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One potato, two potato, three potato, four-- Picnics, barbecues, parties, and potato salad are a foursome that are practically married and have joined celebrations and get-togethers for centuries. In a 1597 writing 16th century British horticulturist John Gerrard explains that some people preferred their boiled potatoes sopped in wine, while others relished them boiled with prunes. He mentions another potato salad enhancement that has survived the ages, one that is doused with oil, vinegar, and salt. Popular today is the mayonnaise dressing enriched with a myriad of herbs and spices.

Any way we examine the favorite potato salad issue, clearly, no single recipe pleases everyone. But would we leave potato salad lovers in the lurch to wander off in search of the perfect potato combination? Never! Here the potato salad fancier can wallow in spud heaven with five uniquely different recipes that are bound to reign in those wandering seekers.

If you've never enjoyed the salad that features sweet potatoes, you're in for a treat with the Sunny Sweet Potato Salad or the Sweet Potato Waldorf. Their sweetness comes to the foreground and balances divinely with the savory flavorings. The Perfect Purple Potato Salad hits the mark for the oil and vinegar group, while those who love a smoky flavor can spoon up some of Aunt Nettie's Bacon Potato Salad made with tempeh bacon. The mayo lovers will find Dad's Favorite Potato Salad ideal with its crunchy veggies and diced soy-based Canadian bacon

For many families, sweet potatoes only appear on the Thanksgiving table in a variety of casserole creations. But sweet potatoes lend such enchanting flavor to a potato salad that usually features tangy and savory seasonings. The ingredients are few, the recipe simple. Together they bloom into a symphony to savor.

Sweet Potato Salad

    1 1/2 lbs. (675 g) yellow sweet potatoes

    1 large or 2 medium broccoli crowns

    2 C. (480 ml) cooked beans, drained (pinto, kidney, or white)

    1 large tomato, chopped
    1/4 C. (60 ml) chopped fresh cilantro
    2 T. extra virgin olive oil
    2 to 3 T. lemon juice
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Pinch or two of cayenne pepper (optional)

  1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut them into slices 3/4-inch (1.5 cm) thick. Place them in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan with about 1/2-inch (1 cm) of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and steam them until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cut them into bite-size pieces and put them into a large bowl.
  2. Cut broccoli into florets and steam in a separate saucepan until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer them to the bowl with the sweet potatoes.
  3. Add the beans along with the chopped tomato, cilantro, olive oil, and lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. If desired, add a touch of spice with a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

The mere mention of potato salad conjures images of an old-fashioned deli style medley of ingredients. Here a new version emerges with the addition of sweet potatoes, apples, and a tasty vegan mayonnaise. Destined to become a new favorite, this hearty potato salad offers a delightful complexity of flavors.



    2 lbs. (1 kilo) unpeeled white potatoes
    1 1/2 lbs. (675g) peeled sweet potatoes, either yellow or orange
    1 t. salt, divided

    1 large red bell pepper, diced
    1 large green bell pepper, diced
    1 C. (240 ml) diced sweet onions
    1 large apple, diced
    3/4 C. (180 ml) Vegenaise *
    1 6-oz. (170g) package Yves Canadian Veggie Bacon, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) dice **
    2 T. rice vinegar
    1 t. salt
    Freshly ground black pepper

    1 small carrot, shredded
    2 sprigs of fresh basil

  1. Cut the white potatoes into bite-size chunks and put them into a 3-quart (3 liter) saucepan. Add enough water to just cover potatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, reduce heat slightly, and cook about 8 minutes. Test for doneness with a fork. Drain off water and run cold water over potatoes to cool them. Drain well, and put them into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes into bite-size chunks and cook them separately in a 2 or 3-quart (2 or 3 liter) saucepan with the other 1/2 teaspoon salt. Follow the same procedure as with white potatoes. Cook them for only 6 to 8 minutes, then drain and add to mixing bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and gently mix with a wooden spoon to distribute seasoning evenly.
  4. Garnish with a light sprinkle of paprika. Spoon the shredded carrots around the the edge of the bowl and place basil sprigs on either side. Serve at room temperature or chill. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
*Vegenaise is vegan mayonnaise and contains no eggs or dairy products.
** Yves Canadian Veggie Bacon is available in natural food markets such as Whole Foods Market or Wild Oats.

