This is seriously the best and healthiest vegan potato salad recipe that you will find! It uses silken tofu and cashews for a creamy dressing and is seasoned and spiced just right. Read more for the best potato salad!
This whole-food plant-based (vegan) potato salad tastes just like the traditional potato salad you’ve been dreaming about – minus the mayonnaise. You’ll never know you are eating tofu with this delicious whole-food plant-based vegan potato salad!
Potato salad was a huge part of my childhood dining experience – what with church picnics, Sunday dinner, outdoor barbeques, and family gatherings, there was always an excuse for my mamma to make her (semi) famous potato salad that everyone talked about with anticipation for the next big event.
This healthy potato salad would be deliciously served with an equally healthy white bean burger or sweet potato black bean burger!
Potato salad wars!
Truth be told, I think everyone’s mamma made the best potato salad. Potato salad has long been an argued-about recipe amongst mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Neighbors and colleagues. Sisters and friends. What we can all agree on is that we love potato salad!
Egg or no egg? Paprika or not? Dill pickles? Sweet relish? Ground mustard…prepared mustard…or just leave it out? You get the idea… I think it was Oprah who had an episode once in which women from all over the country brought their best potato salad and paraded across the stage while the audience debated which was the best, most authentic potato salad recipe out there.
Reasons you’ll love this vegan potato salad recipe
- whole food plant-baed, no oil
- made without vegan mayonnaise (or any other mayonnaise)
- protein-rich with cashews and silken tofu
- just like (my) mom made – and her potato salad was the best!
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Ingredients needed to make vegan potato salad and make it healthy!
I know this looks like a lot of ingredients. And if you are wanting to make vegan potato salad you could probably just mix up some potatoes with vegan mayonnaise, right? There are plenty of vegan potato salad recipes that do just that. This vegan potato salad recipe is healthier though and does need a few extra special ingredients. You wanted the healthiest and best potato salad, right?
- yukon gold potatoes
- raw cashews soaked and drained
- silken tofu, divided (for the sauce an to cut up for the “egg”)
- white vinegar
- lemon juice
- mustard powder
- maple syrup
- black salt (Kala Namak)
- cayenne pepper
- chopped celery
- green onions
- sweet pickle relish
- dill relish
- salt and pepper to taste
- sweet paprika for garnish
- parsley for garnish
- You will also need a high-speed blender (affiliate link)
Some questions and answers about the ingredients
I use Yukon gold potatoes for my vegan potato salad. I also recommend white rose potatoes. Both are considered great for potato salad. What is NOT ideal are starchy potatoes such as russet potatoes. They will not hold up as well to boiling and will produce a watery potato salad. Yuck. Read more about which potatoes are best for potato salad in this article by thekitchn.com.
Black salt is actually not black in color, but light grayish pink. If you see salt that is the actual color black, that’s the wrong stuff!
The official name for black salt is Kala Namak and might also be sold as black salt powder. Black salt lends an eggy, sulfur-like taste to food and can be found in Indian markets. I buy my favorite black salt on Amazon (affiliate link).
It’s best to use raw unsalted cashews. I use cashew pieces and buy them on Amazon. If you choose to use salted and roasted cashews then soak them overnight. Drain and triple rinse to get rid of the salty flavor.
I used to make this recipe without cashews. Cashews make the dressing extra creamy. If you leave them out then the flavor will be the same but the texture won’t be as creamy and perfect. You might try substituting with raw unsalted sunflower seeds if you can eat those.
This recipe is for healthy whole food plant-based potato salad. If you prefer to use vegan mayo, then use your favorite non-vegan potato salad recipe and sub in the vegan mayo for the regular mayo.
One teaspoon of mustard powder is equivalent to one tablespoon of prepared mustard according to Spruce Eats – but that sounds like a lot! I will tell you that my husband is not a mustard fan and when I make this potato salad for him, I only use one-half a teaspoon of mustard powder.
How to make vegan potato salad with cashews and silken tofu
I thought you’d never ask! Follow these directions and soon you will have a delicious healthy vegan potato salad recipe with a traditional potato salad taste.
Step 1: The Cashews
An important warning about the cashews
It is important to disclose to anyone you serve this recipe that it contains cashews. Cashews can be a serious allergen for some people. Don’t try to “pass” your vegan food off as non-vegan. Be proud of what you are making and serving! I always tape a sign on any dish I serve at a party or potluck that it contains nuts. And then I ask around – just in case.
Soak the cashews in hot water while you are boiling the potatoes. By the time the potatoes have boiled, the cashews will be ready to go. It is important to use unsalted raw cashews. If you use regular roasted and salted cashews then you will need to soak overnight and triple rinse to remove the salt.
