I grew up with potato salad that came in tubs from the supermarket chiller section. Cubes of potato in a gloopy, brilliant white sauce with flecks of green. My mums homemade salad tasted way better and I could devour too much as a child. But it was merely new potatoes smothered in a cholesterol laden bucket load of mayonnaise with crunchy spring onions.
As I grew up even before I became vegan, my mums potato salad was something I would very rarely make in my own home, as I began to understand just how calorific it was and how little self control I had with it. I knew no different way. That was potato salad to me and if I couldn’t have it then that was that.
In more recent years as my interest in flavour combinations developed, especially since becoming a vegan, I attempted to make potato salads non reminiscent of the mayonnaise drenched versions I had only known, that were delicious in their own right.
I spent the first couple of months of veganism toying with attempts to make vegan versions of vegetarian favourites. Macaroni cheese was the classic. I tried almost every trusted, highly reviewed vegan mac and cheese recipe. None of them tasted like real mac and cheese, so I’d toss that recipe out and move on to the next. Then one day I realised, it was never going to taste the same as real cheese, how could it? But the food is delicious in it’s own right. If I stopped comparing everything to a dairy alternative, it was delicious anyway. This was the most important realisation I had in my first months of veganism.
Take almond milk for example. Of course it doesn’t taste like cows milk, why would it? But it is delicious and I can’t imagine life without it and now couldn’t be more glad that it doesn’t taste of cows milk! The trouble is, it is easy, especially at first, to expect or at least try to create, non dairy products to taste like dairy. Just as non-vegans tend to do. My boyfriend will taste a nut cheese and instantly discuss whether or not it tastes like dairy cheese. Now I taste it for what it is, a nut cheese.
This recipe was a breakthrough for me in terms of this. This recipe confirmed that I didn’t have to stick a jar of vegan mayo and some spring onions in a bowl of potatoes to make a potato salad taste almost how I remembered it. Instead, use natures gorgeous flavour enhancers and erase the idea of the past recipe as your starting point. Start again, make a masterpiece, a recipe you love and will make over and over again that just is what it is. Delicious.
Ingredients: Serves 4 as a side dish
- 100g (1 medium) onion
- 500g new potatoes
- 2 tsp vegetable stock powder or paste
- 1 lime
- 1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 100g/2 cups wild garlic leaves (or other leaves, spinach, rocket, basil…)
- 100g/2/3 cup diced cucumber
- 1 tbsp green olives
- Slice the onion into rings and add to a non stick frying pan and cook and stir over a low-medium heat until golden and caramelised.
- Meanwhile, wash and halve the potatoes if large. Add to a large pan with the stock and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes until knife tender.
- Make the dressing, squeeze the juice of the lime and add to a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, vinegar and chia seeds and whisk together, add just a little salt and pepper and stir well.
- Slice the leaves, cube the cucumber and slice the olives.
- When the potatoes are ready, drain and put under cold running water to cool quickly or leave to cool if making in advance. Drain thoroughly and toss with the onions, cucumber, wild garlic, olives and dressing.
Low in sodium
High in dietary fiber
High in manganese
High in potassium
Very high in vitamin B6
Very high in vitamin C