For my entire life, my mother has made what she called “Helen’s Potato Salad.” It was called “Helen’s” because she got it from her sister Helen. Aunt Helen calls it someone else’s potato salad, after the woman she got the recipe from. I have no idea where the recipe originated, or whose name really should be in front of it. So I’ve opted to call it Marinated Potato Salad since the biggest thing that makes this different from most creamy potato salads is the fact that it’s marinated in a delicious oil and vinegar mixture, like German potato salads are.
At any rate, this is basically the only potato salad I’ll eat anymore. Show me a goopy, mayonnaisey potato salad and I’ll gag a little, but this is perfect. Tangy and moist, with just a hint of creaminess from the smallest amount of mayonnaise. It’s, frankly, the perfect potato salad. At least in my world.
I always start with red potatoes. I don’t use gold or any other kind, because they’re more mealy. I like the waxiness of the red potatoes – I think they taste better, have a better texture, and hold up better. But, you can use whatever you want. Just put some potatoes in a pot and cover with water and set to boil. Cook them until they’re tender but not soft – about 10 minutes. You don’t want them to turn to mush like mashed potatoes, but you want them to be soft enough to eat!
While those are cooking, mix together the marinade. It’s olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dill, pepper, salt, and honey. The original recipe called for sugar, and the sweetness really did add a lot to the recipe which is why I sub in honey instead of leaving it out. If you want, though, you can leave out the honey and it will still taste fine!
When the potatoes are done, drain them and let them cool just until you’re able to handle them. You want them to still be warm. Peel off the skin – it should come right off with your fingers – and cut the potatoes into slices. Lay them in a 9×13 dish, add in chopped onion, and pour on the marinade. Mix it all up!
The potatoes NEED to be warm for this to really soak in the marinade. I’ve done this before with cooled potatoes and it didn’t taste nearly as good, so that part’s important! Cover it and put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. After it’s done marinating, hard boil a few eggs, and chop them up. Add them to the potatoes and stir them in. If you want, you can stop right here! Sprinkle some parsley on top and you’ve got a nice vinegary mayonnaise-free potato salad.
I like mine to just be a LITTLE creamy – so I add in a couple dollops of mayonnaise.
Now, mayonnaise is a problem on this diet. It all has bad oils and sugar. It’s apparently not hard to make your own, though, and I’ve come across several recipes online. Use a mild-tasting olive oil, leave out the sugar, and you’re in business. However, it only stays good for a couple weeks, and I very rarely use mayo. So it’s not worth it to me to make just the tiny amount of mayo I need for a recipe like this. This is the mayonnaise I’ve been using, on the rare times that I do. It is the ONLY one I’ve found that does not have sugar, and is the only one I would use if I wasn’t making my own.
It does have soybean oil, but since it’s organic (and under the “Trader Joe’s” label) I at least know that it’s non-GMO soybean oil. Most soybeans are GMO, so this is important. It’s also expeller pressed, which is better. The only other issue, then, is the Omega 6 fatty acids in the oil and the fact that soybeans have some negative health implications. Since I don’t eat soy in any other form and rarely eat vegetable oils, though, I think the small amount I use in this recipe is okay. But if you’re someone who likes to eat mayonnaise a lot, I’d say you should get used to making your own. If I ate it more, I would, and the only reason I don’t is that I know it’ll go bad before I can use it all up!
So, if you’re using the mayo – whether homemade or the TJs version – plop a couple spoonfuls on top and mix it in. It’ll make everything hold together and be just slightly creamy. Garnish with parsley, and that’s it!
- 2½ lb potatoes
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp honey (leave out if sensitive to all sweeteners)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp dill
- 1 small chopped red or sweet onion
- 3 hard-boiled eggs
- ½ cup mayonnaise (optional)
- 2 tsp fresh parsley
- Boil the potatoes until tender, but not mushy, about 10 minutes.
- While still warm, remove the skins from the potatoes and slice them into flat pieces. Layer the potatoes in a large flat casserole dish.
- Combine the vinegar, oil, honey, salt, pepper, and dill and whisk together. Pour over the potatoes and gently stir to coat the potatoes completely.
- Add in the onion and gently stir to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, the longer the better to soak in all the marinade.
- Chop up the hard-boiled eggs and add to the potatoes
- Dollop the mayonnaise on top of the potatoes and gently fold in. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
(Shared on Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday)