Russian Vinaigrette

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I can’t count anymore how often we made this dish! It is a Russian type of vegetable-salad and an absolute staple in our house. When we make vinaigrette, usually the whole family helps in preparation. A big bowl of vinaigrette is a nice family effort! The boys are helping to cut (and sample!) the vegetables, while the best husband and I do the peeling. Most of the time we eat vinaigrette just like that with a piece of bread. It is also nice as a side dish to grilled sausages, vegetables, cheese, etc., as part of a party buffet, or as a contribution to a potluck dinner.

One more comment about the relative amounts of the ingredients. There is not one correct way of preparing vinaigrette. In fact every family has its own recipe for preparing it. Even we vary our own recipe depending on the ingredients we have at hand or the mood of the day. We often use more beets, because he happen to have them, or less potatoes, because our little boy doesn’t fancy them, or we leave out the onion because small children are visiting. This is a very flexible and forgiving recipe! The picture above, for example, is our “baby-version”: no onions and greens, and the vegetables are cut into uneven chunks by little hands – but nevertheless, it was utterly delicious!

You need:

  • 4 red beets
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 small can peas
  • 4-6 pickled cucumbers (*)
  • small cup of sauerkraut – optional (**)
  • 1 small onion
  • bunch of parsley and dill
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • olive oil

How to make it:

  1. Boil beets, carrots and potatoes in their skin until tender. They can all be cooked in one big pot. Because the beets cook much longer than the other vegetables, we usually start taking out the carrots and potatoes earlier.
  2. Peel the vegetables and cut them into small cubes. The peeling of the carrots takes a bit of training and is, I admit, not my favorite task.
  3. Cut the pickles, onion and sauerkraut into small pieces.
  4. Combine everything in a large bowl and add drained peas, olive oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped parsley and dill. Combine well but carefully!
  5. Serve with fresh bread or as a side dish.

(*) Russian cucumbers are typically marinated in salt water. They taste similar to the pickles used in the US. In Germany it is more common to marinade cucumbers in a mixture of spices and vinegar. Depending which kind of cucumber you can get (or prefer), I suggest that you compensate with the addition of vinegar or salt respectively.

(**) It is sometimes not easy to find good sauerkraut.  We usually add sauerkraut in the fall and winter when it is in season. Most of the time, especially in the summer, we prepare vinaigrette without sauerkraut.

Priyatnogo appetita!

This is my contribution to Veggie-Thursday, and siebenhundertsachen’s recipe collection.

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