In order to make a good vegan German potato salad, you need to focus on the two main components: potatoes and vinaigrette.
The potatoes you use should not be starchy russets. Russet potatoes are good for baking and for mashing but do not belong in a proper potato salad (no matter what your mother or grandmother might say.) You want a small, hard boiIing potato such as a new potato or a Yukon Gold. I prefer Yukon Gold.
Now for the vinaigrette. German potato salad is famous for its bacon-flavored dressing. Bacon gives it a lot of flavor. I think you can still make a bold, flavorful vinaigrette without the bacon.
To do so, I prefer to use red onions rather than white or yellow. Avoid sweet onions such as Wala-Wala. Although they are tasty onions, you need an onion that holds up to the other flavors in the salad. The trick to a vegetarian vinaigrette is to sauté the onions until they brown but do not caramelize. Add a tangy apple cider vinegar and a little ground mustard and when you sample the vinaigrette you’ll smile and say, “Tasty.”
Even though my vinaigrette dressing is sans bacon it is warm, wonderful, and most of all flavorful.
1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (scrubbed and peeled)
2 medium red onions (diced)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh dill (chopped for garnish)
Boil the whole potatoes (do not slice) for 20 minutes until almost done. Remove the potatoes from the water and allow them to cool on a kitchen towel for a minimum of 2 hours at room temp. When they are cool, cut them into ¼-inch slices. Put sliced potatoes into a serving bowl and set aside.
Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onions begin to soften. Add the vinegar, broth, and mustard. Stir until dissolved. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove mixture from stove and pour over the sliced potatoes. Cover and let rest at room temp for about 2 hours.
Just before serving, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small pan until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little. Pour it over the potatoes and gently mix it in. Garnish with fresh dill and serve immediately.