The Christmas season is upon us (it somehow seems to start earlier each year!) and I am already thinking of possible dishes I will make this Christmas. At the top of my list is my mum’s best Russian salad recipe. Now I realise this may seem like an odd choice for a Christmas dish, but for me it’s an integral part of Christmas cooking. My mum used to prepare this salad for all sorts of occasions (Christmas, Easter, family gatherings, whenever she had leftover vegetables etc) and in my own house it’s become a firm tradition to always serve it at Christmas.
A few words of explanation regarding the title of this post. Different versions of this salad are made throughout Europe (Eastern mainly, my instinct tells me) but for some reason it’s become known everywhere else as ‘Russian’ salad (does anybody know what the reason is?). In Poland this salad is called either ‘vegetable salad’ or just ‘salad’. A bit odd but there you have it. I considered calling it ‘potato salad’, but that name seems to be given to salads which contain large chunks of potato mainly. So that wouldn’t do.
My mum’s version of the Russian salad did not include canned peas, which many recipes call for, and I continue making mine also without the peas. What she used instead was finely chopped pickled gherkins and apple. These two ingredients really lift this salad and for me are as essential as the potatoes, the carrots and the eggs.
You can give this salad a more sophisticated look by making the vegetable (and egg) pieces smaller than I have done (see the photos). I get impatient and go for a more rustic look:) If the suggested amount of mayonnaise seems a bit excessive, well it isn’t really, as the proportions given in the recipe make a large salad (6-8 portions). This salad would traditionally contain more mayonnaise but I replaced a portion of it with yogurt in order to keep the fat content down.
What I really like about this salad, apart from the taste, is that it can be made ahead. It tastes better, in fact, once it’s been in the fridge for a few hours, and it can be refrigerated for a couple of days. So even if a make a big batch it never goes to waste. It is great as a side dish, light lunch or satisfying snack anytime. I hope you enjoy it!
Yields 6-8 portions
20 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 4 medium salad potatoes
- 2 medium/large carrots
- 4 eggs, hard boiled
- 6 small pickled gherkins, finely chopped
- 2 apples
- 5 tablespoons thick yogurt
- 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil the potatoes and carrots until tender (don't overcook them!). Let cool a little, peel, dice and place in a large bowl. Peel and finely chop the eggs, and add them to the vegetables.
- Peel the apples, cut into quarters, remove the cores and finely chop the apple. Add to the salad.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixture and stir carefully but thoroughly. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.