Sunday, November 11, 2012

Warm German Potato Salad

Warm potato salad might seem like an odd concept if you're used to cold, mayo-based potato salad.  While I certainly ate my share of the latter before I was vegan, I will always have a special place in my stomach for Warm German Potato Salad--something I grew up eating with the Pennsylvania German (Dutch) side of my family.  The traditional version of this dish is made with bacon, while a vinegar base stands in for mayo by design.  

A pan of warm potato salad.

Here's a recipe for a vegan version of this tasty side dish.  

Warm German Potato Salad
  • 4 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 5 slices mock bacon strips
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard
  • 1 small bunch scallions, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, place the potatoes in a saucepan or pot and add just enough water to cover them.  Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until tender (around 15 minutes, depending on how big your cubes are).  Drain the potatoes, cover, and set aside.  

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the bacon strips until crispy (follow the package instructions).  Then chop or crumble the bacon into small pieces and set aside. 

Next, with the heat on medium, whisk the sugar, flour, water, vinegar, and mustard into the oil in the skillet. Continue whisking for another minute or so until the sauce thickens.  Add the potatoes, bacon, and scallions to the pan and stir to coat the potatoes well.  Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.

German potato salad has a deliciously sweet, tangy, mustard-y flavor.  Unfortunately, ours ended up a bit under-dressed (I attribute this to the fact that our potatoes were pretty giant), meaning the flavors were a bit too subtle.  I adjusted the recipe above to allow for a bit more vinegar dressing on the potato salad, but feel free to add more if needed.  I also think the potato salad tasted better when served immediately rather than when reheated as leftovers.     
You probably have many of these ingredients in your pantry or fridge already.  Our usual grocery store carries vegan bacon strips, but I imagine it might be more difficult to find in some other locations. 
  Ease of Preparation:     
This is a pretty straightforward recipe, and you can definitely multitask while the potatoes are boiling in order to save time.
Non-vegan friendliness:           
Since German potato salad is usually vinegar-based, anyway, there isn't much occasion for comparison between this dish and its non-vegan version--except for the vegan bacon.  The mock bacon's bold, bacony flavor adds to the dish, although the texture is a bit off.  I'm not sure I'd eat a slice of mock bacon for breakfast, but it gets the job done as part of the potato salad. 

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