By Team Dirty
Jul 2, 2022,
Potato salad can be a touchy subject for some. People get very passionate about their preferences and traditions. Maybe you grew up on vinegar-based salad or your dad would only use a certain brand of mayo. Have you been burned by bland spuds or your coworker’s strange ideas of “appropriate” potato salad ingredients? No matter your experience or feelings, we’re confident you’ll love our Classic Plant Based Potato Salad.
It’s made with a delectably seasoned creamy sauce, and a whole lotta love. It’s one of our most popular plant based recipes ever, beloved by omnis, judgmental in-laws, kids, and coworkers alike. Make it for your next party—you won’t regret it. Oh, and go ahead and save this link, because people will be asking you for the recipe.
Gather your ingredients
Red potatoes: red potatoes are great for potato salad because they tend to be pretty uniform in size, and their texture is firm but smooth.
Raw cashews: these magical nuts provide the creaminess to our dressing. If you have a high-powered blender, you can skip the soaking step.
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Dried dates: these provide a hint of sweetness without being too sweet. The fiber helps your body break down sugar without spiking insulin. If you prefer not to have any sweetness in your dressing, leave these out. You may skip soaking if you have a high-powered blender.
Nutritional yeast: (AKA nooch) a plant based super ingredient, nutritional yeast provides savory depth to our dressing. Don’t worry, there are enough balancing flavors to counteract the cheesy notes normally associated with this inactive yeast.
Let’s make Classic Plant Based Potato Salad
First, wash and quarter your potatoes. The more uniform they’re cut, the more evenly they’ll cook. Toss them into a large pot, cover with water by one to two inches, cover with a lid placed at an angle, and simmer over medium heat for 20–25 minutes until tender. Test by piercing with a fork. They’re done if the fork slides in and out of the potatoes without resistance. Drain and set aside to cool.
If you prefer to steam your potatoes in an Instant Pot, feel free, although the potatoes will be slightly drier. Wash and score them once deeply with a knife rather than quartering. Place one cup of water into the inner pot and then add the Instant Pot trivet. The water shouldn’t be above the trivet’s surface. Pile in your potatoes (don’t fill more than ¾ full), lock and seal the lid and nozzle, and set to manual mode for 15 minutes (on high pressure). Once the timer goes off, use the natural release method. Set aside and allow to cool.
Next, get your cashews and dates soaking (using the same bowl is fine). While they’re soaking, prep your other veggies and herbs and add them all to a mixing bowl.
After your cashews and dates are done soaking, drain them (discard the soaking water) and drop them directly into your blender. Measure your other dressing ingredients into the blender and blend until totally creamy, dreamy, and smooth. Taste your dressing for seasoning. It’s going to be carrying most of the flavor, so don’t be afraid to punch it up if you’d like.
When your potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-sized pieces (we like to aim for about 1-inch) and place into the mixing bowl with your other veggies and herbs. Add all of the dressing, give it a good stir, and taste again for seasoning.
Chill for about an hour before serving (if you can wait, that is, we’ve eaten our fair share of warm, just-made potato salad).
This recipe makes about eight cups and will do just fine if packed in a cooler for a few hours. If stored in the fridge, it keeps for about five days, but we’re confident it won’t be around that long.
Substitutions and variations
Out of something or just can’t imagine potato salad without pickles? Don’t hesitate to make this recipe your own. It’s super forgiving and fun to play around with!
Red potatoes: you can use russet or gold potatoes, but the texture will be different.
Celery: use any firm, crunchy veggie you like. Try carrots, radishes, jicama, or bell peppers.
Parsley and dill: prefer other herbs? Throw them in! Some will probably be tastier than others, but exploring is half the fun.
Cashews: go nut-free by subbing with an equal amount of soaked sunflower seeds. Or go lower fat by subbing half the amount called for with silken tofu or cooked white beans.
Apple cider vinegar: lemon works quite well as a direct substitute.
Mix it up: try adding chopped pickles, olives, raisins (if you get down like that), or anything else that tickles your fancy. Go super heavy on the herbs or super light on the onion. This is your potato salad, after all.
- 3 pounds unpeeled red potatoes, washed and cut into quarters (about 6 large potatoes / 1.4 kg)
- 1 cup celery, chopped (100 g)
- 1 cup onion, diced (any variety / 160 g)
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped (any variety / 10 g)
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped (1 g)
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 10 minutes (130 g)
- 2 tablespoons dried dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 10 minutes (about 2 large dates, we like Medjool / 25 g)
- 1 cup water (235 ml)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (20 g)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole (6 g)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Add the quartered potatoes to a large pot and cover them completely with water by 1 or 2 inches. Place a lid on the pot at an angle and simmer over medium heat for 20–25 minutes until tender, or until you can pierce them with a fork.
