German Style Potato Salad (Vegan, Oil Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, No Mayo)

Many Orthodox are not strange to attending the annual pilgrimage at St. Tikhon’s each Memorial Day Weekend. The weekend begins with commencement for the year’s seminarians and then concludes in an all day liturgical and prayer retreat for pilgrims or laity. We try to get up, but this year was again not feasible. 

But that’s not the only highlight of this weekend to me. I always took delight in hearing my mother speak fondly of her MDW memories of her with my grandma and uncle Eli and aunt Ruth that she made a tradition with my father, grandma and myself which later became my father and myself. They used to go around to all of the cemetaries of deceased loved ones and lay fresh flowers or plant geraniums. 

Afterwards, they would visit relatives nearby before going back to my grandma’s or aunt Ruth’s for supper. Hamburgers, hot dogs along with Ruth’s pickled eggs and her potato salad. Today, the tradition goes strong as my husband and I can join my parents  but the menu is often half that or different as my parents are older as you can’t exactly veganize everything back in the old days. Plus, it rained throughout the weekend. May has been a rainy month and that includes our wedding day. But I was still craving potato salad as if it were a bright and warm summer day instead of a damp and cool day.

Before I went vegan, I posted my classic summer potato salad which you can look up in the archives. I promised a vegan version for the longest while and yet I couldn’t seem to deliver. A part of that was that I distracted myself from blog posts and I do apologize but another part of me was that I wanted to find the right recipe that was so good that you wouldn’t even know there was anything missing and yet it tastes as if you are still treating your body right. That’s the kind of food this girl likes! 

This recipe contains a little onion, a little dijon mustard, salt but also some vinegar for a bit of tang. It can be made in twenty minutes and is easy and fast cleanup and tastes even better a few days afterwards. Great for potlucks or for a church picnic that falls during Apostles and Dormition fast this summer! 

My father, from the old country and hard pressed by vegan versions of classics, said he would eat this again if he had a choice between this recipe and classic potato salad. 

Time will not always remain the same. Some traditions can be, and can become more delightful and memorable withan open mind and a positive spirit.

Cook’s Tips for The Best Potato Salad

  1. Oversalt the Water – Potato salad is one recipe where you want to make like Ina Garten and oversalt the pot. I prefer to use sea salt. 
  2. Add your seasonings when potatoes are still warm –  Best absorption. 

German Style Potato Salad

Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time:  20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes 


4 white potatoes, peeled 

1/2 red onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic

¼ cup white vinegar (¼ cup = 60 ml)

⅔ cup spring water (⅔ cup = 150 ml)

2 tsp honey (or pure maple syrup) 

sea salt 

2 radishes

2 scallions

½ cup dill, fresh

2 tbsp dijon mustard

4 pickles

Wash and peel the potatoes and add to a pot of salty water. Boil until fork tender or easy to slice through with a fork. Drain. Slice into cubes. Allow to sit for about five minutes.

Focus on the dressing. For the dressing: dice the onion, grate the garlic and put it into a small pot. Add vinegar and water and let it simmer it until the onions are tender. Once the onions are tender add honey or maple syrup, mustard and salt to the same pot.

Now slice the radish, chop the scallions and set aside.

Add potatoes to salad bowl with radish, scallions and dill. Add in dressing. Mix well, taste test and add more salt to your liking. Plate and enjoy!

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