Vegan Potato Salad
Tender chunks of potatoes in a yummy creamy dressing, with just the right amount of crunch and tanginess! This Vegan Potato Salad is easy to make — ahead of time too — making it the perfect option for picnics, barbecues and potlucks.
Who doesn’t like a good potato salad, right? I don’t think I’ve ever actually met anyone who didn’t like potato salad. And I don’t think that I’ve ever met a potato salad that I didn’t like, either!
There are probably as many different potato salad recipes out there as there are individuals making it, and we each tend to have our own personal preferences. Me? I’m a real fan of the classic version, with a creamy tangy mayo dressing, a little bit of minced red onion, a handful of sliced celery and a generous amount of chopped dill pickles!
But you know what? As simple a dish as potato salad can be, it’s still fairly easy to mess things up. But with just a few very simple pointers, you’ll be able to avoid common mistakes and learn how to get it perfectly right, every single time!
THE SECRET IS IN THE… POTATOES!
First off, be sure to use the right potatoes for the task, in this case: waxy potatoes! These potatoes tend to be on the small side and have thin, smooth skin, so you don’t even need to peel them, although you could if you wanted to, but they would only lose flavor and nutrients. They also have a firm and creamy flesh, and since waxy potatoes are relatively low in starch and high in moisture, their cells remain intact when cooked, which causes them to hold their shape very well when boiled or baked.
Also, just like pasta, potatoes absorb water — and salt — as they cook. Adding plenty of salt to the cooking water will ensure that every single starch particle in the potatoes gets infused with salt, resulting in a potato salad that’s well and evenly seasoned. How much salt should you add to your water, you ask? Enough that it tastes like the sea, is what I say.
Additionally, starting the potatoes in cold water will ensure that they cook evenly. If you were to start them in hot or boiling water, the outside would most likely fall apart before the center has had a chance to completely cook. This would result in a potato salad filled with hard lumps of potatoes covered in mush. Not my idea of a great potato salad!
So cut your WAXY potatoes into bite size chunks, rinse them well and then put them in a large pot. Cover completely with COLD water and SALT generously. Bring the water to the boil then reduce to a rapid simmer, cover that pot loosely and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
Once cooked, drain the potatoes and be sure to let them cool completely. → Adding mayonnaise to hot potatoes would only cause it to melt and go all oily on you. No bueno!
In an ideal world, you would cook your potatoes the previous day, or at least a few hours ahead so they have plenty of time to cool down. But if this was not an option, don’t despair: all is not lost! To cool your potatoes in a pinch, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Perfect crime!
You could also rinse the potatoes under cold running water or plunge them in an ice water bath, but I find this makes the potatoes somewhat watery and less flavorful. When hot, the “pores” of the potatoes are wide open and they will absorb whatever flavor you throw at them. I don’t think that you want this “flavor” to be that of water…
WELL… AND IN THE SAUCE, TOO!
While your potatoes are chillin’, take the opportunity to chop your celery, onion and pickles, and then make that super yummy creamy dressing. Simply combine a cup of vegan mayonnaise, some apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and a few herbs and spices (listed below in the recipe card) in a medium bowl and give all that a good whisk.
When the potatoes are good and cold, place them in a large mixing bowl, along with the celery, onion and pickles,…
…and then pour in that super yummy creamy dressing; Toss very delicately until all the potatoes are well coated and all those ingredients are evenly distributed.
Technically, your potato salad is now ready to be served, but if time permits, you should definitely place it in the fridge for a few hours to give all those tasty flavors a chance to meld and mingle.
This potato salad can totally be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to serve. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a few days.
Vegan Potato Salad
- 3 lb new potatoes (or other waxy potato variety), cut into 1″ pieces
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1/2 of a medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles, about 2 medium
- Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces, then rinse them well and place them in a large pot. Cover the potatoes completely with cold water* and add enough salt so that your water tastes like the sea; it’s imperative that your water be fairly salty!
- Bring to the boil then reduce to a rapid simmer, cover loosely and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
- Once cooked, drain the potatoes and let them cool completely.**
- Meanwhile, chop your celery, onions and pickle, and then make the creamy dressing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and giving them a good whisk.
- When the potatoes are cold, place them in a large mixing bowl, along with the celery, onion and pickles, and then pour in the dressing; Toss delicately until all the potatoes are well coated.
- You can serve your potato salad immediately, or place it in the fridge for a few more hours to give those flavors a chance to meld and mingle.
- This potato salad can totally be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to serve. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a few days.