Recipe: Ukrainian Beet Salad | Salat Vinagret


Well, hello. Today we’re biting into a very pink salad.

There’s not a lot of pink food I can think of besides strawberry ice cream. There’s certainly not a lot of savory pink food. Unless you live in Ukraine, where beets reign supreme.

Beets are one of Ukraine’s most beloved root vegetables, and for good reason. They’re packed with fiber, vitamins A, B & C, magnesium, and iron. When they’re not mixed up in borsch, beets make their way into salad vinagret.  This salad is a vegan meal unto itself as it includes potatoes, carrots, peas, and sauerkraut. Some recipes swap the peas and sauerkraut for white beans and chopped pickles.


Salat Vinagret is funny, because there’s nothing vinegar about it. In fact, there’s no dressing added. The only “tang” comes from the sauerkraut, and the only seasoning from a bit of salt, pepper, and oil.

Done and done. 

The simplicity of this salad makes for a great summer supper, or autumn side dish (perhaps next to a few slices of pot roast).

We used canned, sliced beets to save even more time, though you could certainly roast your own. (P.S Have you heard about roasting them in the crock pot? Epic.)

Makes a large bowl (serves 10-12 as a side)


3-4 golden potatoes, cubed
5-7 carrots, cubed
2 cups frozen peas
2 cans sliced beets, drained and cubed
a few dill pickles, cubed, OR 15 oz can sauerkraut, rinsed & drained

olive oil (be generous)
salt & pepper (be generous)


The best way to get perfectly cut veggies is to cut them before cooking them.

Steam the cubed potatoes and carrots until tender.

Turn off heat, then add on the frozen peas. Shut lid and let the residual heat from the vegetables steam the peas. Do not remove the lid for 10-15 minutes.

Next, add chopped beets to a large bowl.

Add on the steamed vegetables.

Finish with the pickles or sauerkraut, and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste.

The Ukrainian salad is even better the next day. Just be sure to taste it and see if it needs more salt or pepper.

Enjoy at the edge of a dream, in gorgeous Ukraine.

Perhaps at midnight, between here and there.

Train station Uzhhorod by night-by Elke Wetzig

Train station Uzhhorod by night-by Elke Wetzig

How do you like your beets?

Or are you one of those stubborn souls who just won’t… bite?

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  1. Gwen Larsen says:

    Beets are a favorite of Norwegians, too – possibly all Scandinavian countries, since they grow in poor soil (sandy, rocky) & can withstand drought & early freezes better than most. My mother grew lots and stored them in a “root cellar” below our basement, along with potatoes & onions, all winter. Plus she made big jars of beet pickles & plain, chopped ones for heating up with just salt & a little butter. I loved looking at their rich, magenta color in the rows of Mason jars in our basement…Seems fresh are pricey out here in CA., but canned is a good substitute. Makes me want to put that on my next grocery list so I can try out your Ukrainian recipe on the family this week! “mange talk!”

  2. My mother made beet soup and pickled beets when I was younger (many years ago) with recipes she got from my Dad’s mom who was from Poland. I ate them but they were not my favorite thing. My mom also made pierogi(some with cheese, some with blueberries), sauerkraut, stuffed cabbage and potato pancakes, all of which I had assumed were “Polish” food…

  3. I’ve been making this since trying it at a Russian deli in San Francisco and loving it.. A little sweet onion helps, too, and I use both sauerkraut and dill pickle chunks, plus some dill seasoning. Yum!

    The “vinagret” translates in Russian to “this and that” rather than vinegar.

  4. love beets…especially just “plain jane”

  5. Hello and thanks for including this recipe! As a Ukrainian, I can also recommend that you douse it with unrefined (very pungent) sunflower oil rather than olive, for both authenticity and taste ;)


  1. […] Or maybe you’d prefer to sample the other best potato salad you’ve ever had – Vinagret, complete with sauerkraut and very pink beets (also a big deal in Ukraine). (Recipe) […]

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