A vegan potato salad that doesn’t require commercial vegan mayo, tofu, cashews, OR a blender! Creamy, refreshing, and made with everyday ingredients.
Labor Day is coming and it’s still a million degrees out here in Baltimore, so that means it’s time for a nice refreshing vegan potato salad. Compared to when I first went vegan, the vegan mayo options available at stores are an order of magnitude better. But I still always enjoy making things from scratch when I can, and luckily with potato salad, it’s super easy to make a lighter, creamy olive oil-based version full of flavor.
Vegan potato salad with no weird anything
I essentially wanted my vegan potato salad to taste like a simple cross between American (mayo based, with veggies) and French-style (oil based, with herbs) potato salad. I use a mix of creamy red and gold potatoes. Then I add fresh celery for crunch, copious amounts of kosher dill pickle, and red onion for some bite.
Borrowing from the French I load the whole thing with fresh parsley, dill, and scallion. I’m seriously in love with the dish already before even adding any dressing. It tastes so fresh and bright with the herbs and crunchy veggies. If you aren’t a fan of celery or pickles, try adding some other crunchy and brine-y mix-ins like fresh bell pepper, and capers or olives.
The dressing is olive oil-based, with mustard and lemon. To give it more creaminess, I emulsify in a small amount of soy milk and coconut oil, but this part is totally optional and does add some saturated fat if you’re monitoring that. There are so many yummy things in this dish that you start to forget it’s totally plant-based, dairy-free, and mayo-free. You also won’t have much time to stop and think about it, because you don’t need a blender or any other dishes add from a cutting board, mixing bowl, and a smaller bowl to mix the dressing.
My most important secret for vegan potato salad
Last but not least! Regardless of anything else, the key to a great vegan potato salad (or any potato salad) is to cook the potatoes in heavily salted water. It almost feels like you’re pouring salt into your stock pot. My friend remarked “whoa that’s a lot of salt”, and that’s the level you want to be at. Well-seasoned potatoes make all the difference when putting your potato salad together. If you make this recipe and don’t salt the potatoes, then I am not liable for any lack of flavor!
Simple Vegan Potato Salad
- 2 lb small red or yellow potatoes, or a combination cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 kosher dill pickle spears finely chopped (standard sized spears / 5.3 oz. total)
- 2 ribs celery thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 finely chopped scallions, white and light green parts
- Add the the potatoes to a stock pot and cover by a few inches with water. Add lots of salt to the water, and stir. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart. While the potatoes are cooking, you can start chopping the other ingredients. When done, drain the potatoes and set aside.
- To make the dressing have a slightly creamier texture and color, use the optional coconut oil and non-dairy milk. Add them to a small bowl along with the olive oil and mustard, and whisk until combined. The mustard will help emulsify the oils together into a creamy mixture, long enough to dress the potatoes. If not using the optional ingredients then simply whisk the olive oil and mustard together.
- Add the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt (I started with 1/4 tsp) and freshly-ground black pepper to taste, and even red chili flakes if you desire. Also, stir in a few pinches of each of the chopped herbs.
- Add the drained potatoes to a mixing bowl with the pickles, celery, red onion, scallions, and the rest of the herbs. Stir in about half of the dressing. Set the whole thing in the fridge to cool completely.
- After the salad is cold, add the rest of the dressing according to your taste (I don't generally use quite all of it). Best enjoyed cold.