Both country and city folk alike will discover how surprisingly similar in flavor the plant- based imitation bacon is to the real thing in this down-home version of potato salad. And those friendly little chunks of veggie bacon deliver phenomenal taste that gives the dish some true countrified backbone.


    2 to 3 pounds (1 to 1.5 kilos) potatoes, scrubbed, cut into bite-size pieces
    1 pound (450 g) sweet potatoes, peeled
    2 to 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
    1/2 t. salt

    4 to 5 stalks celery, diced
    1 small sweet onion, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1/3 C. (80 ml) Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
    1/2 C. (120 ml) Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise)
    1 T. red wine vinegar

    1 6-oz. (170 g) pkg. Fakin' Bacon by Lightlife *
    Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, and salt in a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan. Fill with water to cover. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to medium and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, assemble the celery, onion, bell pepper, Brazil nuts, Vegenaise, and vinegar in a large bowl. When potatoes are cooked, drain them into a colander and run cold water over them to cool. Drain completely and transfer them to the bowl with the vegetables.
  3. Cut the "bacon" strips in half and place them in a dry, nonstick skillet. Cook them over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Turn them and cook on the other side until browned. Cut them into 1-inch lengths and add to the potato salad.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and toss well to blend seasonings. Serves 6.

* Lightlife Fakin' Bacon is available in natural food markets such as Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats.

An old-fashioned favorite, potato salad changes its character and comes to the party wearing a bright purple outfit. Purple potatoes are exceptional because of their creamy consistency and delicate sweetness that makes them stand apart. The salad looks great, tastes great, and wins devotees every time.


    1 1/2 to 2 lbs. (675 g to 1 kilo) Peruvian purple potatoes, cut into bite size chunks*

    2 T. extra virgin olive oil
    2 T. apple cider vinegar

    1 C. (240 ml) chopped celery
    2/3 C. (160 ml) raw pistachios
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 C. (120 ml) diced Japanese or English cucumber
    1/2 C. (120 ml) diced sweet onion
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    2 T. extra virgin olive oil
    2 T. lemon juice
    1 T. minced Anaheim chile or Jalapeno
    1 T. each fresh chives, thyme, parsley, and oregano, finely minced
    1/2 t. salt or to taste

  1. Put the potato chunks into a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan with enough water to cover and a pinch or two of salt. Cover the pan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook 5 to 7 minutes until the potatoes are just tender.
  2. Drain off the water and put the potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and vinegar to the hot potatoes and mix well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to distribute flavors evenly. Adjust seasonings to taste. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

*Peruvian purple potatoes are often available at farmers' markets and specialty markets. If unavailable, substitute Yukon gold, white, or red rose potatoes.

Easily prepared, this salad makes a quick side dish or a hearty lunch when served with whole grain bread. The addition of the sweet potato and the substitution of pine nuts instead of walnuts turns the standard Waldorf salad into a unique dish. Because the natural flavors blend so well, there's little need for exotic seasonings.


Sweet Potato

    1 medium sweet potato

    1 sweet red apple, diced
    1 pear, diced
    1 stalk celery
    1/4 C. (60 ml) raw pine nuts
    2 to 3 T. Vegenaise

  1. Peel the sweet potato and slice it 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick. Put 1-inch (2.5 cm) of water into a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan and place a metal steamer insert inside. Arrange the sweet potato slices in the steamer and steam until soft, about 7 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove the potato slices from the saucepan and cool.
  2. Chop the potatoes and put them into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to distribute the Vegenaise evenly. Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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