Step 2: Cutting and Cooking the potatoes
You will need a total of about eight cups of potatoes. I have found that seven potatoes are about right. If you are a tiny bit over or under, your potato salad will turn out just fine.
The best potatoes to use for the job are thinned skinned “waxy” potatoes – not russets. Ideally, the best potatoes to boil for potato salad would be reds or fingerlings. This recipe uses Yukon gold potato which is considered an “in-between” potato and perfect for the job. I have also used white rose but love the texture and flavor of golds better.
Cutting the potatoes
Wash and cut the potatoes into quarters, leaving the skin on. It is not necessary to remove the skin yet. You can easily slip the skins off after the potatoes have cooked. This is a good time to cut off any weird or blighted pieces.
When you cut the potatoes into pieces for boiling, the directions are to cut the potatoes into “quarters”. Well, as you know, some potatoes are larger than others. Cutting into quarters is just guidance. It’s most important that the potatoes are cut into mostly uniform sizes. So large potatoes might be cut into 6ths. And if you have a small potato in your batch, you might need to cut that one in half.
If you are lucky enough that all of your potatoes are the same medium size, then cutting each piece into quarters is fine.
Cooking the potatoes
Place the cut potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil on high. This will take up to 25 minutes depending on your pot, potatoes, and water temperature. Add the teaspoon salt, cover, and turn down to medium heat. Continue boiling for 10-20 minutes. Check every 5 minutes to see if the potatoes are fork-tender. You do NOT want mushy potatoes
Once the potatoes are fork-tender, remove from heat and drain. Rinse with cold water (and ice) to stop the cooking and allow to cool for about ten minutes until easily handled. Drain and pat dry.
Step 3: The cashew tofu dressing
While the potatoes are cooling you can make the cashew tofu dressing.
Working with the silken tofu
Do use silken tofu for this recipe. If you absolutely can not find silken tofu then try 14 ounces of soft tofu. I have not personally tried this and so can’t guarantee the results. I’d love to hear from you if you have.
You do not need to press silken tofu. Simply cut open the package and drain out the liquid. Set the drained tofu on a paper towel and pat dry.
Cut off two inches from the end and set aside. THIS WILL NOT GO IN THE BLENDER but will be cut into tiny pieces and added to the completed dish. The little tofu pieces will lend an “egg-white” like texture.
What? Eggy potato salad is not a part of your potato salad memories? You should give this a try anyway! The tiny little pieces of cubed silken tofu aren’t offensive at all. They don’t taste like eggs as they are only for the simulated texture. BUT if you really don’t want the little “egg white” pieces of tofu in your vegan potato salad, then just leave them out. Discard or repurpose that two inches of tofu. BUT do not add it to your dressing. The flavor and texture balance will be thrown off.
Two inches is roughly one-third of a standard-shaped block of 14-ounce silked tofu. If your tofu is differently shaped, then measure out about one-third and set it aside for cutting into tiny squares.
Making the cashew tofu dressing
To a blender, add the rest of the tofu, the soaked and drained cashews, white vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and black salt (see above in the ingredients questions and answers). Blend all of the ingredients while starting on low. Gradually turn the dial higher and then to max speed for a couple of minutes or until everything is nice and smooth.
Step 4: Finishing the potatoes
Once the potatoes are cool enough to easily handle, slip off the skins and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
If you are wondering how large those bite-sized pieces should be, remember that you will want a nice mouthful with several pieces. Cut your potato pieces accordingly. Make sure the potatoes are patted dry and place them directly into a large bowl after cutting.
Step 5: The add-ins
This is the time to cut that left-over tofu into tiny little pieces. I find it easy to just line up and slice and then turn on its side and slice the other way. Remember, these are to simulate little minced pieces of boiled egg whites.
Dice the celery into small little pieces. One trick I use is to cut off the nasty ends, slice the celery stalk in half or thirds (depending on size), then just slice down the stalk until I have nice little pieces.
Cut the tops from the green onions, remove the slimy outer layer from the bulbs, line up and slice. I like to use some of the green parts and some of the white bulbs. This is a personal preference.
Another personal preference is exactly how much onion to use. I like my vegan potato salad nice and oniony and so use one-half cup. My kids always hated the onion taste and so I used one-quarter cup for them (and they still thought it was a little too much). I’ve compromised and used one-third cup for this recipe. You can always start low and add a little more to taste.
Step 6: Putting your vegan potato salad together
Add the diced tofu pieces, diced celery, sliced green onions, and two pickle relishes to the bite-sized potato pieces already in the large bowl.
