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.
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; other vegetables that are sometimes used to make this salad include green beans, corn, and beets. 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:
Ensalada rusa is a classic potato salad served throughout Latin America, made with potatoes, carrots, peas, apples, celery, onion, and mayonnaise.
- 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 (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.