how to succeed at a barbecue without really trying: german potato salad and grilled vegetables.

Yesterday my girl SWNC did me the honor of asking for my input into her Labor Day barbecue menu. For you, Sharon of my dreams, I present: German potato salad and grilled marinated veggies, making this one of my rare vegetarian-compatible posts. In fact, both recipes are vegan. WHAT?! I know! Something must be wrong.

German potato salad was in my fridge more or less constantly in summers when my grandpa was alive, healthy, and visiting us. I used to mainline the stuff. Lunch, dinner, midnight snack – no time was a bad time for German potato salad. It’s a great alternative to mayo-based salads, which I personally find kinda gross, and a generally delicious thing to put in your mouth. Here’s how you make it.

– Potatoes
– White onions
– Salt
– Pepper
– Olive oil
– Wine or cidar vinegar

Cut your potatoes however you like (I like chunks) and boil or steam them (I like boiling, it’s quicker). I remember eating this with the potatoes peeled, but I’m a skin-on kind of girl because I hate peeling things. So skin-on or peeled, whatever your preference. I’d also recommend using baby red potatoes, which my grandpa did not use but which I love. This is rapidly becoming more of an homage than a word-for-word translation.

So once you’ve got your potato chunks boiled (they’re done when you can effortlessly insert a fork and pull it out, and yes, I like the potatoes a little overdone for this dish) go about chopping your onions. You want to use enough onions. How much is enough, you ask? Enough so you get some in every bite, not so much that they overwhelm the potatoes. I would say that one large white or yellow onion should be sufficient unless you’re making a mega-batch. Then dress it: kosher salt, fresh-ground pepper, a little olive oil and a lot of vinegar. The primary flavor should come from the mix of onion, vinegar and olive oil. Tweak it to taste.

And now, grilled veggies. This is my dad’s recipe. It is fantastic. You could use it for meat as well, but I happen to think this particular mix of flavors is nicer on veggies than it would be on meat. You could probably also not grill the veggies after marinating if you don’t have a grill or hate all good things.

Here’s what you need.

– Whatever veggies you like, in large quantities. My dad uses eggplant, peppers, red onion, squash and mushrooms (vom). I’m a huge fan of this combination and recommend it highly.
– Olive oil
– Teriyaki/soy sauce, whatever you have or like
– Coarse-ground black pepper
– Kosher salt
– Dried rosemary
– Minced onion, the kind that comes in a bottle:
– Fresh garlic

So there’s a couple ways you can do these. I like large slices of vegetables that you can eat individually and serve on a platter, but kebabs are just as tasty and probably more fun. I personally just don’t have the energy to do kebabs, plus I don’t want to deal with mushrooms basically ever. I will never make you mushrooms. I will never eat mushrooms you make me. Clear? Clear.

As with the above recipe, I have no carefully measured amounts for you. Your marinating liquid should be half olive oil, half soy sauce. (I hate soy sauce, but the grilling process does an excellent job of mellowing the taste.) Lots of black pepper, lots of dried rosemary which you crumble between your fingers to release as much flavor as possible, a few strong shakes of minced onion, a couple decent-size cloves of garlic, and very minimal salt. Soy sauce is salty to begin with, so make sure to taste the marinade before you salt it. Put all the ingredients in your food processor and process until thoroughly blended, or whisk really well. (You’ll have to chop the garlic, obviously, if you don’t have a food processor.) Then put all your vegetables, whether skewered or sliced, into a Tupperware or a bowl or whatnot, pour the marinade over them, and let sit for at minimum an hour. Then grill. Use the leftover marinade to brush on the vegetables as needed while they’re being grilled. Enjoy!

In case neither of these catch your fancy, here are some recipes I have bookmarked – but cannot vouch for, having never made – that I think might be tasty at a barbecue.
Southeast Asian Tomato Salad by Melissa Clark
Simple Corn-Tomato-Basil, Classic Potato and Egg Salad, and Simple Tomato Salad by Dinner: A Love Story
Double Mustard Potato Salad by Dinner: A Love Story
Crushed New Potato and Pea Salad with Mustard Seed Dressing by Melissa Clark
Simple Grilled Asparagus by Simply Recipes
Mustard Egg Salad (you’ll see where you stop to make this egg salad rather than a muffin melt) by Pioneer Woman

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About Sara

I like to talk about media, food, and gender.
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One Response to how to succeed at a barbecue without really trying: german potato salad and grilled vegetables.

  1. SWNC says:

    You are the awesomest! Both of these shall be making an appearance at our cookout this weekend. (Love that they’re both vegetarian, too–I’m friends with a bunch of damn hippies.) I’ve still got some lovely herbs in the garden, which will be great in the potato salad. I wish I was eating it right now.

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