Potato Salad is probably the dish you live and breath when you grow up in South Germany. We Germans are associated with the golden starchy vegetable for a good reason though. Round about 60-65 kg (~140 pounds) of potatoes the average German eats per year. As every region has their special potato dish I think every family might have their go-to potato salad recipe.
And I am going to share mine with you today.
While in the North most potato salad recipes usually contain mayonnaise, we in the South tend to keep things purer and make the potato the shining star of our salads. To each their own but if you ask me, mayonnaise in a potato salad should considered crime.
I am probably heavily biased! And we from the South tend to be a bit snobbish about our traditions.
To me, Potato Salad is a real comfort food. Therefore I always LOVED potato salad. Yet it definitely is one of the healthier kind. It is traditionally served as a side with Schnitzel, sausages such as bratwurst or other meat and hence it is especially popular as a side for grilling. Some traditional recipes contain bone broth or meat broth. Though to keep this recipe suitable for vegetarians or even vegans we will use vegetable stock instead.
Make your non-meat-eating friends happy and bring this Potato Salad to your next food share or BBQ.
The beauty of this dish is that while most salads tend to taste best when completely fresh, the Potato Salad only gets better the longer it marinates. This salad is creamy but light, earthy but with a fresh tart touch. Because of the cut of the potatoes, they will keep their form and won’t mash together completely. Something that happens when you cut the potato too small or use the wrong kind of potato.
Here in Bavaria people often add cucumber to their Potato Salads but I use lettuce which makes it about 100 times better. I am not a big cucumber fan but you can totally sub the lettuce for very thinly sliced cucumber. Just add it to the potatoes and dressing right from the start to let it marinate.
The recipe is completely versatile. Popular add-ins in South Germany are onions (which we will use in this recipe), roasted pork belly, garlic, pickles, and chives.
I have seen and eaten Potato Salads with other ingredients as well. Sliced tomato, sundried tomato, roasted asparagus, olives or artichokes. It tasted delicious I just wouldn’t label these ingredients as ‘traditional’ though.
BONUS TIP for everyone who wants to be a bit fancier: Garnish the Potato Salad with some pumpkin seed oil and sprinkle some roasted pumpkin seeds on top. We ate this potato salad version in Austria a couple of times and it’s magically delicious! Hence it is a must-try variation in my eyes!
- 2,5 pound (1,2 kg) waxy potatoes*, boiled in the skin
- 1 onion, medium sized
- 1 cup strong vegetable stock**
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup oil (canola, sunflower seed or olive)
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt + more to taste
- Peel and slice the potatoes and set aside in a big bowl
- Give the vegetable stock, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and onion to a food processor and mix until you have a smooth dressing. As an alternative you can also cut the onion in pieces and mix everything else together using a fork
- Add the dressing to the potatos, stir through and set aside for 1-2 hours. Mix through occasionally and add salt if desired
- Right before serving add the lettuce
- First we have to peel the potatoes and cut them into the desired shape. The smaller you cut the potatoes the mushier the salad will get. I prefer to keep the potato at least a little firm so I aim to keep the pieces a little bigger. Halving and then slicing the potato is ideal. Give the potatoes in a big bowl and set aside.
- Now we have to decide whether you want onion pieces or want to make the onion part of the dressing. Onion pieces add a little more crunch to the salad but the onion taste will also be a bit sharper. If we go with pieces, slice the onion in the desired size and add to the potatos. If we make it part of the dressing just cut the onion in chunks and add at the next step.
- Add the vegetable stock, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and as the case maybe the onion to a food processor and process until you have a smooth dressing. If you want the onion in pieces you can as well mix the ingredients for the dressing with a fory as well.
- Give the dressing to the potatoes and stir through. Set aside for about 1 to 2 hours and stir through occasionally. If necessary add more salt.
- Right before serving salt again if necessary and mix in the lettuce
- * the potatoes MUST be waxy or you'll end up with a pulp
- ** I make my vegetable stock using a stock cube. To get a strong vegetable stock I half the suggested water. So when 1 stock cube is suggested to be dissolved in 2 cups of water I'll dissolve 1 stock cube in 1 cup of water instead
- *** I used a mix of lamb's lettuce and baby red Swiss chard
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