Vinegret or also known as Russian Vinaigrette Salad is made with beets, potatoes, pickles and dressed with olive oil. It is a healthy salad served during celebrations in many Slavic countries.

Vinegret salad garnished with dill in black bowl.

I grew up in Ukraine eating vinegret salad (Винегрет) a lot during birthdays, special occasions and especially for New Year’s Eve. It appeared along with its cousin Olivier salad on every table in post-soviet states.

According to Wikipedia, it is Russian vinaigrette salad. But because there is a lot of overlap of cuisines in Eastern Europe, this beet salad is cooked and enjoyed by everyone. Slavic people love beets and you will have a hard time finding one who hasn’t tried this delicious salad at least once. It is a staple in Ukrainian cooking.

Its main ingredients are beets combined with other boiled vegetables, pickles and traditionally dressed in sunflower oil. Some cooks add sauerkraut, kidney beans or green peas but it’s less common.

Vinegret salad is naturally vegan, full of fiber and low in calories. Let’s make it!

Ingredients You Will Need

Beets, carrots, potato, onion, pickles, olive oil, toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper.

Vinegret recipe consists of 9 simple ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen already.

  • Red beets: Beets are a main ingredient in this salad. Pick firm beets at the grocery store. Shriveled beetroot is old. You can also use pre-cooked beets sealed in vacuum packaging or canned beets. I prefer to use fresh vegetables.
  • Carrots: Just a few and not too many, so carrots don’t make salad too sweet. Like for a potato salad.
  • Potatoes: I like to use yellow potatoes, Yukon gold or red skin potatoes. Russet potatoes tend to fall apart and are best to use for mashed potatoes.
  • Onion: A little bit of yellow onion or I prefer white onion. Red onion will work great too!
  • Pickles: Use dill pickles and not sweet pickles. They add tangy taste and crunchy texture to this vegetable salad. You can also use sauerkraut instead.
  • Oils: To mimic the classic taste of sunflower oil, I like to use a combination of extra virgin olive oil and toasted sesame oil. Make sure you buy toasted sesame oil. Otherwise, just olive oil is fine.
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make Vinaigrette Salad

To make Russian vinaigrette salad, you will need to plan about 2 hours ahead, so boiled vegetables have enough time to cool off for chopping.

Step by step process how to make vinegret salad.
  1. Cook beets: You want to cook beets separately from carrots and potatoes to avoid everything turning pink. In a medium pot, add beets, cover with cold water and cook for about an hour or until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a paring knife.
  2. Boil potatoes and carrots: Add carrots and potatoes to another medium sized pot, cover with cold water and cook for about 20 minutes or until they easily pierce with a knife.
  3. Cool and chop veggies: After you want to drain both veggies and leave them uncovered to cool off until safe to handle, a few hours. Then using a paring knife, peel them and chop into small cubes of same size. Also chop pickled cucumbers and onion.
  4. Dress and combine: Transfer all ingredients as you dice them into a large bowl, then drizzle with oils, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir and I highly recommend to refrigerate vinegret salad before enjoying. Like a potato salad, that’s when vinegret tastes best!

Recipe Tip

Do not overcook root vegetables as you want them to be firm and hold their shape for chopping and stirring. If using canned beets, make sure to rinse with cold water and drain well.

Tips for Best Results

Here are a few tips and tricks I learnt from grandma and mom to make the best traditional Russian beet salad.

  • Mess-free beets: I love to cook beets in Instant Pot because they are ready fast and my stove stays clean. Truth is beets splatter a lot during boiling.
  • To speed up veggies cooling down: Do not place them back on the burner on the stove. Instead, place in a cold place. Grandma always cooled cooked veggies for salad outside on a patio.
  • Do not peel vegetables before cooking: It will make them fall apart.
  • Pick thick carrots: Carrots can be a pain to peel. First of all, peel them with a paring knife crosswise and not lengthwise. Also, thicker carrots are much easier to peel than skinny ones. You can also cut them in halves before cooking to fit into the pot.
  • Extra optional garnish: You can add a few tablespoons of chopped green onions, fresh parsley or fresh dill. Since Ukraine lived off of seasonal produce, we didn’t add fresh herbs because they weren’t available most of the year.

Serving Vinegret

Vinegret is usually served cold after it has chilled in the fridge for a few hours. It’s a great make ahead salad, especially during busy holiday time or on hot summer days.

Russian vinaigrette is served as part of a spread, in a large bowl. Some cooks like to add it into a small bowl, then turn upside down onto each individual plate.

Outside of special occasions, I like to enjoy a heaping dose of this salad with a fresh slice of rye bread. So good! Serve it as a side dish during your next BBQ, potluck or any celebration. This cold salad goes so well in summer with grilled meats like grilled chicken breast or proteins like pan fried lamb chops.

Storing

Vinegret will last in an airtight container for about 4 days. The flavor will continue to develop as all ingredients keep marinating, making for amazing leftovers. Just like borscht, it tastes better next day!

It does not freeze well, so I would advise against it. Once thawed, cooked vegetables will turn into mush.

More Ukrainian Salad Recipes

Russian vinaigrette salad garnished with dill in white bowl with a spoon.

Vinegret Salad

Vinegret or also known as Russian Vinaigrette Salad is made with beets, potatoes, pickles and dressed with olive oil. It is a healthy salad served during celebrations in many Slavic countries.
5 from 3 votes
Servings 8
Calories 100
Diet Vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 large beets
  • 1 extra large yukon gold potato or red potato or 2 large ones
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1/3 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 4 baby dill pickles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • In a medium pot, add beets and enough cold water to cover. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for about 1 hour or until beets can be easily pierced with a fork.
  • At same time, in another medium pot, add carrots, potatoes and enough cold water to cover. Place the lid on top, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.
  • Drain both pots with veggies and set uncovered to cool off until safe to handle, about 2 hours.
  • Using a paring knife, peel beets, carrots and potatoes. It's easier to peel carrots crosswise. Then chop into small pieces. Also dice pickles and onion. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, toasted sesame oil (if using) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir gently but thoroughly until well combined. Refrigerate vinegret for about 2 hours, taste and adjust any seasonings to taste, if you wish.
  • Serve salad chilled.

Notes

  • Store: Vinegret will last in an airtight container for about 4 days. It does not freeze well, so I would advise against it.
  • To speed up veggies cooling down: Do not place them back on the burner on the stove. Instead, place in a cold place. Grandma always cooled cooked veggies for salad outside on a patio.
  • Do not peel vegetables before cooking: It will make them fall apart.
  • Pick thick carrots: Carrots can be a pain to peel. First of all, peel them with a paring knife crosswise and not lengthwise. Thicker carrots are much easier to peel then skinny ones. You can also cut them in halves before cooking to fit into the pot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 537mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. My mom (Russian) used to make this, embellished with kielbasa, hard boiled egg, green beans and my sister, niece and I still make this – my husband (English background ) loves it as well Thank you for all your Great recipes – so many bring back fond memories from childhood
    And up to now 💞

  2. 5 stars
    My mom used to make Vinegret all the time when I was a kid. How happy I was to see your recipe. It is just like my mom used to make. Thank you for sharing this with us

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