This Russian Beet Salad is made from grated cooked beets, combined with mayo and sour cream for creaminess. Garlic and chopped nuts complete the flavor and texture profile.
Welcome to Day 2 of Beet Week! If you have missed yesterday's intro, check it out here.
There also is a giveaway for an awesome food processor (at the bottom) and a recipe for delicous red (beet) pasta in yesterday's post.
So yesterday, we had beets for dinner as an awesome pasta, and today, we have beet salad. Yum!
Beets Have a Transforming, Fascinating Flavor Profile
I am always amazed with beets. First of all, there is the amazing, intoxicating colour once you remove the (sometimes very dirty-looking) skin.
And then there is the flavor. Raw, they taste so earthy and kind of wild. Then you cook (or roast) them and they turn almost sweet! I am not saying that the earthiness completely disappears when they are cooked, but (depending on cooking time) it is greatly reduced.
This flavor transformation is definitely happening in this Russian Beet Salad as well.
This Russian Recipe Comes From Mom
As with most Russian recipes (or more accurately the countries of the Former Soviet Union), I learned this beet salad from my mom. I have helped her make this salad on many occasions, but usually I was just grating the beets. I let my mom apply her expertise in fine-tuning the remaining ingredients for a perfect creamy texture.
This harvest season, I suddenly found myself with a surplus of beets. With my mom 8 hours away, I decided it was time to learn to make this Russian Beet Salad all by myself - from start to finish.
The Recipe Begins With Cooking the Beets
First, the beets must be cooked. I place them in a saucepan covered in water and boil them on medium heat until they are very soft. This takes 45-60 minutes. You can also roast the beets in the oven or steam them in the Instant Pot.
Next, I need disposable gloves. They are essential when preparing red beets and you don't want to run around with stained fingers for the next 24 hours or so.
Once the beets are cooked, you can pretty much just pull off the skin - no need for a peeler. To grate the beets, a food processor with shredding disc comes in very handy (Hint hint: I am giving one away here). But since they are quite soft when cooked, a handheld grater does a quick job too.
Add Garlic, Mayo/Sour Cream, and Nuts!
The salad is seasoned with just salt + pepper, parsley, and a healthy dose of pressed or grated garlic. The garlic is a perfect companion to beets (in my opinion), but feel free to scale down the garlic to taste.
The creaminess of the salad comes from a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream. The amounts I mention in the recipe box below are approximates. Since beets don't come in all uniform sizes, feel free to also adjust these as needed.
And now my favorite part of the salad: nuts! I love the crunchy texture contrast that the nuts (use pecans or walnuts) provide to the creamy salad.
A few more nuts and parsley for garnish and there you have a colorful and oh-so-flavorful salad!
Creamy Russian Beet Salad
- 3 medium beets ~1.5 pounds/680 g
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- ¼ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves pressed or grated
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- extra parsley and nuts for garnish
- Cook the beets in a large saucepan with plenty of water until they are very soft (45-60 minutes).
- When the beets have cooled enough, pull off the peel (using disposable gloves) and grate the beets.
- Combine the grated beets with mayonnaise, sour cream, nuts, garlic, parsley and salt & pepper to taste.
- Garnish salad with nuts and parsley. Chill for at least 1 hour for flavors to meld together.
More Delicious, Colourful Salad Recipes
Check out these similar salad recipes!
Roasting beets will elevate the flavor. Just wash beets, put whole on a baking sheet, splash of olive oil on top, cover with foil and bake on 400-425 F for about 40-50 minutes. After trying this method, never boil beets ever again for all of my salads, borsch etc
Betts are so delicious! Making this salad for dinner tonight 🙂
Jennifer @ Leelalicious
Roasting the beets is a wonderful suggestion, Oksana! Let us know how you enjoyed the salad! 🙂
Great recipe! I recommend soaking prunes in warm water for 1-2 minutes, dice and mix into the salad. Also, add a splash of apple cider vinegar 🙂
What an interesting addition! I will have to try it with prunes next time
Being Russian, I would like to add that next time to make the salad even better you can add raisins or currants, after a couple of hours in the salad they soak in the excessive liquid and bring some nice sweetness, you can also add green apples. - So, basically, you can mix everything or change the salad every time you make it! However, I never added parsley to the salad, sounds interesting, I should try that some day.
Thank you for your comment Maria. That's so interesting, I've never had this salad with raisins. And green apples sound awesome for some extra crunch!
Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen
In my mind, beets and Slavic recipes are essentially synonymous, so I'm loving the Russian recipe! Family recipes are the best- and only 6 tablespoons of creamy ingredients has me hooked!
So happy to hear from a fellow beet/Slavic food lover. When you divide the 6 tablespoons by 6 servings its only 1 🙂 but I'll be the first to admit I usually eat more than my share of this sala .