Ensalada Rusa is a beautiful pink potato salad that has soft beets, carrots and peas, hard boiled eggs, crunchy celery and onions, and is folded into a delicious pink creamy mayonnaise based dressing.
Puerto Rican potato salads are a favorite during the holidays and at family gatherings. During the summer months, I love to serve our potato salad with shrimp, at regular gatherings and during Thanksgiving, I make my favorite Puerto Rican potato salad with apples (so good). If you have a family member who is going keto, this keto egg salad with chayote is a must make!
What is ensalada Rusa? | What is Russian Potato Salad?
Originally developed in Russia by French chef Lucien Olivier during the 19th century, the Russian potato salad has made it's way across land and sea, taking on new spins, and then finally when it was introduced to Puerto Rico, it quickly became a Puerto Rican potato salad whose name reflects it's origin.
A beautiful pink potato salad, ensalada Rusa is easily made with typical potato salad ingredients, with the addition of beets and peas!
How To Make Ensalada Rusa
To make ensalada Rusa, start by boiling your potatoes and carrots until fork tender.
Carrots take longer to cook through than potatoes, so always chop your carrots a little smaller than the potatoes. I personally like my potato salad to have smaller chunks of potatoes (about only an inch big).
During this time, I also like to hard boil my eggs. (My favorite method to hard boil eggs is in the Instant Pot, learn more here.)
Once you drain your potatoes and carrots, add in the finely chopped red onions and celery.
In my Facebook group, member Diana shared that she grates her non-cooked vegetables for a different texture! Let me know in the comments below if you're team chop or grate!
Next, add in your chopped cooked beets and your drained can of peas. I like to save a few tablespoon of the peas to place on top once the ensalada Rusa is mixed, for presentation.
I use a can of beets, I drain (and set aside) the beet juice, dice the beets into small chunks, and dump it in, then run to rinse my hands. (It's messy.)
You can use fresh beets, if desired.
How To Cook Fresh Beets For Russian Potato Salad
Boiling is the easiest way to cook beets. Depending on the size of the beets, it will take anywhere between 30-60 minutes. Boil the beets, with the skin still on.
Once the beets are fork tender, transfer the beets (reserve the water in the pot), to an ice bath. Once you can touch safely, peel the skin (it should come right off).
Rinse the peeled beets and chop it finely. The colored water from boiling will be used for the sauce.
Russian Salad Dressing Recipe
What I love about Puerto Rican potato salads is the sauce. This Russian salad dressing tastes amazing! To be honest, I was nervous how it would taste, but beets are naturally sweet and earthy, which compliments the vinegar and paprika that is in the Russian salad dressing recipe.
To make this Russian salad dressing recipe you'll mix together the ingredients for the dressing before adding in the beet juice. I personally have to taste as I go to see if it needs more vinegar or sugar. Once I find that right balance, start spooning in the beet juice without over mixing the sauce.
Once the sauce is the right hue of pink, taste one final time to see if it needs to be adjusted at all (everyone will have a different preference).
Pour the Russian salad dressing over the ensalada Rusa and gently fold it together with a rubber spatula (helps to keep potatoes and ingredients from breaking).
At this point, taste it. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if necessary.
Transfer the ensalada Rusa to a serving bowl and crumble the boiled eggs over the top, along with a few spoons of drained peas for presentation.
This pink potato salad should be covered and refrigerated at least 30 minutes before serving. Also, remember that the sauce is dairy based, so keep refrigerated until it's time to serve.
What to serve with ensalada Rusa
Since this is a Christmas potato salad recipe, we're sharing what's traditionally served during Christmas at Puerto Rico.
- Puerto Rican Ham (Pineapple and cloves will make your house smell amazing!)
- Puerto Rican Rice
- Yuca con mojo (Cassava with a pickled onion sauce)
- Coquito (A coconut rum drink)
- 6 red potatoes peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks of carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- ¼ cup of chopped red onions
- 15 oz can of beets chopped (juice reserved)
- 15 oz can of peas rinsed
- 4 eggs hard boiled and crumbled
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons of white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of paprika
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons of beet juice
- In a large pot, boil potatoes and carrots in salted water until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place into a large mixing bowl.
- Add in carrot, celery, onions, beets, and peas.
- In a medium bowl, mix sauce ingredients to create sauce.
- Pour sauce over potato mixture.
- Gently fold all of the ingredients together.
- Sprinkle crumbled eggs over the potato salad, cover and refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.