Russian Salads

There are several salads which constitute a “must” for any Russian table.  This article will begin with some of the best loved salads for almost any family, including the Russian traditional favourites such as the Salad Olivie, Carrot Salad, Crab with Corn salad, and Beet Vinaigrette.

One of the first things you’ll notice about most Russian salads is the absence of lettuce.  Due to the length of the growing season lettuce doesn’t fare as well as root vegetables.  Some families are successful in growing it in a greenhouse setting, perhaps at a country dacha, but most Russians dwell in massive high rise apartments, and so the most common garden space is found out in the country at a weekend dacha (cabin/country house).

The next thing you’ll notice about Russian salads is the prominence of “root crops,” those vegetables which grown underground.  These plants have the advantage of the ground as a natural shelter from weather up top on the surface.  That means they can be started earlier, or can finish later than ordinary plants.  Therefore, you’ll see lots of things like potatoes, beets, carrots, radishes, onions, turnips, etc, in a Russian salad.

Finally, Russian salads are much more like their Greek counterparts than most realize.  Russians love to “mix it up” a bit by adding fruits like grapes, melon, raisins, pineapple, apple, etc, to a vegetable salad.  Often honey or molasses is added to a salad, creating a very nice surprise for the palate.  With all the attention and care given to making a Russian salad, and most are very simple and quick to put together, you will soon understand why salads are such an important part of every Russian meal.

Potato Salad “Olivie”

There are a number of excellent dishes which could qualify for the starting position, so without purposely slighting any of the others, we shall begin with the very popular Салат оливье (Salad Olivier).

Salad olivier
(photo: Lyubov Mikloshevskaya)

This popular version of potato salad is Russian, although some claim it to be French or Persian. So, lets quickly cover the official story of how this popular dish was created: in 1860, a Belgian chef who owned and operated a highly regarded Moscow restaurant, The Hermitage (means “place for hermits”), created this dish. His name was Lucien Olivier, and thus the name of this wonderful dish.

The magic stops there however, as he took the exact recipe to his grave, which is here in the Vvedenskoye Cemetery (German/Protestant cemetery) in Moscow.

Salad Olivier creator Lucien_Olivier PD
Olivier never used traditional mayonnaise in his recipe, although he did used Olive oil mixed with a French wine vinegar, along with other ingredients. Sometimes it is thought that the olive oil had something to do with the name of the salad. Not really, but his original recipe did include veal, caviar, grouse, lettuce and other ingredients not available to the working class. Over time, his famous salad was adapted to ingredients which could be obtained by ordinary folk. Thus, perhaps the name really has little to do with the “Olivier salad” most of us enjoy today.

Sometimes you’ll hear Russian-speakers call it салат столичный, meaning “capital city salad.” Given the evolution of this salad over the years, perhaps that is a more accurate title today. It is a “must have” dish on the New Year table.

Not only is she easy on the eyes, but Olga Valentina is just plain entertaining! Olga is the fun host of “Olga Cooks” and readers/viewers will enjoy her take on this salad:

You can make this authentic Russian potato salad “Olivie” in your own kitchen, and it is delicious!  The particular recipe is compliments of a very excellent Russian cafe in Boston, Cafe “Stoli” (столы means “tables”).

If you love shrimp or chicken, you’re going to dig this dish!  And it’s so easy that if you can buy some pickles, a can of peas, boil 6 eggs, peel a few potatoes and cut up some carrots…..your friends will think you’ve become a master chef!

The salad is just as delicious in a vegetarian version, sans the meat.


6 large potatoes
2 average carrots
6 eggs
4 pickles
1/2 lb of your choice of cooked meat (beef or chicken) or mushrooms (vegetarian version) or shrimps (seafood version)
1/2 can of sweet green peas
salt and pepper
mayonnaise or sour cream


Boil potatoes, carrots, and eggs.
Peel and cut all the vegetables in small cubes. Cut pickles. Chop your choice of meat, chicken, mushrooms or shrimps.
Mix everything together. Add peas.
Dress with mayonnaise or sour cream.
Add salt and pepper for your taste.

It seems that every chef has their own twist on this tasty dish so here is another look with Tatyana of TatyanasEverydayFood channel:

Few salads in the world hold as much meaning to Russians as this next one, “Herring Under a Fur Coat” or in Russian селёдка под шубой:

(Recipe from Hep-i-book’a cooking blog.) This salad is more sophisticated in the way that it’s layered and composed of:

  • diced salted herring
  • potatoes – boiled, also with peels, then grated with large ‘wholes’
  • carrots – boiled with peels, grated
  • beet roots – the main ingredient after the herring, as it is on the top and gives the salad its colour; boiled in peels, grated
  • chopped onions – which my Mom omits – chopped
  • hard boiled eggs for the topping

and of course mayonnaise is added almost after each layer.

