Russian (Latin American) potato salad: Ensalada rusa
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. The exact ingredients vary from one region to another and each family has their own version of this dish.
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 had a Russian connection.Jump to Recipe
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are a couple of other versions that you might enjoy:
Shrimp potato salad
Broccoli and corn potato salad
I’m half russian and this is my favorite russian dish, i add boiled chicken to it eggs potatoes chopped pickles peas yum so good!
Hi, nice site; I just found it.
I love this salad. I think in France it is called Salade Russe.
I’m told that the original, invented by a French Chef named Olivier who had a restaurant in Moscow in the 19th century, was much more elaborate and included crayfish–the dressing was the secret.
Here are the ingredients given to me by a Russian student’s mother:
(Everything is diced.)
Ham or sausage
salt and pepper
mayonnaise with a dash of Dijon mustard and a little wine vinegar
garnish with chives and a slice of egg on top (be sure to salt the egg)
She told me that mayonnaise in Russia tends to have a stronger mustard content than in the US, hence the dash of Dijon. She also suggested that I serve it stuffed in a tomato (from a farm stand for better flavor!) on a bed of bib lettuce as a first course for lunch or for a summer dinner. I’ve followed her advice, and I always get compliments because this salad isn’t so well-known in the US.
Thanks, Christopher. I will definitely try this Russian version.
Can I make this salad a day before? I need it for a dinner party. how long does it last in frige?
Hi Mar – Yes, you can make the day before. It can be kept for 3-4 days in the fridge.
I made this last night and it came out SO GOOD! I havent had this salad since I lived in Ecuador and I still cant believe I actually made it myself. I also added a little bit of chives and used olive oil mayo. Thanks for this amaze recipe *_*
I really love salads. Thanks for sharing this recipe…
I love your website..My husband is from Ecuador and Im from El Salvador and she just loves that I cook Ecuadorian food ever since I found your website. Thanks for taking your time and giving us these great receipes.
I can see how this salad is thought to have Russian roots. We have a salad called Olivie, and this is how most of the people make it:
*any kind of meat (deli meats or chicken/turkey are the most popular choices)
*Potatoes (boiled, peeled, and cubed)
*Carrots (boiled, peeled, and cubed)
*Eggs (boiled, peeled, and cubed)
*Peas (1 can)
*Pickles (the salty/crunchy kind – cubed)
*salt (and some people add pepper)
I was born and raised in Russia, and this is extremely popular salad, but I have never met anyone who adds celery or garlic – that must be South American modification.. =)
Love this salad the ensalada rusia in Dominican Republic is similar but uses beets.
i have just tried your dish…and it was definitely amazing. Am quite eager to try your other dishes.
In Estonia, this salad is usually made with potatoes, carrots, boiled eggs, marinated peas and ghurkins, sometimes onion and apple and mayo.
And it is considered as the ultimate birthday and celebration dish. But most definitely I am going to try out your lovely fresh veggies Ensalada Rusa;)