Vegan German Potato Salad is a fun addition to any summertime picnic! It’s the perfect side dish to serve on Memorial Day, Father's Day, and 4th of July cookouts, too. You can cook up a batch anytime of the year, though, and serve is alongside a sandwich at lunch. This easy recipe is a vegan with a gluten-free option.
What is German Potato Salad?
I like to make potato salad for summertime cookouts, and I usually make the kind that’s made with vegan mayonnaise. Occasionally I decide to ditch the oily mayo and make a warm German potato salad. It's a nice change from the usual.
It’s believed that potato salad originated in Germany. 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. Known as kartoffelsalat, German potato salad is usually served warm and is made with vinegar, herbs, and bacon. The Americanized version is usually served cold, and it’s made with mayonnaise, herbs and vegetables like onions and celery.
Whenever I share this recipe, I get complaints from people who don't like the fact that this recipe is known as "German," because they do eat the mayo version in Germany, too. I didn't create the name though – that's what we call it here in the U.S.
Vegan German Potato Salad
It’s super 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?) If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure your vegan bacon doesn't contain gluten. Some are made with soy sauce, which contains wheat. Some types of tempeh contain glutenous grains, too.
When I took the Rouxbe Plant-Based Professional Cooking Course several 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. So don't skimp on the salt in your water.
- To boil your potatoes, you should first cut them into dice, about 2-inches in size.
- You then put them in a pot with enough water to cover them plus two inches.
- Next you add salt and two bay leaves to the water and bring the pot to a boil.
- Then you lower the heat to a simmer and allow the potatoes to cook until they're fork-tender, about 10 minutes.
- Finally, you remove the bay leaves and drain the potatoes.
How to make German potato salad
This recipe is really easy to make!
- While your potatoes are boiling, you cook the onion in a pan with a little oil for about 10 minutes, or until it begins to brown.
- Then you add the tempeh bacon and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until it begins to crisp.
- Next you whisk the dressing ingredients together.
- You then place the potatoes in a large bowl and mix in the onion, tempeh bacon, and parsley.
- Now you gently mix in the dressing and top your salad with the chopped chives.
Potato salad is often thought of as a summertime dish, but there's no reason why you can't eat it in the cooler months, too. This warm version makes it easy to enjoy all year-round!
Vegan German Potato Salad
- 2 pounds red potatoes diced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 recipe tempeh bacon chopped (or 8-ounces store-bought vegan bacon)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable stock or water
- 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 and remove the bay leaves.
- While the potatoes are cooking, 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, vegetable stock, 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.