I just sent away one of those Ancestry DNA kits full of my saliva so I can find out what my heritage is. The name Wenz is German, and I know that I have a lot of German, Irish, Scottish and Dutch in me, but there are parts of my family that I’m not sure about. I’ll have to wait six to eight weeks to find out what they are.
I always make potato salad for our 4th of July cookouts, and I usually make the kind that’s made with vegan mayonnaise. This year when planning what to make, I decided to ditch the oily mayo, and I also thought about my heritage. A warm German potato salad seems like a nice change from the usual.
It’s believed that potato salad originated in Germany, and the American potato salad that we know and love was probably brought to the U.S. by German and European settlers during the nineteenth century. The Americanized version is usually served cold, and it’s made with mayonnaise, herbs and vegetables like onions and celery, where the original German kind, called “Kartoffelsalat,” is served warm and is made with vinegar, herbs, and bacon.
It’s easy to veganize German potato salad by using plant-based bacon. I used tempeh bacon in my salad, but you can use seitan bacon, coconut bacon, or any other vegan variety that strikes your fancy. (Isn’t it amazing that we have so many to chose from now?)
When I took the Rouxbe Plant-Based Professional Cooking Course a few years ago, one of the assignments I had to do was to boil potatoes two ways. The first way was just in plain water. The second was with salt and bay leaves in the water. I then had to taste and compare. What a difference! The potatoes cooked with salted water and bay leaves were far tastier, so that’s how I now cook my spuds when making a potato salad.
- 2 pounds red potatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon neutral vegetable oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 8-ounce packaged tempeh bacon, chopped
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon German mustard
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- Place the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover plus two inches them. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain, remove the bay leaves and set the potatoes aside until ready to use
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until it begins to brown. Add the chopped tempeh bacon and cook for 5-10 more minutes, until the tempeh begins to brown and crisp.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, water, mustard, black pepper and the remaining salt.
- Place the potatoes in a large bowl, and fold in the onion and tempeh bacon, along with the parsley. Pour in the dressing and gently stir to coat everything.
- Garnish with chives. Serve warm.