Pour the creamy cashew tofu dressing on top. I use a small rubber spatula to get out every little bit of dressing I can.
Gently fold so that the dressing and add-ins are mixed well. You don’t want to mix so vigorously that the potato pieces get mushed. Otherwise, you will have some weirdly seasoned mashed potato concoction!
Serving suggestions for vegan potato salad
I love making and taking this potato salad to special parties and events. I’m confident in the recipe that I know even the non-vegans will enjoy my vegan potato salad.
BUT (and this is huge!) I always tape a sign to the bowl saying that it contains nuts. Most people would not expect nuts to be in a potato salad recipe. I am less concerned with the soy as many mayos – vegan and non-vegan – include soy and people with soy sensitivities generally know to ask.
This vegan potato salad is delicious and beautiful with paprika spinkled on top. A little parsley is lovely with it too.
You will want to salt and pepper to your preference. Perhaps even add in a little extra pickle relish, but be aware the flavors fully meld together with time. I recommend letting the potato salad sit covered in the refrigerator for at least one hour before tasting and serving.
This vegan potato salad will keep for about five days in your refrigerator if tightly covered. If it begins to separate and become watery then simply stir together. The flavor will not be compromised.
For other delicious vegan side dishes you can serve at a picnic, party, or potluck, try
Some of these delicious side dishes from Veggie Fun Kitchen are whole food -plant-based and some are not. But I promise they are all vegan and all tasty – for the vegans and non-vegans. Some contain nuts or soy. You MUST disclose to anyone you are serving these delicious vegan potluck dishes that they contain potential allergins.
- BBQ Baked Beans in the Instant Pot
- Bourbon Baked Beans
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Asian Inspired Pasta Salad with Peanuts
- Purple Cabbage Slaw with Miso Vinegar Dressing
- Cuban Black Beans in the Instant Pot
- Red Wine Vinegar Slaw with Peanuts
- Devil’s Food Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Vanilla Baked Donuts (best served the day-of)
The printable recipe card for vegan potato salad with cashews and tofu
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- high-speed blender
- 7 medium Yukon gold potatoes 8 cups quartered
- water for boiling
- about one teaspoon or so salt for boiling potatoes
For the blender
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked and drained
- 14 ounces silken tofu divided, see below
- 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon black salt see notes
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup celery chopped
- ⅓ cup green onions sliced, more to taste
- 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 teaspoons dill relish
- salt and pepper to taste
- sweet paprika for garnish
- parsley for garnish
- Start soaking the cashews in very hot water. They will be ready when the potatoes have been cooked. Drain and discard the soaking water.
- Wash and cut the potatoes into quarters, leaving the skin on. Place in a large pot of cold water.
- Bring to a boil on high. This will take up to 25 minutes depending on your pot, potatoes, and water temperature. Add the teaspoon salt, cover, and turn down to medium heat. Continue boiling for 10-20 minutes. Check every 5 minutes to see if the potatoes are fork tender. You do NOT want mushy potatoes
- Once the potatoes are fork-tender, remove from heat and drain. Rinse with cold water (and ice) to stop the cooking and allow to cool for about ten minutes until easily handled. Drain.
For the Mixer
- While the potatoes are cooling you can prepare the tofu mayo sauce.
- Drain the tofu. You do not need to press silken tofu. Cut off two inches from the end and set aside. THIS WILL NOT GO IN THE BLENDER but will be cut into tiny pieces and added to the completed dish. They will give a little "egg-white" like texture.
- To a blender, add the rest of the tofu, the soaked and drained cashews, white vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, maple syrup, black salt (see below), and cayenne pepper. Blend, starting on low and work up to high for a couple of minutes or until everything is nice and smooth.
- Slice the green onions. I slice some from the bulbs and some from the green tops. You will need ⅓ to ½ cup, depending on your personal preference. Chop the celery, cut the sliced off portion of silken tofu into tiny pieces. This will emulate chopped egg whites in texture.
- The potatoes should be cooled enough to handle now. With a paring knife remove the skin and cut them into small bite-sized pieces. Pat dry and place into a med/large bowl.
- Add the blended tofu cashew mixture to a med/large bowl with the cut and cooked poatoes, along with the tiny diced tofu, sliced green onions, chopped celery, and pickle relishes. Gently fold together.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator until cooled. This will take a minimum of one hour but the flavors will develop even more with a couple of more hours. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on a little parsley and sweet paprika for color.
- This can keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator for about five days. There might be some separation. Just gently stir together before serving.