Starters/ tapas

Ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad)

Ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad)

Although the original Russian salad is native to Russia, in Spain there is a modern version of this salad, typically served as a tapa or a starter during summer, as it is served cold. The original Russian salad consisted basically of boiled potatoes, meat and mayonnaise. However, the Spanish version includes boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, canned tuna, carrots and peas, all decorated with mayonnaise, white asparagus, olives and roast red pepper. There are other ingredients that can be added, such as boiled green beans or shrimps, but this is the basic and easiest recipe to prepare ensaladilla rusa:

Serves 6-8


Ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad)
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  • water
  • 450 g (16 oz) potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 50 g (1-2 oz) shrimps, (optional)
  • 20 olives
  • 3 tbsp canned peas
  • 200 g (6 oz) canned tuna, drained
  • 350 ml (1-2 cups) mayonnaise2 roasted red peppers
  • 4-5 white asparagus
  • white wine vinegar and olive oil (optional, for dressing)


  1. In a large pan, pour water.
  2. Wash the potatoes and add them (unpeeled) to the pan with cold water.
  3. Peel the carrots and add them to the pan with the potatoes. Bring to a boil, add salt and cook for 25 minutes on a low heat.
  4. After that time, wash the eggs and add them to the pan too, carefully, as they could break. Cook all the ingredients for 10 minutes more.
  5. Drain the water and let all the vegetables temper until they are cool enough to handle with your bare hands.
  6. Cool the eggs under running water and remove shells
  7. Peel the potatoes.russian salad, ensaladilla rusa
  8. If you are using shrimps, put a small pan with water and salt on the stove. When the water is boiling, add the shrimps. When the water boils again, cook for just a couple of minutes and then remove from the pan. Set aside and let them cool down.
  9. Dice the potatoes and eggs (set aside 1 egg yolk for decorating).
  10. Chop the carrots alongside, in quarters and then dice them.
  11. Slice the olives (set aside 6-8 whole olives for decorating)
  12. In a large bowl, pour the potatoes, eggs, carrots and olives.
  13. Drain the canned peas and tuna (crumbled) and add them to the salad. Mix well.
  14. Adjust seasoning.
  15. Add part of the mayonnaise and mix again.
  16. If desired, you can slightly dress the salad with white wine vinegar and olive oil.
  17. When all the ingredients are well mixed, smooth the top of the Russian salad, preparing for decoration, and cover with the rest of mayonnaise.
  18. Cut the roasted red peppers into strips.
  19. Sprinkle with the egg yolk (crumbled) and decorate with olives, asparagus and roasted red pepper strips.

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