Vinegret is a classic Russian and Ukrainian beet salad, popular all over Eastern Europe. If you've ever been to a Russian party, holiday celebration or wedding, you've probably had Vinegret (Винегрет)!
Vinaigrette vs Vinegret
Don't confuse this Vinegret with the French version, which is a salad dressing. The vinaigrette which most people think of is a mixture of oil and something acidic like vinegar. The Russian Vinegret is a hearty salad made from root vegetables, served as a side dish, an appetizer, or you can eat it on it's own.
Pickled Cabbage or Sauerkraut?
This is based on my sister-in-law Natasha's Vinegret Recipe. I don't like all different varieties of Vinegrets out there. I've had versions with kidney beans, some add peas, and others add mustard. I've always love her recipe and finally decided to figure out the secret. It was her homemade pickled cabbage.
Quick Pickled Cabbage has a milder flavor and is crunchier when comparing to store bought sauerkraut. It's really easy to make the night before. Either you use a Mandolin Slicer to finely slice, or carefully chop the cabbage into thin strips. Toss in a brine solution and leave overnight, it's that easy. Check out my recipe for Quick Pickled Cabbage. The brine also adds the right flavor of acidity instead of sauerkraut. She also adds a bit of fresh garlic to the salad. Just a small clove makes such a difference. These are the secrets to her delicious Vinegret, just hits the spot for me.
Do I have to peel the vegetables?
There are a lot of famous Russian salads, such as Olivier Salad (Olivye) or Herring Under a Fur Coat Salad. For some reason, the root vegetables are always boiled without peeling, and then scraped and peeled afterwards. There are a few different thoughts as to why this was the case, but I never do that. It's perfectly ok to peel your vegetables before boiling them. I find it's easier and quicker, and doesn't impact the flavor whatsoever. I'm sorry I'm breaking with tradition, but I hate peeling soft, cooked vegetables!
My final tip is to buy a vegetable chopper. You're going to need it when making Russian salads. They are all hearty and filled with root vegetables, all diced the same size. That is a lot of hand chopping. Pushing the cooked vegetables through the chopper, does all the hard work for you. It will be the best $25 you ever spent.
A classic beet salad, popular in Russia and beyond. Incredibly healthy from the beets (we all need more beets) and is vegan and gluten free. A salad that eats like a meal, with no lettuce in sight. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Vinegret Russian Beet Salad (Винегрет)
- 3 large beets
- 4 medium potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 4 dill pickles
- 1 green onion chopped
- 1 cup pickled cabbage sauerkraut
- 2 tablespoon brine from the pickled cabbage
- 1 bunch of dill chopped
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel all the root vegetables. Place the beets in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the beets are soft when poked with a fork, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- In a separate pot, place the peeled potatoes and carrots in another pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil until they are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Place the cooked vegetables in cold ice water and allow to cool before proceeding. Dice the cooked vegetables into small cubes. Much easier if you use a vegetable chopper.
- Mix all the vegetables together with the green onion, pickled cabbage, dill, garlic and vegetable oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Easily keeps in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.