This colorful and flavorful Cabbage and beet salad is a must-try for anyone who enjoys a good hearty salad. Originating from Eastern Europe, it is also known as the Russian Vinaigrette Salad. It’s a beautiful dish with a combination of beets, potatoes, carrots, onions, and pickles. Each ingredient adds its distinctive flavor and, when mixed together, creates a symphony of tastes that will make your taste buds dance.
The beets provide a slightly sweet taste, the potatoes add a creamy texture, and the pickles give a crunchy, sour, and tangy flavor. Top it off with a little olive oil and vinegar, and you have a perfect salad that is both healthy and satisfying. If you are looking for a new dish and a healthier option for lunch, Russian Vinaigrette Salad is worth a try!
Where does Cabbage & Beet Salad come from?
The Cabbage and beet salad (or Russian vinaigrette salad) is thought to have originated in the early 20th century during the Soviet era. At that time, many ingredients such as potatoes, beets, pickles, and cabbage were widely available and affordable, making them perfect for creating simple, hearty dishes. The salad gained popularity due to its easy preparation, gorgeous color, and the fact that it could be made in large batches and served cold. It turned out to be the perfect dish for holiday celebrations and outdoor activities.
The ingredients of European beet salad are simple but varied. The main vegetables include boiled potatoes (I use Air Fryer Baked Potatoes instead), carrots, beets, pickles, and sauerkraut. Please see the picture below.
Sometimes these are mixed with canned beans, and chopped onions. The salad is dressed with vegetable oil and a little vinegar, with some recipes calling for mustard or mayonnaise as well. The result is a colorful and flavorful salad that's both healthy and hearty, perfect for any occasion.
How to make
Prep the vegetables. To start, boil the beets, potatoes, and carrots until they are soft and fully cooked. Once cooked, peel them and chop them into small cubes. Please see the picture above for reference. Next, chop the onion and dill pickle into small pieces.
Mix the vegetables. Place the diced beets, potatoes, carrots, onion, and dill pickles in a large mixing bowl. Mix the vegetables well so that they are evenly distributed.
Dress the Salad. To make the dressing for the Russian vinaigrette salad, mix 2 teaspoons of olive oil with 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar. Pour the dressing over the mixed vegetables and stir until all the ingredients are coated with the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Chill and Serve. Evenly distribute the dressing, cover the bowl, and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. This step will allow the flavors to meld together and give the salad time to chill. Serve the chilled Russian vinaigrette salad as a side dish or a light and healthy meal.
Notes and Variations
- Add onions. I love how this salad stands out with the addition of half a cup of finely chopped red or white onion. The onion adds a pop of sharp flavor that cuts through the sweetness of the beets and balances the savory potatoes. The onion also adds a lovely texture to the salad. Its crunchiness complements the creaminess of the potatoes and the softness of the other vegetables.
- Add green onion or dill. The inclusion of finely chopped green onion or dill in this Potato Beet Salad is not simply a garnish; it is a vital ingredient that creates a harmony of taste and texture in the salad.
- For a quicker alternative to boiling vegetables, you can use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to steam vegetables. Or you can make them in half the time, by cooking Air fryer Beets, Air fryer Baked Potatoes, and Air-fried roasted carrots.
- Add mayo. I love adding a tablespoon or two. The addition of mayonnaise creates a creamier texture and balances out the tangy flavors from the vinegar and pickles. It also adds a touch of richness to the dish without overpowering the other ingredients.
- Optional - some people add canned drained peas or beans to the Russian vinaigrette salad. I'm not a fan of either peas or beans in my salad, so I skip these. Feel free to skip or give them a try if you like peas.
The cultural significance of the Russian vinaigrette salad goes beyond its taste and preparation. Many Russians, like myself, associate the salad with fond memories of childhood, family gatherings, and holidays. It's a dish that's often served during the New Year's Eve celebration. Which is one of the biggest holidays of the year in Russia. The red and green colors of the salad are said to symbolize the New Year's spirit. They are often taken as a sign of good luck and prosperity.
May I also recommend?
- Air Fryer Beet Chips
- Cucumber-Radish Salad - Light and creamy
- Arugula and Pear Salad with Goat Cheese
- Air fryer Cabbage
Cabbage and beet salad (Russian Vinaigrette Salad)
- 1 Beets Large or 2 medium (About 1,5 cups)
- 2 Potatoes Medium, Russet (about 2 cups)
- 2 Carrots Medium (About half a cup)
- 4 Pickles large, or 6-8 medium (About 1 cup)
- 1 cup Sauerkraut drained
- ½ teaspoon salt Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon Extra virgin Olive oil or Avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon Red wine Vinegar Or lemon juice (or white vinegar)
- In a medium pot, boil unpeeled beets for 1 hour or until it can easily be pierced with a knife. Or use canned beets which don’t require any cooking or ready cooked beets.In a separate pot, boil potatoes and carrots about 30-20-inutes or until a knife goes smoothly through the potatoes.For a quicker alternative to boiling vegetables, you can use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to steam vegetables, or you can make them in half the time faster, by cooking Air fryer Beets, Air fryer Baked Potatoes, and Air-fried roasted carrots.
- Drain the cooked vegetables. Place them on a plate and Let them cool to room temperature.
- Peel the skins from the potatoes, beets and carrots, than dice pickles, beets, potatoes, carrots into a small cubes. (Approximately ¼ inch cubes) You can use a food chopper if you have any to make the process faster. Otherwise it doesn't take long to dice cooked vegetables. Also you can shred the beets on the food shredder instead of dicing it.
- Mix the vegetables. Place the diced beets, potatoes, carrots, onion, and dill pickles in a large mixing bowl. Mix the vegetables well so that they are evenly distributed.
- Dress the Salad. To make the dressing for the Russian vinaigrette salad, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Pour the dressing over the mixed vegetables and stir until all the ingredients are coated with the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.Chill and Serve. Once the dressing is evenly distributed, cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. This step will allow the flavors to meld together and give the salad time to chill. Serve the chilled Russian vinaigrette salad as a side dish or a light and healthy meal.