My Granny’s recipe dictates the following order immediately in the serving plate, from glass so that all the layers are visible:

  1. salted herring, sliced and at most cleared from all the non-edible parts=)
  2. potato layer
  3. mayonnaise to cover the surface
  4. carrot layer (very thin layer)
  5. beet root layer – of the same amount as the potato layer
  6. mayonnaise to cover the surface, the thickest layer, as the beetroot should soak in it
  7. grated egg, yolk and white grated separately

The salad is then placed in a cold place (remember, fridges are a luxury), and the same as for Olivier, this salad is also much better the next day. As I hmmm hate fish, I just can repeat the words of others, so trust them=) The only thing I can do, is grate the ingredients and later consume the fur-coat=) This salad is also familiarly called simply Shuba (Fur-Coat). The multiple variations include apples, but this is for bourgeois people=)))

These two salads are still very popular with Russians and the ex-Soviet republics, not only for New Year but also for other celebrations, prepared well in advance, in quantities enough to satisfy also the next morning hangover hunger. (From Hep-i-book’a cooking blog.)

Carrot Salad


Combine the following:
3 grated carrots
1/4 cup of raisins or dried apricots or dates (cut in little pieces) or all of this
1/4 cup of walnuts
2 tbsp – honey
1 tbsp – sourcream

Wow, that was easy!

Check out the Russian carrot salad at for another excellent variation.

Crab with Corn Salad

This was the very first salad I experienced on my maiden trip to Russia.  It’s still a favourite with the Mendeleyev family and hardly a week goes by that it doesn’t grace our table.  You’ll enjoy the combination of flavours in this culinary creation.Ingredients:
1 cup of dry Basmati or similar type of rice,
3-4 eggs ,
250 – 300 gr. of crabmeat or imitation crabmeat,
1 tin of sweet corn (250 gr.),
(optional) 2-3 table spoons of grated cheddar or old gauda cheese (50-70 gr.) ,
3-4 table spoons of mayonnaise.

1. Boil the rice, so it remains “friable”, not sticky. Do not overcook!
Don’t forget to add salt when water starts boiling.
2. Hard boil the eggs.
3. Let rice and eggs to cool down to the room temperature.
4. Cut crabmeat in small cubes, approx. 5x5x5 mm each.
5. Cut eggs into small cubes, approx. 5x5x5 mm.
6. Open corn tin, pour out the liquid.
7. Mix rice, corn, cheese, crabmeat and eggs.
8. Add mayonnaise at least 30 min before serving, stir.
9. Put in a big salad bowl, decorate with greens(dill, parsley) and black olives.

(Russian cold vegetable salad with potatoes and beets)

This is often named as Russia’s second most popular salad. This recipe is from Natasha’s Kitchen and we encourage you to visit Natasha’s excellent blogsite to learn more about her approach to Russian and Ukrainian cooking.
Yield: 4-6 servings

(photo from Zina at
(photo from Zina at


3 medium beets (or 2 cans of beets, drained)
3 medium potatoes
3 medium carrots
1 cup (or 1 can) of green peas
1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained
3 medium pickles
2 tbsp Sunflower or Olive Oil
1 tbsp Vinegar
1 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)


In a medium pot, boil beets until they can easily be pierced with a knife, or use canned beets which don’t require any cooking.

In a separate pot, boil potatoes and carrots about 30 minutes or until a knife goes smoothly through the potatoes.

Don’t overcook the potatoes.

Drain the vegetables and refrigerate or let them stand until they cool to room temp (or cooler).

Peel the skins from the potatoes, beets and carrots, then dice pickles, beets, potatoes, carrots & finely dice onion.

Салат «Офисный Клерк»/Salad “Office Clerk”

Salad “Office Clerk” uses beets, potatoes, onions and egg (optional)

Note: If served during the annual Nativity or the Easter fasts, the egg is optional. For Diabetics, the egg helps replace protein from the lack of meat during a fast but first speak to your priest about which practice is best for your situation.

300 г картофеля (potatoes)
150 г моркови (carrots)
200 г свеклы (beets)
150 г лука (Onions)
3-5 маринованных огурцов (pickles)
200 г яблок (apples)
3 яйца (eggs)
соль (salt)
Натуральный майонез (Mayonnaise)

Отварить картофель, морковь, свеклу и яйца до готовности. Остудить, почистить. (Boil the potatoes, carrots, beets and eggs until done. Cool, then peel.)

