Russian Beet Salad “Vinegret” – Винегрет

Russian Beet Salad Vinegret -8You know you’re Russian if you recognize this salad:). At most holidays, special occasions and parties, you will see a bowl of this vibrant salad make an appearance. Even though it’s called “Vinegret” in Russian, which sounds like a vinaigrette, it’s an actual salad, not the dressing:). When I look at the list of ingredients, it’s easy to see why it was so popular – it’s made up of all things that were readily available  during the big holidays – Christmas, New Year’s and Easter for our ancestors.

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, our parents and grandparents didn’t have anything available except what was in season or local, so they had to make do with whatever they had canned or brined during the summer and fall as well the vegetables that could be stored in the root cellar during the long, cold winter months. I still remember going down into my grandparents’ dark root cellar and seeing the cans neatly stacked on the shelves and the bins with beets, potatoes and carrots. The ingenuity of creating so many tasty dishes with such a limited pantry has always impressed me.

I love this salad. The beets and carrots give sweetness, the potatoes – heartiness and the pickles and sauerkraut give tartness and flavor. It’s beautiful and one of the best things about this salad is that it can be made in advance and even gets better the longer all the flavors get to hang out together. What are some of your favorite recipes from your heritage?

Ingredients:

2 medium-large beets, cooked and finely chopped

2 medium-large potatoes, cooked and finely chopped

3 medium-large carrots, cooked and finely chopped

3/4-1 cup sauerkraut, drained

6 baby dill pickles, finely chopped

1 small shallot (you can also use 1/4 of a red or yellow onion), finely minced

salt, ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 – 1/3 cup sunflower oil (or any oil you prefer)

1 – 1 1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar

Instructions:Russian Beet Salad Vinegret -1-10

Cook in boiling water or roast the beets until tender. I prefer to roast beets. To see a step by step tutorial on how to roast beets, click HERE.

Roasting Beets copyIn another pot, place the potatoes and carrots. Cover the vegetables with cold water. Russian Beet Salad Vinegret -2Cover the pot, bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook just until the carrots and potatoes are both cooked through and you are able to pierce them all the way through with a paring knife. (The cooking time depends on the size of your vegetables and how fast/slow the water comes to a boil, about 20 minutes after boiling.) You want to make sure that they are cooked through all the way, but not too much, since they will otherwise fall apart and turn to mush when mixed later on with the rest of the ingredients in the salad.

Cool the beets, carrots and potatoes until cool enough to handle. I use a paper towel to help remove the skin from the cooked beets (it works like a charm) and use a butter knife to peel off the skin from the carrots and potatoes.

How To Roast Beets-1-6

Russian Beet Salad Vinegret -3Chop the beets, carrots and potatoes finely, so they are about the same size. Of course, you can chop them larger than I did, if you prefer.

Russian Beet Salad Vinegret -4Chop the pickles to be approximately the same size as the beets, carrots and potatoes. Finely mince the shallot or onion, whichever you are using.

Russian Beet Salad Vinegret -5Drain the sauerkraut. If the sauerkraut has really long pieces, you can chop them in half or thirds.

You can adjust the amount of vegetables to your taste preference. I like my vinegret to have a nice briny and tart flavor, so I add lots of pickles, sauerkraut and vinegar. In fact, I would add more of all of them, but try to restrict myself, since I’m not the only one eating this salad. You can add more or less beets or potatoes, for example. It’s totally up to you.

Mix all the vegetables, including the sauerkraut and pickles in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour in the sunflower oil and the vinegar. Mix to combine. Russian Beet Salad Vinegret -6Store in the refrigerator. You can make this salad up to 3 days in advance. You can also add fresh herbs right before serving, such as dill, green onions or parsley. Russian Beet Salad Vinegret -9

