Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vegan Potato Salad - A Healthier Way To Prepare America's Favorite Vegetable

Start with thin skinned, red or yellow new potatoes.

Drain "small diced" potatoes after boiling a short time.

For a creamier texture, gently stir in half a diced avocado.

Potatoes Have a Bad Reputation
Most people love this comfort food. In fact, it is the highest produced vegetable in the world! However, there is a lot of guilt involved with its consumption, mostly because it is often eaten fried as chips or french fries or as a butter, cheese and sour cream laden baked potato. But actually, the potato is a pretty healthful food, high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. One large potato provides over 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin C and 1/3 of your fiber needs. Potatoes are also low in calories, fat free and contain phytonutrients that provide protection against heart disease and cancer.

A Recipe with a Mediterranean Touch
Being raised in an Italian home, I didn't grow up on the typical American diet. I didn't even know potato salad could be made with mayonnaise and eggs until I moved to Texas to attend college. My dad always made potato salad with a simple lemon and oil dressing and some fresh parsley. Instead of mayonnaise and eggs that make this popular salad heavy and high in cholesterol, the lemon makes the salad taste light and fresh. In today's recipe, I add some inflammation reducing, cancer fighting turmeric which gives the potato salad the color of an egg potato salad without the egg. If you miss the creamy texture from mayonnaise, add the avocado. Besides the creamy texture, you'll get a good dose of fiber, vitamin K and folate, and of course the delicious flavor of avocado!

The Secret to a Good Potato Salad
The hardest thing about making potato salad is getting just the right texture to the potatoes. I've tried cooking the entire potato and then dicing it but by the time the potato is cooked throughout, the outside of the potato is too soft. Also, you lose a lot of vitamin C with excess cooking. Dicing before cooking is also risky if you cook it too long, especially if you start with big, starchy russet potatoes. To get a nice, firm, potato:
* Start with red or yukon gold, thin-skinned potatoes
* Dice them very small and leave on the skin
* Cook in a large pot (like a 5 quart Dutch oven), so the potatoes are spread out, and just barely cover them with salted water.
* Boil them for a short time - this will depend on how small you dice them but taste them after 5 minutes. I usually boil them for about 6 minutes or I shut them off at 5 minutes and let them sit in the pot for another few minutes until they are just fork tender.
* Drain - no need to rinse.


Vegan Potato Salad
[makes 6 servings]
4 cups small diced new potatoes with skins
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 large stalks celery, finely diced (1 cup)
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 medium avocado, diced (optional)
For the dressing
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a 5 quart Dutch oven, add water to just cover the potatoes and stir in salt. Bring to boil and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until they are just "fork tender". Taste after 5 minutes and DO NOT overcook. Drain and let sit until they cool a bit.
To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil and turmeric and blend well with a fork. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the drained potatoes, celery and red onion. Mix in the dressing and gently stir in the avocado and parsley. Add additional salt if needed and top with freshly ground black pepper.

Per serving without avocado: 123.2 calories, 4.7 g fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.8 g protein, 20.2 g carbohydrates and 3.0 g of fiber.

Per serving with avocado: 142.2 calories, 6.4 g fat, 0.9 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 3.1 g protein, 21.2 g carbohydrates and 3.8 g of fiber.


Anonymous said...

Lovely! I just made this for a day at the lake tomorrow and the turmeric is a wonderful addition. A few of the tiniest potatoes did overcook, but they just mashed up when I was stirring and made the whole thing wonderfully creamy. Looking forward to having more than a couple of spoonfuls tomorrow!

lvngwell said...

Wonderful! I was looking for something that used potato avocado and sauerkraut so this is a keeper! I linked to it on my blog - as well as to your home page and encouraged everyone to come on over and check you out! LOVE your blog!

Biki Honko said...

This sounds totally yummy! The very best way to cook potatoes for salads is to steam them. In a bamboo steamer it takes about 11-14 minutes for two trays to be done, depending on how large they are diced.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Good idea Gill. Thanks!