How to make real Russian vinaigrette (RECIPE)

Do you want to cook Russian vinaigrette like Russians do? These simple tricks can help!

Do you want to cook Russian vinaigrette like Russians do? These simple tricks can help!

Yulia Mulino
Vinaigrette is one of Russia’s most popular vegetarian salads. With such simple ingredients, it's hard to get it wrong. Still, there are some tricks you need to know in order to get the best results.

In my family, there’s a common salad that my grandmother used to make primarily during Lent. I like to make it especially in autumn, during beetroot season. We use classic ingredients: boiled beetroot, potatoes, carrots, pickled  cucumbers and onions. Many families also add pickled cabbage or white beans to the vinaigrette. If you have good homemade cabbage, I highly recommend trying this option. I'm going to share how to prepare it with the additional ingredient of lightly-salted cucumbers that makes the salad more authentic.

Firstly, as I already mentioned, you need to use pickled cucumbers rather than salted ones. Finding them outside of Russia can be problematic. As a replacement, I make homemade lightly-salted ones. You can make them quickly and easily (my recipe is below).

Secondly, when boiling the vegetables for the salad, I add extra seasoning into the water. In this case, bay leaf and black pepper work best.

I find that taste depends on how you slice the ingredients. Take the size of the peas as an example. All the other ingredients should also be sliced equally. This way, the salad looks prettier and creates a uniform texture, improving the taste.

My grandmother used to make vinaigrette with sunflower oil. I used the one made from roasted sunflower seeds that I brought from Moscow. But you can use any flavored oil you like; walnut oil would also work.

Onions are usually added to the vinaigrette to spice it up. I use fresh green onions, which have a milder flavor and refresh the whole salad with their color.

Recipe for vinaigrette:


  • Beetroot - 2 large ones
  • Potatoes - 2 
  • Carrots - 2 
  • Peas - 1 cup
  • Lightly-salted cucumber - 3 
  • Fresh cucumber - 1 
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Laurel leaf
  • Black pepper

Preparation of the vinaigrette:

1. Put potatoes, carrots and beetroots in cold water with bay leaf and black pepper. Boil until the vegetables are tender. Make sure they do not overcook. Check with a sharp knife.

2. Put the vegetables under cold running water for 30 seconds. This will help to remove the skins more easily.

3. Chop the potatoes into pea-sized pieces.

4. Repeat the same with the carrots, beetroot and cucumbers.

5. Place all ingredients in one large bowl. Add the chopped green onions.

6. Mix the salad, season it with salt and dress with oil.

7. Use another bowl to serve - this will keep the dish neat.

8. Enjoy!

Recipe for lightly-salted cucumbers:


For an 800 ml jar and 500 g cucumbers

  • Brine: 500 ml of hot water + a spoonful of coarse salt
  • Spices: garlic, pepper, bay leaf, dill seeds, horseradish and blackcurrant leaves

Preparation of lightly-salted cucumbers:

Wash the small cucumbers, trim on both sides. Pack the cucumbers and seasonings in a jar. Pour in the hot brine (almost boiling). When cool, leave the jar in the refrigerator overnight. The cucumbers will be lightly salted and won’t keep for long. 

READ MORE: How to cook borsch in a loaf of Borodinsky bread (RECIPE)


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