Свеклу, яйца, морковь и картофель натереть на мелкой терке. Огурцы мелко нарезать. Лук мелко нашинковать, залить его кипятком на 10 минут, чтобы он не горчил, затем воду слить. Яблоко почистить, натереть на мелкой терке. (Grate the beets, eggs, carrots and potatoes. Finely chop the pickles. Chop onions, after boiling it for 10 minutes, then drain the water. Grate the apple last.)

На дно тарелки выложить картофель, немного посолить и смазать майонезом. На картофель выложить морковь, немного смазать майонезом. На морковь выложить лук. На лук выложить огурцы, немного смазать майонезом. На огурцы выложить яйца, смазать майонезом. На яйца выложить яблоки, смазать майонезом. (Put the potatoes at the bottom and then add some salt and mayonnaise. Next, layer carrots and a little mayonnaise. Layer carrots with onion. The next layer will be the pickles and mayonnaise. Afterward, layer eggs with some mayonnaise. Next to last, top with apples and mayonnaise.)

На яблоки выложить свеклу. Украсить салат по вкусу. Можно сделать сеточку из майонеза. Желательно дать салату пропитаться. (The final layer is of beets. Create a mesh using mayonnaise.)

Hot water is provided by an electric pass-thru heater mounted on the wall near the window.

Salad Neptune/Салат “Нептун”

300 g shrimp
crab sticks, 200 g
5 eggs
130 gr. red caviar

– Boil eggs, cool, separate the protein from the yolk, cut into a protein. The yolk can be left for decoration.

– Cook shrimp in lightly salted water.

– Then mix into boiling water, pre-cut into rings & calamari. Don’t overcook!

– Cut the crab sticks.

– Add a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise, stir, and then add red caviar.

– Salt, pepper to taste, but I advise salt on top after everything is mixed because eggs and mayonnaise can provide enough salt.

Salad “Nepture”

креветки-300 гр
кальмары-300 гр
крабовые палочки-200 гр
5 яиц
130 гр. красной икры

1. Отвариваем яйца, охлаждаем, отделяем белок от желтка, нарезаем белок. Желток можно оставить для украшения.
2. Варим креветки в слегка подсоленной воде.
3. Затем в кипящую воду бросаем, предварительно нарезав на кольца, кальмары. Самое главное-не переварить их, иначе получатся резиновыми!
4. Нарезаем крабовые палочки.
5. Теперь добавляем пару столовых ложек майонеза, перемешиваем, и только потом добавляем красную икру (чтобы не полопалась).
6. Соль-перец по вкусу, но советую солить после смешивания всего, т.к. икра и майонез могут дать достаточно соли.

Not just any salad makes it to the exclusive Mendeleyev Journal Salad pages but the MJ test kitchen has declared that this Russian “Red Sea Salad” is well deserving so you can find it here along with our other delicious Russian and Ukrainian salads.

Red Sea Salad:

– 150 grams of crab sticks
– One very large tomatoe
– 1 clove of garlic
– 20 g of mayonnaise

Cut crab sticks diagonally into strips, cut tomatoes in  julienne style, too. If tomatoes are too watery, drain and remove the seeds. Squeeze in some garlic. Mix with mayonnaise.

For our Russian readers: Салат «Красное море»

– 150 гр крабовых палочек
– один большой мясистый помидор
– 1 зубчик чеснока
– 20 гр майонеза

Палочки порезать наискосок соломкой, помидор тоже порезать соломкой. Если помидор слишком водянистый, то жидкую часть с семечками удалить. Выдавить чеснок. Перемешать и заправить майонезом.

“Салат Нежное облако” (Soft cloud salad).

Locals call it “Soft Cloud Salad” and if you try this recipe you’ll learn why.

Eggs – 6
Chicken breast – 300 g
Cucumber – 2
Carrots (medium) – 2
Pineapple (canned, rings) – 2 to 3 pieces.

Boil chicken breast and then chop it finely while adding salt and mayonnaise, mix well.

Place the chicken-mayonnaise mixture into a large dish.

Boil eggs, cool, separate the whites from the yolks.

Boil carrots gently after grating into small pieces.

Slice cucumbers and let stand on towel to drain excess liquid.

Using the chicken as a base, lay carrots (with a little salt), pour the mayonnaise, then grated egg yolks with mayonnaise, then layer cucumber and egg whites mixed with mayonnaise, and finally finish with a layer of cucumber and egg yolks mixed in mayonnaise at the top.

Garnish with pieces of pineapple and dollops of mayonnaise.

For our Russian readers:

Яйцо куриное – 6 шт.
Грудка куриная (филе) – 300 г.
Огурец (средний, свежий) – 2 шт.
Морковь (средняя) – 2 шт.
Ананас (консервированный, колечки) – 2 -3 шт.

