fine, no one will care.


  1. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to drain into a bowl, and set aside.
  2. Add the green beans to the water and cook just until tender-crisp and bright green, about 1 minute. Use the slotted spoon to transfer to the bowl with the potatoes.
  3. Meanwhile, mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle with the salt and about 1/2 tsp of olive oil until a paste forms. You can also just mince the garlic or crush it on a cutting board with the side of your knife. Transfer the garlic mixture to the bowl with the green beans and potatoes.
  4. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Toss to combine and season to taste, with salt.

  • If you wanted to make a whole meal of this dish, you could add some flaked tuna (look for the best quality you can find, packed in olive oil) or hard-boiled eggs.
  • Though I've only ever made this with green beans, I think it would be equally good with blanched asparagus.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do. Make sure to let me know so I can tell my mom!

- Laura