Ensalada Rusa (“Russian” Potato Salad)

Ensalada rusa (“Russian” potato salad)

A Russian salad in a Dominican blog?

Why yes! Practically every country on earth has a version of potato salad, and many call also call theirs “Russian salad”, but did you know where Russian salad originated? I bet you won’t guess in a million years.

Well, what do you know, it did come from Russia after all!

Ensalada rusa (“Russian” potato salad)

The original “Russian salad” was created by the chef Laurence Olivier who worked at the prestigious Hermitage Restaurant in Moscow at the turn of the 19th Century. The original Olivier salad (as it is known in many countries) did not contain mayo, but a signature dressing that is now lost in time, but almost certainly contained mustard and oil from Provence.

It also contained beef tongue, cold cuts and lettuce, although it probably changed with the seasons, or availability of ingredients.

Ensalada rusa (“Russian” potato salad)

In our country it has become what is probably the most popular salad and is always present at all types of occasions.

From the informal family reunions to the elaborate  Christmas dinner table. From lunch to dinner.

Ensalada rusa (“Russian” potato salad)

Depending on the family’s taste, and on the occasion, different versions of this salad may be served. Two common versions are the one that includes beets and another with apples. This last one is the one usually served for Christmas.

From Russia with love!

Aunt Clara
Ensalada Rusa (“Russian” Potato Salad)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Ensalada Rusa (“Russian” Potato Salad) is a traditional component of the Christmas dinner, but also an all-purpose year-round salad. This is how I make it.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 lb [0.45 kg] of potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 medium beetroot (optional)
  • 1 apple (any variety)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced into small cubes
  • ½ cup of sweet corn (optional)
  • ½ cup of blanched or canned green peas (optional)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  1. Boil together the potatoes, carrots and eggs with a teaspoon of salt.
  2. Boil the beetroot in a different pot (do not use beetroot if you are going to use apple).
  3. Peel potatoes, carrots, eggs, apple (or beetroot) and dice into small cubes.
  4. Mix potatoes, carrots, eggs, apple (or beetroot), onion. corn and peas. Add mayonnaise and mix.
  5. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Serve chilled.
Keep salad chilled at all times until it's time to consume.

There are as many varieties of this salad as there are home in the DR. Optional ingredients are added (or not) in some homes. Other options include adding a dash of vinegar, or a pinch of sugar to the salad. Experiment until you find the version you like most.
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{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Carlos June 30, 2014, 7:39 PM

    One of the tricks that my mom taught me for those whop may not like one is to great the onion on a box grater. You get the onion flavor through out the salad, without the chunks of raw onion that some find offensive. Another person added that they add apple cider vinegar to their salad and I would agree it is a must. Deliciosa!

  • Hilda May 15, 2014, 2:52 PM

    I really like the recipes on this page.

  • Kara September 26, 2013, 1:42 PM

    Thank you for this website I am a white women trying to cook for my husband who is Dominican and this is a big help i must say i have always hated American style potato salad it wasn’t until my husband took me to meet his parents that i fell in love with potato salad it was the first thing i learned to cook but I have never had it with peas corn or apples I have had it with either carrots or beets and i love it

  • Val August 8, 2013, 12:31 PM

    Is there a specific type of potato you like to use? For instance Yukon gold? Or does it matter?

    • Aunt Clara August 8, 2013, 3:31 PM

      Any potato big enough that it can be diced will work.

  • Carmen I Rodriguez September 23, 2012, 7:57 PM

    I love this ensalada! I usually always make it with beets and also onions. When making it for a party I have to omit the onions and beets because not everyone likes onions. I think the onions are what make the salad. Anyway, they don’t know what they are missing. Another special tough my dear mother in law would do was to add a 1/2 of teaspoon of apple cider vinegar the veggies mixture together with the boiled eggs to give it a “tang”. I like it with or without. Thanks again for all your great recipes.

  • Jason August 19, 2012, 11:13 PM

    Corrections: I ment to say “Beets”

  • Jason August 19, 2012, 11:09 PM

    Where did the eggs come into play? I have, most of the time, eaten this salad with no eggs in it, and when it does, I ask why is their eggs in it? Also I’d like to add, we are not the only ones with a version of this salad in latin-america, i.e. Argentina… there is another version with beats; How did that come about?

    • Aunt Clara August 20, 2012, 12:23 AM

      I don’t know enough about Argentinian food to even make speculations. Sorry. If you read the post you’ll see that I don’t claim we are the only ones to make this salad, but exactly the opposite.

    • Malena December 13, 2012, 10:12 PM

      Probably comes from Spain (I don’t mean the salad, but the name). They call it “ensaladilla rusa”. In PR we call it just “ensalada de papa” and we eat it all the time.

      • Aunt Clara December 13, 2012, 10:16 PM

        Actually, it may have come via Spain, but the name “Russian salad” is used in several languages. The original salad did come from Russia.

  • Olivia April 23, 2012, 11:00 PM

    This is one of my favorite salads. It's so easy to make and so delicious. I just love that you can serve it on every ocasion.

  • Amy March 11, 2011, 4:44 PM

    This site is a godsend. This particular dish is one of my husband's favorites. I am a "gringa" cooking for my Dominican husband. I could never follow my mother-in-law in the kitchen; she was too fast and never measured anything. "un chin" was as good as it got. I was able to live there a couple of years and got to know a thing or two but it is so much harder back home. Thank you, thank you, thank you!