- Drain the potatoes and set them aside to cool.
- Make the dressing by draining the cashews and dates (discard the soaking water) and placing them into the blender, along with the new water, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, yellow mustard, garlic, and salt. Blend until totally creamy and smooth, about 1–2 minutes. Set aside for now.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-sized pieces and place them into a large mixing bowl along with the celery, onion, parsley, dill, and all of the dressing from the blender.
- Gently stir until everything is combined. Taste for seasoning. Chill for at least an hour before serving.
This Classic Plant Based Potato Salad has an uncanny ability to make even the staunchest mayo-lover reconsider their position. Please use this power responsibly.
Molly, our co-founder and creator of this recipe, originally featured this in her Ode to My Dad with Congestive Heart Failure blog post. It’s a story that will warm your heart. Just don’t forget to put your potato salad in the fridge before reading it. Oh, you already ate it? That’s okay, we completely understand.
Have you impressed someone with this recipe? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
May your dressing always be dreamy.
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This recipe has been sitting open in my browser for weeks so I wouldn’t lose it, but Independence Day is coming. So I did a trial run before I lay out my vegan heart on the family picnic table next week. Everybody was right. This rocks! And the friend with her partner in the hospital is going to benefit from it tonight. Thanks, Molly!
So glad you like it. It’s pretty damn good – I must say.
Lay that vegan heart on that table and be proud!
(awesome name, btw)
Holy shit this is delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!
You are most welcome!
Glad you like it, Jennifer.
Does your dad omit the salt in this recipe?
He doesn’t omit it completely, no.
That is good to hear. I have been trying to follow dr Fuhrman’s meal plans but struggle with the zero added sodium. I have very low bp…my husband needs to watch his salt to keep his down.
This sounds delicious! Any way to replace the cashews if you are allergic to nuts?
Hi Tracy, you can sub sunflower seeds for the cashews but it will alter the taste a bit.
Team Dirty Girl
I’m relatively new to this group (found you via FaceBook) and I keep hearing folks RAVE about this potato salad. Being from Texas and the fact that we’re coming in to summer means a lot of backyard parties where this would be a HUGE hit! I found the post a few weeks ago and I admit that I didn’t scroll all the way down to the bottom. Came back today to check the ingredients to make sure I have everything on hand and this time….ventured all the way to the bottom.
I have to say…your final comment about connecting with your dad even if he’s not here….hit me right in the feels…at just the right time.
I lost my dad 8 years ago on May 26. I miss him terribly. And he LOVED potato salad. So I’m going to make this recipe and remember my dad.
Thank you so much for making this journey so personal and heartfelt.
Holy SHIT this is DELICIOUS!!! I was shocked at how I could not stop eating the sauce after I made it. Once combined with the potatoes I literally imagined myself bathing in the stuff (perhaps I’ve watched a bit too much Good Mythical Morning…) Anyway, I’m pretty damn sure you are some kind of magician or sorceress!
Also I love you and all of your posts. I’m super fan-girling over here!
LMAO! Thank you Morgan! There is sorcery that goes on in the dirty kitchen. This is a particular favorite of our private facebook group! Goes great with the carrot dogss!!!
How long would you suggest cooking the potatoes in an Instant Pot?
Roberta – check out this post about potatoes in the IP
I see the suggestion to sub cashews for sunflower seeds in the event of a nut allergy however, I am also allergic to sunflower seeds. Any more suggestions?
Dairy, nut, sunflower seed, tomato
Jenifer, in just about any recipe that contains nuts you can sub in white beans or firm tofu. For this recipe I would recommend the tofu- just get out as much water as possible.
I don’t think I’ve ever commented on this recipe even though I make it ALL THE TIME. This is hands down the best potato salad I’ve ever had. ????
[…] Classic Plant-Based Potato Salad […]
So, I am sitting here scrolling through recipes and this one makes me drool. I am an OLD southern gal who start the WFPB eating plan 4 weeks ago. So far, so good, but I would love to add to my recipes and this one looks awesome. Just made your date, walnut, oat things (don’t remember the name). They are sitting in the fridge. Tomorrow, potato salad. I love your web site and bought the food plan. Wish I could go to Hawaii, but not this year. Thanks for being there. Love your blog, too.
I love this story and I love this recipe… and I love your style, Molly!
