This sour, sweet, and savoury Vinaigrette (Vinegret) Salad is a traditional recipe from Russian cuisine; it’s a delicious, hearty, and relatively healthy dish loaded with vegetables.
Hello everyone. Happy spring!
If you were visiting my blog last year, you would probably recall that I shared a lot of traditional recipes from Russian cuisine. Mostly desserts from my childhood. Let’s be completely honest: only desserts. Finally, I am sharing a savoury dish. That’s basically my premiere. (A round of loud and long applause.) Please don’t send me flowers and chocolates – money cheques would be sufficient.
Let’s go back to this Vinaigrette (Vinegret) Salad. However, while comes from the famous Vinaigrette dressing, vinegar or lemon juice are not the part of this salad. Basically, a Vinaigrette Salad (Most commonly known as Vinegret) is a combination of diced cooked vegetables, sauerkraut and (or) picked cucumbers with a little drizzle of oil.
It is a relatively healthy recipe as it features vegetables, but keep in mind that starchy vegetables, especially once cooked, have a very high glycemic index, that’s why I consider it a relatively healthy.
As I said, this salad is ubiquitous in Russia and other Post-Soviet countries. In fact, this salad is believed to have been adopted by the Russians from other Western European cuisines back in the 19th century. You can find similar recipes in German and Scandinavian cuisines. For instance, a salad with beets and herrings in common in Sweeden, and it’s super delicious!
Although there’s no the only one authentic recipe (But I believe many families claim that their “family” recipe to be the best one, right?), I’d try listing some important aspects based on my preferences.
- I would say the most important ingredients are beetroots, sauerkraut, and/or brined pickles. You can either cook beets in boiling water or roast it;
- Sour cabbage and cucumbers balance the natural sweetness of the vegetables. It’s very crucial to use the cabbage that isn’t too sweet or vinegary, so sauerkraut would be a good option. It’s harder to find pickled cucumbers that aren’t sweet though, so that won’t be a problem if you use only sour cabbage;
- In my opinion, carrots and potatoes are important components too, but many people omit them. You can do that, but I won’t recommend illuminating both carrots and potatoes as the salad needs some starch;
- Another important (but optional) ingredients are green peas or beans. My favourite salad is with green peas (It introduces freshness), but occasionally I like having it with beans which makes it more substantial;
- Many people add either finely chopped onions or scallions, but I don’t like this at all. I prefer adding either chopped dill or parsley, if available;
- Proportion. That’s a hard question – trust your intuition and taste buds. The rule of thumb is that one cup of cubed beets requires one cup of mixed potatoes and carrots, but many people take all three ingredients equally. Cabbage and picked cucumbers – that depends on how vinegary these ingredients are, and of course, your personal taste;
- We don’t usually add any seasonings except a pinch of black pepper. You can season with some salt if the cabbage (pickles) don’t bring in enough saltiness;
- We don’t use any dressing, but a little drizzle of any oil (use some aromatic kinds) will not hurt;
- Don’t serve the salad immediately, and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours. Indeed, you will notice it will be only better the next day. We always make a large container of this salad and enjoy it for 2-3 days. It is absolutely safe to keep it refrigerated for 3 days; however, don’t add in the oil in this case. Instead, add a little in the amount you’re going to consume right away;
- Although the salad is high in carbs, please don’t restrain yourself from serving it with some bread. With toasted rye bread, for instance… Mmm, this is divine!
That’s everything I wanted to share about this Vinaigrette (Vinegret) Salad, and I hope you try it one day. I am also posting more Russian desserts very soon – stay tuned!
- 4 medium beets
- 3 medium potatoes
- 3 medium carrots
- between 2/3 and 1 cup sauerkraut or 4-5 medium brined pickles (If you’re combining both ingredients, try 1/2 cup of sour cabbage and 2 pickles and adjust the taste if needed)*
- between 2/3 and 1 cup canned green peas or beans
- salt and pepper, optional
- olive oil, optional
- In a medium pot, boil beets for 1 hour or until it can easily be pierced with a knife. Alternatively, roast them in the oven or even use canned (Not marinated). Cool and peel.
- Boil potatoes and carrots (separately or together) until a knife goes smoothly through the vegetables but they are not too soft. Don’t overcook -there’s nothing worse than mushy carrots! Cool and peel.
- Dice the carrots and potatoes and put in a large bowl.
- Stir in the sour cabbage or (and) pickles. Add either green peas or beans. Mix well.
- Dice the beets and add them in the end, stirring slightly – this will prevent the other ingredients from turning red. You can also add a few drops of oil in beets which is a great way to prevent colouring, too*See notes.
- Try and adjust the taste by adding more sour ingredients (cabbage or pickles) if necessary. Season to taste.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.
- When serving, drizzle with more oil, if desired. Serve with toasted bread.
*This time I used only pickles. * If you don’t mind all ingredients coloured in red – don’t worry and mix everything together! That’s not about the taste but about the visual thing.