Russian Salad

Russian Salad, also known as Olivier Salad, is a classic dish enjoyed by many around the world. Adding beets to this beloved salad brings a vibrant color and a unique twist to the traditional recipe. Follow our detailed guide to create the easiest and most delicious Russian Salad with beets.

Ingredients for Russian Salad with Beets

To make the perfect Russian Salad with beets, gather the following ingredients:

  • Beets: 2 medium-sized beets, cooked and diced
  • Potatoes: 3 medium-sized potatoes, cooked and diced
  • Carrots: 2 medium-sized carrots, cooked and diced
  • Pickles: 4-5 small pickles, diced
  • Green Peas: 1 cup of cooked or canned green peas
  • Eggs: 3 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • Ham or Chicken: 1 cup of diced ham or cooked chicken (optional for a vegetarian version)
  • Mayonnaise: 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste
  • Fresh Dill: Chopped, for garnish

These ingredients combine to create a harmonious blend of flavors and textures, making this salad a favorite at any gathering.

Step-by-Step Guide to Prepare Russian Salad with Beets

1. Preparing the Vegetables

Begin by cooking the vegetables. The beets, potatoes, and carrots should be boiled until tender. Ensure they are not overcooked to maintain a firm texture.

  1. Cook the Beets: Place the beets in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, approximately 30-40 minutes. Once cooked, let them cool, peel, and dice into small cubes.
  2. Cook the Potatoes and Carrots: In another pot, boil the potatoes and carrots together. Cook until they are just tender, about 20-25 minutes. After cooling, peel and dice them into similar-sized cubes as the beets.

2. Preparing the Other Ingredients

While the vegetables are cooling, prepare the remaining ingredients.

  1. Dice the Pickles: Cut the pickles into small, even pieces. The tanginess of the pickles adds a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the beets.
  2. Cook the Green Peas: If using fresh or frozen peas, cook them until tender. If using canned peas, drain and rinse them.
  3. Dice the Eggs and Ham: Peel the hard-boiled eggs and dice them into small pieces. Do the same with the ham or chicken, if using.

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3. Mixing the Salad

Once all the ingredients are prepared, it’s time to mix them together.

  1. Combine the Vegetables: In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced beets, potatoes, carrots, pickles, and green peas.
  2. Add the Protein: Gently fold in the diced eggs and ham or chicken.
  3. Add Mayonnaise: Add the mayonnaise to the bowl, mixing thoroughly to ensure every piece is coated. Adjust the amount of mayonnaise based on your preference for creaminess.
  4. Season to Taste: Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to distribute the seasoning evenly.

4. Garnishing and Serving

To finish, garnish the salad with fresh dill. This adds a touch of freshness and enhances the visual appeal.

  1. Garnish with Dill: Sprinkle chopped fresh dill over the top of the salad.
  2. Chill Before Serving: For the best flavor, let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

Tips for the Perfect Russian Salad with Beets

Choosing the Right Beets

  • Freshness is Key: Choose beets that are firm and free from blemishes. Fresh beets will have the best flavor and texture.
  • Uniform Sizing: Dice the beets into uniform pieces to ensure even mixing and a consistent texture throughout the salad.

Balancing the Flavors

  • Mayonnaise: The mayonnaise acts as a binder and adds creaminess. Adjust the quantity to your liking.
  • Pickles: The acidity of the pickles balances the sweetness of the beets. Feel free to adjust the amount based on your taste preferences.
  • Seasoning: Taste the salad after mixing and adjust the salt and pepper as needed.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

  • Vegetarian: Simply omit the ham or chicken for a vegetarian version of the salad.
  • Vegan: Use a vegan mayonnaise alternative and skip the eggs and meat to create a vegan-friendly version.

Serving Suggestions

  • As a Side Dish: Russian Salad with beets pairs well with a variety of main courses, particularly grilled meats or fish.
  • On Its Own: Enjoy it as a light meal on its own. The combination of vegetables and protein makes it quite filling.
  • With Bread: Serve with crusty bread for added texture and a satisfying meal.

Nutritional Benefits of Russian Salad with Beets

This salad is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients:

  • Beets: Rich in antioxidants, fiber, and essential vitamins like folate and vitamin C.
  • Potatoes: A good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium.
  • Carrots: High in beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, and antioxidants.
  • Eggs: Provide high-quality protein and essential fats.
  • Green Peas: Offer protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Pickles: Contain probiotics and are low in calories.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I prepare Russian Salad with beets in advance?

Yes, you can prepare Russian Salad with beets in advance. In fact, making it a few hours or even a day before serving can enhance the flavors as they have more time to meld together. After mixing all the ingredients, store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will keep the salad fresh and allow the flavors to develop. Just give it a quick stir before serving and add any additional seasoning if needed.

2. What can I use as a substitute for mayonnaise in this salad?

If you prefer to avoid mayonnaise, there are several alternatives you can use:

  • Greek Yogurt: Provides a tangy flavor and creamy texture similar to mayonnaise. It’s also lower in fat and higher in protein.
  • Sour Cream: Another creamy option with a slightly tangy taste, great for those who want a richer flavor.
  • Vegan Mayonnaise: A plant-based alternative that mimics the taste and texture of regular mayonnaise, suitable for vegans.
  • Avocado: Mashed avocado can be used for a healthier, creamy alternative. It adds a unique flavor and a dose of healthy fats.
  • Hummus: For a different twist, use hummus. It adds a Mediterranean flair and a creamy consistency.

3. How do I ensure the beets don’t stain the other ingredients too much?

To minimize the beets staining other ingredients, you can take the following steps:

  • Separate Mixing: Mix the beets with a small amount of mayonnaise in a separate bowl before combining them with the other ingredients. This can help coat the beets and reduce the amount of bleeding.
  • Layering: Add the beets as the last ingredient when mixing the salad. This way, the other ingredients will have already absorbed some mayonnaise, reducing the beets’ staining effect.
  • Chilling: Allow the beets to cool completely and even chill them in the refrigerator before dicing. Cooler beets tend to bleed less than warm ones.
  • Immediate Rinsing: Rinse the diced beets under cold water briefly before mixing them into the salad. This can help remove some of the excess juice that causes staining.


Making the easiest Russian Salad with beets is a straightforward process that results in a vibrant, flavorful dish. Whether for a festive occasion or a casual meal, this salad is sure to impress. Follow our detailed guide, and you’ll have a beautiful and delicious salad ready to serve.

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