Russian Beet Salad "Vinegret" - Винегрет
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 medium-large beets, cooked and finely chopped
  • 2 medium-large potatoes, cooked and finely chopped
  • 3 medium-large carrots, cooked and finely chopped
  • ¾-1 cup sauerkraut, drained
  • 6 baby dill pickles, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot (you can also use ¼ of a red or yellow onion), finely minced
  • salt, ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup sunflower oil (or any oil you prefer)
  • 1 - 1½ Tablespoons white vinegar
Instructions
  1. Cook the beets in boiling water or roast the beets until tender. I prefer to roast beets. To see a step by step tutorial on how to roast beets, click HERE.
  2. In another pot, place the potatoes and carrots. Cover the vegetables with cold water. Cover the pot, bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook just until the carrots and potatoes are both cooked through and you are able to pierce them all the way through with a paring knife. You want to make sure that they are cooked through all the way, but not too much, since they will otherwise fall apart and turn to mush when mixed later on with the rest of the ingredients in the salad.
  3. Cool the beets, carrots and potatoes until cool enough to handle. I use a paper towel to help remove the skin from the cooked beets (it works like a charm) and use a butter knife to peel off the skin from the carrots and potatoes.
  4. Chop the beets, carrots and potatoes finely, so that they are about the same size. Of course, you can chop them larger than I did if you prefer.
  5. Chop the pickles to be approximately the same size as the beets, carrots and potatoes. Finely mince the shallot or onion, whichever you are using.
  6. Drain the sauerkraut. If the sauerkraut has really long pieces, you can chop them in half or thirds.
  7. You can adjust the amount of vegetables to your taste preference. I like my vinegret to have a nice briny and tart flavor, so I add lots of pickles, sauerkraut and vinegar. In fact, I would add more of all of them, but try to restrict myself, since I'm not the only one eating this salad. You can add more or less beets or potatoes, for example. It's totally up to you.
  8. Mix all the vegetables, including the sauerkraut and pickles in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Pour in the sunflower oil and the vinegar. Mix to combine. Store in the refrigerator.
  10. You can make this salad up to 3 days in advance. You can also add fresh herbs right before serving, such as dill, green onions or parsley.

Russian Beet Salad Vinegret -8

12 Comments

  • Yuliya

    Hi Olga, i also like extra pickles and sauerkraut in my vinegret, i also at times add white beans to mine, my grandma did it this way

  • Natasha

    Hi Olga, I just wanted to say that growing up I didn’t like this salad much.. My mom made it with beans & just something about beans in this salad just wasn’t my fave.. I tried your recipe & LOVED it! It is going into my monthly salad rotation.. This batch lasted me about a week since it was mostly my hubby & I eating it. I loved having it in the fridge, also I didn’t have the Russian style souerkraut so I used just the regular sauerkraut that you buy at any grocery store & it was perfect! Thanks again:)

    • olgak7

      I’m so happy to hear that, Natasha. Even though sometimes I like to add beans to Vinegret, I really prefer it without. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the salad. I also enjoy having a batch of it in the refrigerator.

  • Betty Lou Bloodgood

    I am so happy that I discovered your site. I am Russian and I do make the recipes taught to me by my mom. Pierogi, halushka, stuffed cabbage, etc. However, you are introducing me to more. Thank You.

  • NF

    I had leftover sauerkraut(plain, ole, cooked, not my favorite), so I made this. I used canned vegetables because I’m lazy, added some sweetener to taste, let it sit a couple of days in the fridge. Dang, this is good! It’s also very pretty. Great recipe. I’m German and wish my mom had come up with this one as we ate a lot of sauerkraut. Wil make again. Thanks.

  • Monica

    Hi Olga, I’ve just discovered your blog, while searching for beet salad recipes. This salad is amazing, wonderful, excellent! I just love it.
    I am Polish, and very familiar with some dishes similar to Russian ones, but thanks to your blog I can find a lot of great recipes quite new to me, and so very tasty. Thank you!
    Sending my love from North Carolina.

  • Deisha Zilionis

    Hi Olga my great grandmother used to make it similar to this but my grandma changed it a lot, instead of carrot pickle and sauerkraut she used beans and peas and sour cream and left everything rather chunky in size. While it was always a tradition in our house for events like Christmas or birthdays etc I have since taken over the making of it and I prefers mine more like my great ndmother (similar to this reciepe) but I didn’t know about the carrots. The rest of the family prefers the more traditional version too but the other kind is nice when after something creamier

Leave a Comment