Филе отварить, мелко порезать, посолить, добавить майонез, перемешать.
Выложить курино-майонезную смесь в тарелку.
Яйца отварить, остудить, отделить белки от желтков.
Отдельно натереть белки на крупной тeрке, а желтки на мелкой.
Морковь отварить, натереть на средней тeрке.
Огурцы вместе со шкуркой натереть на средней тeрке, отжать лишнюю жидкость.
На курицу выложить морковь (немного посолить), полить майонезом, далее – белки (немного посолить), майонез, огурец, майонез, сверху выложить слой из желтков и произвольно в качестве украшения выложить ананасы.

Салат “Алёнка” / Salad “Alyonka”

Salad “Alyonka”

750 g mushrooms
400 g of crab sticks
5 hard-boiled eggs
4 fresh cucumber
1-2 onions

Saute the mushrooms with onions, cut the cucumbers into cubes.

Dice the crab sticks and eggs.

Mix with mayonnaise, salt, and garnish with parsley.

750 г шампиньонов
400 г крабовых палочек
5 вареных яиц
4 свежих огурца
зелень петрушки
1-2 шт. репчатого лука

Грибы поджарить с луком. Огурцы порезать кубиками. Крабовые палочки – соломкой, яйца – кубиками.

Все смешать, посолить, добавить петрушку.
Заправить салат майонезом.

Our next salad entry is “Salad Cheburashka” and we should mention that Cheburashka is a character in children’s literature and children’s TV cartoons, from the 1966 story by Russian writer Eduard Uspensky.


According to this fun story Cheburaskha lived in the tropical forest but accidentally fell asleep in a crate of oranges that was transported to Moscow.

Salad Cheburashka

200 g of boiled chicken
2 pickles
1 cucumber
2 eggs
50g walnuts
a few feathers of green onions
150g marinated mushrooms

4 tbsp. sour cream
1 teaspoon mustard
salt pepper to taste

A. Chicken cut into cubes or strips
B. Pickled cucumbers and fresh eggs, mushrooms, cut into strips.
C. Nuts should be broken with your hands, not quite small.
D. Green onions cut into little. Combine all ingredients.
E. Sour cream mixed with mustard, add salt and pepper and fill with salad.

Салат “Чебурашка”

200 гр отварной курицы
2 соленых огурца
1 свежий огурец
2 яйца
50гр грецких орехов
несколько перьев зеленого лука
150гр маринованных грибов

4 ст. ложки сметаны
1 ч. ложка горчицы
соль перец по вкусу

1. Курицу нарезаем кубиками или соломкой
2. Огурцы соленые и свежий, яйца, грибы нарезаем соломкой.
3. Орехи немного изломать руками, не совсем мелко. Они должны чувствоваться в салате.
4. Зеленый лук маленько нарезать. Соединить все ингредиенты.
5. Сметану смешать с горчицей, добавить соль и перец и заправить салат.

Here is a tasty  recipe for Russian tomato salad.

There are a variety of tasty seafood salads which can be found on a Russian table. We like this salad as it can be mixed and served in a bowl or poured into a form and then served to have that perfect presentation.

Seafood salad with Salmon


Ingredients for 4 servings:
– 1 cup of rice
– 1 can of pink salmon
– 2 cucumbers
– A bunch of green onions
– Mayonnaise
– Salt, pepper

Boil the rice and leave to cool.
Cucumber cut into small cubes, chop the green onions
Add mayonnaise, then add the cucumber and onion and mix together.
Next, prepare the fish by removing any bones and mash the fish with a fork, then add to salad.
Salad season with salt and pepper, add additional mayonnaise if needed and mix well. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

This is a delicious summertime chicken salad featuring simple but hearty ingredients like beans and cheese.

chicken salad

– Boiled chicken fillet – 300g
– Kidney beans (boiled or canned) – 200g
– Cheese (hard) – 150g
– Corn (canned) – 400g
– Pickles – 3-4 pieces.
– Black bread – 3 slices
– Garlic – 1 clove
– Salt, mayonnaise, a bunch of parsley


– Peal and grate the garlic. Cut slices of bread into cubes but not until they’ve been rubbed with garlic and salt.

– Place the bread into an non-oiled pan to lightly brown.

– Cut the chicken into small pieces.

– Cut the cucumbers into cubes then drain the corn before putting into a mixing bowl.

– Cut the cheese into strips or cubes.

– Rinse and then finely chop the parsley.

– In a salad bowl mix the chicken, beans, cheese, corn, pickled cucumbers, parsley and garlic bread.

– Add mayonnaise and stir. Garnish with parsley.

9 thoughts on “Russian Salads

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