Ensalada rusa, which translates as Russian salad, is a classic potato salad served throughout Latin America, made with potatoes, carrots, peas, apples, celery, onion, and mayonnaise. For the longest time I had no idea why it had that name, especially since this potato salad (or some variation of it) is served as a side dish for so many different Latin meals. Then one day when I living in Austin I met some Russians and at one of their parties they served this salad, then it hit me that the salad probably really did come from Russia; some other things that I found out that day was that the popular songs played at the end of street parties in Ecuador (Casachok and Moscow) were also very Russian and were also danced at the same party – just when you think that there is no connection between Ecuador and Russia, then you find out there is a food + music connection.
Russian (Latin American) potato salad: Ensalada rusa
- 3 ½ lbs russet potatoes about 4 large potatoes, peeled, boiled and diced
- 1 lb carrots about 6-7 medium size carrots, peeled, boiled and diced
- 8 oz peas/corn about 1 cup, boiled for less than 3 minutes
- 6 celery stalks finely diced, about 1 cup
- 1- 2 apples peeled and diced
- 1 cup diced white onion about ½ onion
- Lime juice from 1-2 limes
- 1 small garlic clove crushed
- 1 cup homemade mayonnaise
- 1 tbs finely chopped cilantro parsley or dill- optional
- Salt to taste
- Mix all of the ingredients together, chill until ready to serve.
This potato and vegetable salad is great for picnics and is an excellent side dish for any meat/poultry/seafood dish (especially grilled dishes). There are so many variations of this classic potato salad, some even without the potatoes, but this one – at least for me – is the main one: potatoes, peas, carrots, apples, celery and mayonnaise. I like to add a little bit of lime juice, onions and garlic just to spice it up a little bit without turning it into a completely different version. I also prefer to use homemade mayonnaise; just because it is tastier, but regular store bought mayo is fine.
Some people don’t include the apples, but I love the crunch and sweetness that they add to the salad (it’s a very typical addition in my hometown of Loja). Other vegetables that are sometimes used to make this salad include green beans, corn, and beets. Some variations of Russian salad also add shredded cooked chicken, pieces of ham, hard boiled egg (inside or as a garnish), pickles.
I especially love making this salad during spring and summer because it is a great way to use all that fresh produce, but I also make this salad using frozen veggies when I’m in a hurry or during the winter.
Here are a couple of other versions that you might enjoy:
Step by step preparation photos for ensalada rusa potato salad