Today we have a special guest post from Laura Gesin. Laura is another Jersey girl and has a blog where she shares her adventures as a mother, daughter, teacher, friend and vegan. She also builds and designs websites. Her twitter id is @lgesin. Since Fourth of July weekend is right around the corner and Laura is a vegan cook, she has shared some tips for this weekend as well as her vegan potato salad recipe. Thank you, Laura!
Holiday parties can be difficult when vegans are on the guest list. Not for vegans – we’re quite adept at figuring out unintentional vegan offerings, and if nothing else, there’s always a tossed salad. However, hosts tend to worry about what we will eat when they know we’re coming which makes the party less enjoyable for everyone.
With the Fourth of July fast approaching, I thought I’d provide some pointers for Americans hoping to invite a vegan or two to the BBQ. These suggestions are made with the person creating the menu (and probably cooking the dishes) in mind rather than the vegans since vegan creativity in the kitchen is a challenging skill to master. (Trust me, if you’ve seen some of the creations I’ve tried…)
First up, potato salad. When I was a kid, my grandmother’s potato salad just screamed summer BBQ. Heavy on the Miracle Whip, dense with hard boiled eggs, flavored with homemade relish, and sprinkled with paprika – she put paprika on just about every casserole hot or cold. You could just hear the arteries of the great aunts and uncles hardening when you walked by the groaning food tables.
I grew up with that version, lightened it a bit while living in Southern California in the ‘80s, gave it up entirely when I first “went vegan”, but last summer decided to tackle this paragon of summer.
Yes, that is a classic Corningware dish and while not required, it’s at least a nod to Grandma’s traditional presentation. Below you’ll find the recipe – I’ve found it best to make this the night before it’s served.
Vegan Potato Salad
3-4 lbs potatoes (I use yukon gold so they give the salad a yellow color to mimic the eggs in traditional potato salad)
1 cucumber, diced
1 cup vegan “mayo” (Nasoya is my favorite)
1/4 cup dijon mustard – if you can get a mustard with dill in it, even better!
1/4 cup vinegar (I like my potato salad tart; if you don’t, leave this out)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dried dill (or more if your mustard doesn’t contain dill)
1 teaspoon tumeric
1-2 teaspoons salt to taste
1-2 teaspoons pepper to taste
2 carrots peeled and shredded
Cube the potatoes so they are approximately 1/2″ cubes – vary them a bit though because smaller ones will “mush” and thicken the mayo mixture when it’s assembled. Place them in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes – cooked but firm or they will disintegrate when you make the salad! Rinse with cold water in a colander and let sit while you make the mayo mixture. Mix all of the ingredients together EXCEPT cucumber and carrots. Season to taste; that’s the joy of cooking, finding what mix of seasonings works for you. I tend to like more rather than less, so this recipe starts with the minimum. You can add if you like a spicier salad.
Stir in the cucumber with a wooden spoon then add the potatoes. Once completely mixed, add all but a handful of the shredded carrots. Refrigerate for at least an hour; it will still be lukewarm at this point but quite good. For a truly party worthy potato salad, refrigerate overnite. Garnish with the remaining shredded carrots to serve.
For those hosts and hostesses who want to provide a “meat alternative”, I have two suggestions for you. First, if your grilling burgers, definitely get a few frozen vegan burgers. Don’t assume all veggie burgers are vegan; be safe and buy the ones specifically labeled that way. Many veggie burgers contain eggs and / or milk. My favorite is Morningstar Farms Vegan Grillers but Boca makes a decent version too. Second, if you’re the cook who believes it isn’t a decent meal without some meat, try this “chicken” salad using Morningstar Farms Chik’n Strips.
Cook chik’n strips as directed on the package. Meanwhile, make a tossed salad with a variety of greens, diced yellow peppers, diced carrots, and chopped sun dried tomatoes (not the ones in oil, the dry ones). Dice the cooked chik’n strips and place on top of the salad. Sprinkle with craisins and toasted pine nuts. Dressing made of 1 part olive oil, 3 parts balsamic vinegar and a dash of lemon juice is perfect with this salad!
Be adventurous this summer – invite a vegan or two to the BBQ and try some delicious vegan fare yourself!