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.
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.