I’d come seeking the split pea soup recipe, fell down the delightful CFDG rabbit hole, and stumbled onto this heartbreakingly sweet story about your dad. (My mom is long dead, but my dad and I are close; thankfully, he’s a long-time veg head/avid exerciser and is healthy as a horse. But I know every day with him is a gift, and your ode hit home.) Anyway! After seeing this fabulous recipe, I ended up spontaneously making potato salad for lunch, and then had to substitute for the potato in our split pea soup dinner, ’cause I’d used them all in the salad! (I figured it was a good problem to have.) I like this potato salad so much, I’m going to bring it to my next work potluck!
All that to say: Thank you for the authentic, hilarious, and uplifting stories and healthy, kickass recipes!!
What a blessing to have a healthy dad!
Give him a high five for me!
So glad you enjoyed the recipe and the post.
Amazing potato salad! I was a little weary of how sweet it would be with dates added, but this is a PERFECT balance of flavors and a safe choice for a potluck that any diet choice would enjoy.
I have made this recipe a couple of times and am always amazed at how delicious it is!!! I have friends coming over from Vermont tomorrow and we are having carrot dogs with potato salad for lunch. Can’t wait!!! Oh by the way, I was licking the vitamix container after making the sauce and having added it to the potato mix! So freaking finger licking good!!!!
Hi! I’m excited for the recipe. This pulled at my heartstrings because my dad died in March of congestive heart failure CHF, from a massive heart attack, at 67 years old. He knew he likely dying of CHF but ate the same unhealthy diet & drank heavily until the end. Sadly I deleted all of my voicemails two weeks before his death. I had my brother send me a few of his but they’re not the same. He left behind three children and his third wife he had just married six months prior. I will think of both of our dad’s everytime I eat this potato salad! Thank you for sharing about your dad. It helped me to feel connected to my dad as I anticipate my first father’s day without him.
I can’t have onion, garlic and wheat. What would be good substitutes for this salad? Thanks! I enjoyed reading your beautiful story.
Thanks for stopping by with the note for Molly! You won’t have to worry about wheat in this salad. It’s possible to just leave the onions and garlic out altogether and it will still turn out fine. Some people recommend hing, or asafoetida, as a substitute for onion and garlic. I’ve never tried it though. I’m thinking chopped raw fennel would work nicely in place of the onion – it has good flavor. And, for the dressing, if you want to add another dimension, ginger (or ginger powder) is one of my favorites to add to recipes. ~Karen
Hi team. My name is Renita. Potato salad sounds good. I am skeptical of the dates. I added maple syrup in a ranch dressing recipe and didn’t like the sweet i prefer savory so.my question is if i put no or less dates will it affect the salad texture negatively?
Thanks for stopping by! You can leave the dates out if you like and the texture should be fine. However two dates is not much sweetness and balances the vinegar so you might be surprised at this recipe. Let us know what you think if you try it with or without the dates. ~Karen
Not sure if I have commented on this yet or not… but your potato salad recipe is “da bomb”! I have tried several recipes and I have thrown all other recipes out.. this is now my GO-TO recipe… it is perfect and so yummy!! I do add a bit more mustard, we like mustard-y dressing… thank you for sharing this recipe with us!
Hi Karen, Thanks for dropping this note that you love Molly’s potato salad! And, you’ve inspired me to make a batch – it’s been awhile. ~Karen
Can you use fresh dates in this recipe? If so, do you still need to soak them? Thanks!
Hi Debra, Sure! Fresh dates would work just fine. As long as they are soft they’ll blend up just fine. Most dried dates do have a bit of softness to them but they benefit from a quick soak when they will be blended like in this recipe. ~Karen
This recipe is to die for!!! I’m a mayo addict and it’s one of the hardest things to give up WFPB. I’ve been looking for a good potato salad recipe and , girl, I’ve found it!!! How delicious. I’ll be using the sauce as mayo too! I doubled the recipe but added great northern beans and aquafaba in place of the water!! 10/10
Hello Team Dirty! I am making this potato salad for a family gathering. My nephew has a condition in which fructose goes haywire in his body (fructose malabsorption). I can alter the ingredients to suit his needs with the exception of the dates. Is their purpose for sweetening the dressing? Or thickening? I know what to substitute for sweetening but not thickening. I would love your input! Thank you, Alyson
p.s. I read the 7/4/19 exchange above about dates and am making the assumption that dates are the sweetener; just wanting to verify.
I’ve made this 2x. I used 1/2 cashews, half beans one time and 3/4 tofu, 1/4 white beans the other time. Use less water if not using cashews. So delicious!
LOVE LOVE LOVE this potato salad! Have made it several times for various “diets”. Has always been a huge hit. Will be making again for a family reunion in a couple of weeks. Can hardly wait!
Woohoo! It is one of the most-loved recipes of all time here in the Dirty verse. Thanks for your review! 🥔
One of the best potato salad recipes I’ve ever tried! Nice to find an alternative to vegan mayo.