What makes this vegan potato salad the best? It’s all about balance and getting the details just right. A classic summer side dish your family will love.
Serve it at your next picnic, potluck, or gathering, and go home with an empty bowl. Dairy-free, egg-free & gluten-free.
Potato salads aren’t glitzy or glamorous. They’re not going to win any awards for innovation. So what makes this the best vegan potato salad? It’s all about balance.
The key to making a potato salad that really stands out is getting everything juuust right. It’s the Goldilocks of foodstuffs.
Here are my rules for the perfect vegan potato salad:
Mayo is a must.
There are vinegar-based potato salads out there, and more power to them. I’m happy to have a spoonful. But when I’m thinking of sandy beaches & grill-outs, I want a classic, mayo-based vegan potato salad.
With the advent of products like vegan mayo, making a vegan potato salad isn’t at all tricky. It involves the same steps as the ones you’ve made many times over for picnics and potlucks, but with one simple substitution. (As far as vegan mayonnaise goes, Vegenaise is my favorite.)
But don’t go overboard.
I want just enough mayo that the ingredients are incorporated and combined, but not so much that it’s soupy.
I start by cooking bite-sized pieces of peeled potatoes until they’re just a smidge past al dente. Once you’re able to stab it with a fork or feel the slightest firmness when you bite into it, go a minute longer, and drain.
(That said, be careful not to cook the potatoes too long. You don’t want the potato salad to move into mashed potato territory.)
Once the other ingredients have been added and the potato salad is done, the potato pieces should show some semblance of their former selves, but rounded at the edges. A perfect vegan potato salad has lumps and bumps, but creaminess too.
(Plus, that extra creaminess in the potatoes means less mayo can be used.)
Add some crunch for interest.
Break up all of that beautiful smoothness by adding a little bit of crunch by way of diced dill pickles & green onions. Dill pickle gives a garlicky, vinegary hit that makes this potato salad pop.
Green onions are especially nice because they don’t have the harsh edge of full-sized yellow onions.
Finish it with seasonings.
For seasonings, I go with a splash of dill pickle juice and stone ground mustard for vinegary bite, paprika, and just a pinch of dried dill.
(A person could certainly use fresh if they prefer, but I’m never able to finish the remainder of a bunch of dill. A little goes a long way for me. So for the small amount used, dried works just fine.)
Finally, I garnish it with a handful of chopped chives for color.
The proof is in the pudding… I mean, potatoes.
In addition to making this potato salad for me and David at home, I’ve had the occasion to serve it to plenty of guests recently – first for our vegan cookout and then again for a tiki party.
At the tiki party, there were about 20 people in attendance, and David and I were the only vegans in the bunch. I had multiple people coming up to rave about the potato salad. So you can feel totally at ease bringing this one to your family reunion at the park or grill-out with the co-workers.
Serve it with everything.
And since potato salad keeps well in the refrigerator, it’s an easy one to keep on hand for a fast side dish.
Who could be sad about potato salad? It’s cozy, comforting, and juuuust right.
The best vegan potato salad
- 2 pounds Russet potatoes peeled & chopped into roughly 1-inch pieces
- 6 Tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
- 3 green onions sliced with ends removed (about 1/3 cup)
- 3 Tablespoons diced dill pickles
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dill pickle juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons stoneground mustard
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt + extra for boiling water
- Pinch dried dill about 1/8 teaspoon
- Heaping 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Optional: A handful of chopped chives for garnish
- Fill a pot three quarters full of water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Carefully add chopped potatoes to the water. Cook the potatoes on a low boil for 10 - 12 minutes, until the potatoes are just a tiny bit past al dente. (They should still have bite, so that they mostly keep their shape in the potato salad. However, a little bit of creaminess is good. Just don't let them get to mashed potatoes territory.) Start checking on the potatoes at 10 minutes, and drain when they have reached the right consistency. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine vegan mayonnaise, green onions, diced dill pickles, dill pickle juice, stoneground mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and dried dill. Add the drained potatoes to the bowl and use a spoon to fully combine. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Sprinkle paprika on top, cover, and refrigerate until cool.
- Before serving, garnish with chopped chives (optional).