Light and zesty Purple Potato Salad, dressed with an aromatic tarragon vinaigrette for a delightful spin on the classic Summer potato salad. Mixed beans make this salad wholesome while pomegranate seeds add some sweet-tart juicy crunchiness. To save time, prepare in advance and drizzle the dressing just before serving.
Tarragon is a highly flavourful and aromatic herb that has been going in many of my dishes lately. It has a very potent bittersweet flavour that is reminiscent of anise, certainly unique, with no real substitute to make up for the intense taste and aroma.
It is not as prevalent in Northern American cuisine as it is in French cuisine. If you are trying tarragon for the first time, use it sparingly to get used to the taste. When properly combined with other ingredients, tarragon beautifully flavours sauces, salads, marinades and many dishes.
If you’re new to tarragon, a potato salad, like the one I’m sharing today, is a good way to start. A little of this herb goes a long way, so don’t go overboard and increase the quantity gradually if you like it. I absolutely love this herb, especially fresh tarragon, for the uniqueness that it adds to sauces.
Substitutions for Tarragon
Fresh and dried tarragon are quite different in terms of flavour. Fresh tarragon is bolder and intensifies when heated or cooked. You can substitute dried for the fresh herbs as, although they are different they are probably the closest match — usually 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon equals a tablespoon of fresh tarragon. Dried tarragon can be substituted with herbes de Provence or “fines herbes”.
Fresh tarragon may be substituted with fresh herbs like dill or basil. The flavour won’t be as intended but they should work well in most recipes.
Vinegar and tarragon work beautifully together. When steeped in red wine vinegar, the bold anise flavour of the herb is somewhat subdued bringing out more of its freshness. Added to the vinaigrette are a little maple syrup and some good quality olive oil. Then, it’s seasoned to taste with salt and pepper.
This is really as simple as a vinaigrette can get, yet the tarragon adds such a delicious freshness to the dressing that it gives this potato salad a new spin from the classic version.
Purple Potato and Mixed Bean Salad
Purple potato or yam is another twist that not only adds some subtle sweetness to this Summery potluck salad, but the beautiful purple colour makes it totally tantalizing! Of course you may use white potatoes if that’s what you have on hand.
Some mixed beans make it wholesome with added protein. Pomegranate seeds bring in sweet-tart bursts of juicy freshness and crunchiness. I also added watercress for some greens and the peppery taste, to complete the flavour profile. You can substitute with other greens like baby spinach or just leave it out entirely.
Tarragon pairs well with other herbs, so any other seasonal herbs that you have on hand, like basil, parsley or dill, won’t hurt in the mix.
Each bite of this purple potato salad is a little morsel of wonder! All in all, it’s vastly versatile and the tarragon dressing is a keeper too.
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Tarragon Purple Potato and Mixed Bean Salad
- 2 medium purple potatoes / yams
- 200 g cooked mixed beans, [1 cup]
- 100 g cooked lentils, [½ cup]
- 80 g pomegranate seeds, [½ cup]
- 2 gherkins / dill pickles, chopped
- 50 g watercress leaves, about 1½ cups, optional
- 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup, or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place unpeeled whole potatoes in a medium pot and cover halfway with water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Then, continue cooking at a medium temperature for about 25 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
- Do not overcook. The potatoes should still be firm and not be falling apart when pierced.
- Remove from water and set aside to cool completely to room temperature.
- Alternatively, you can steam the potatoes. In this case, you may peel them, place them on a steamer rack with enough water in the bottom of the pot. Cover and steam at medium temperature until potatoes are cooked. Steaming may take slightly less time to cook.
- Once potatoes are cool, peel and dice them.
- Pluck the leaves of the fresh tarragon from the stem. Finely chop them, if desired. Then, mix with all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. Let the vinaigrette sit for about 20 minutes or refrigerate for up to 2 days until ready to use.
- To make the salad, combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl: diced potatoes, diced gherkins/pickles, pomegranate seeds, cooked beans and lentils, and the watercress.
- Toss gently to combine. Add the vinaigrette and gently stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days, (see notes).