Potato Salad with Vegan Mayo and The Art of Modification

Growing up, my maternal grandmother’s potato salad was one of the sides I would look forward to the most at family barbecues. It was delicious and had that wholesome, homemade taste you can’t find in a restaurant. Trader Joe’s packaged potato salad comes pretty damn close and after grabbing it a couple of times for various weekend getaways and camping trips, I decided I wanted to try and make my own.

My approach is to usually look up a recipe (I like allrecipes.com) to use as a base and also to modify it however I like. My nonna, my dad’s mother, taught me the art of modification as a child. We were making pasta or noodles or something one afternoon when I reached for the measuring cup. She slapped my hand so hard, the plastic cup crashed to the counter. She informed me that cooking is a feeling, not a calculated measurement. Whatever I feel is what or how much should be added and above all, “use your hands!

This was my approach when I made potato salad. I used about six red potatoes, chopped, and boiled for about ten minutes. While the potatoes were boiling, I chopped up one cup of yellow onions, one cup of celery, some fennel, half a jalapeño, and some chives. I added all of that to my food processor along with my favorite spicy brown mustard, crushed garlic, and vegan mayo from Trader Joe’s. I was so excited to see vegan mayo on the shelf, and even more excited when I opened it and it smelled and tasted just like regular mayonnaise!

Ingredients for Potato Salad
Chopped onion, celery, chives, fennel, jalapeño and Trader Joe’s spicy brown mustard, crushed garlic, and vegan mayo

After the potatoes were done boiling, I drained the water to let them cool while I boiled three large eggs. Once the water begins boiling, I time it for about seven minutes. This is the time for the consistency I find I like in my hardboiled eggs – on the softer side. This particular potato salad obviously isn’t vegan as I used eggs but I’m not vegan. I just appreciate the lifestyle. When I can happily avoid using dairy in my meals, I go for it hence, the mayo-substitute.

“Use your hands!”

Once everything was ready, I added it together in a metal mixing bowl. I added Trader Joe’s twenty-one seasoning salute, sea salt, and pepper, being sure to mix everything together thoroughly. I added a bit more vegan mayo, but this is really up to the preparer. It all depends on the consistency of potato salad that you prefer.

One Yummy Potato Salad

In the end, I had a yummy side dish that didn’t resemble most other potato salads. This was probably due to leaving the potato skins on and using brown mustard instead of regular. My nonna’s method of feeling worked in the ingredients department. I especially liked my addition of fennel. Next time, I intend on using more spice, perhaps some pepperoncini, and a bit of apple cider vinegar. Happy potato salad making – don’t forget to use your hands!

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