This sort-of-traditional Russian beet salad is cheap, healthy, and easy to make.
One of the best parts of blogging is meeting people you’d never get to know otherwise. You might not actually get to meet in person, but you can hang out on various corners of the web, messaging and boosting each other’s scoial media ego.
One of those people is Tanya from Berry Maple. She’s Russian American, but her blog style is healthy family meals and other various treats. She’d just returned from a Siberian trip and I was pressing her for her favorite Russian meals. At first she deflected kindly, saying there were not many Russian dishes that were all plant based. I was like, “um, not to totally stereotype Russian food, but don’t y’all have lots of beets? How about something with root veg?”
And that’s when she told me about vinegret, which is beets tossed with some other root veggies, vingar (stunner, I know), and pickles. I fell in love with the idea, and immediately bastardized it. Because food bloggers are really good at bastardizing almost anything.
I am a lemon lover, so I subbed all the vinegar with just fresh-squeezed lemon juice. While I’m sure many kinds of pickles would work in this dish, I wanted to use turnip pickles. Only, uh, I didn’t have any turnip pickles. So no pickles in this.
I usually advocate waiting until the last possible moment before adding salad dressing. Keeps things from gettin’ soggy and gross. But the opposite works best for this recipe. You want to add the dressing (lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, caraway, and garlic) several hours prior to serving. It allows the flavors to mellow together, instead of just sitting on the surface.
This makes a huge huge batch, so feel free to cut it down if you want to. Or you can keep the original proportions to bring to a potluck or what have you. Happy Friday!
PS if you’re lookin’ for a beet salad with a few more greens in it, check out this crunchy beet-kale salad from Hunger Thirst Play. It’s got some cheese in it, but you can totally skip it and add some tahini instead.
Russian Beet Salad (vinegret)
- 1 1/2 lbs potatos
- 1 1/2 lbs carrots
- 2 lbs beets
- 1 medium-size purple onion
- 1/2 of a purple cabbage (about 1 lbs worth of purple cabbage)
for the dressing:
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 2 tsp grated or crushed garlic
- 2 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
- salt to taste
- Peel and dice the potatoes, beets, carrots, and onion.
- Bring some water to a boil and allow the potatoes and beets to boil, covered for 20 minutes over medium heat. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking.
- While the carrots and potatoes are cooking, steam the beets. You can either steam them over the same pot you’re using to boil, or use a separate pot. Beets should steam for about 10 minutes.
- Mince the cabbage till very small.
- Toss the cabbage, the potatoes, the beets, the carrots, and the onion together.
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Let sit several hours if possible.
- Serve with love.