Ensaladilla Rusa – Russian Salad

May 22, 2008 By: erik Category: Food, Spain 5,093 views

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Ensaladilla RusaIn the United States, you can find several mayonnaise-based salads: potato salad, tuna salad, and egg salad. In Spain, they don’t really have any of that, but they do have Ensaladilla Rusa (Russian Salad). Ensaladilla Rusa is a combination of all of the above.

My wife had a Russian immigrant friend when she was a child and acquired intelligence that suggests that they really do eat this dish in Russia, but I have no other corroborating evidence. Personally, I have never seen this dish outside of Spain.


  • Potatos – boiled, peeled, and mashed
  • Eggs – hard boiled
  • Olives
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Tuna
  • Canned Fried Peppers (pimentos)
  • Salt
  • Mayonnaise


  1. Set aside a few of the ingredients to decorate the top.
  2. Finely chop and mix all the other ingredients in a serving dish with a fork.
  3. Flatten the top.
  4. Put a very thin layer of mayonnaise on top to make it look white. (The rest of the salad is more gray.)
  5. Decorate as you wish. I often go with radially symmetric kaleidoscope-like designs (see photos), but I’ve done smiley faces and hearts and things.


Peas and CornPeas and corn waiting to be sprinkled on topEnsaladilla RusaThe final product. Notice the radial symmetry.Ensaladilla RusaEnjoy! It’s a great side dish with any meat or fish.

  • Italy has “insalata russa” too. Ingredients vary…

  • Here, where it is a popular buffet item, it is not merely topped but drenched to within an inch of its life with majonesa. I would say that by weight mayo is the main ingredient here. They also tend to use mushy jarred peas and those flavorless diced carrots (also from a jar). Can’t say I’m a fan. The Spanish version looks a good deal more palatable.

  • Not my favorite dish, but it looks nice. Funny about the name, isn’t it? It’s kind of like the “tortilla francesa” thing. Why isn’t that just an omelet?

  • What was it like????

  • Pretty yummy. I like it. It’s mostly like potato salad, since the potatoes and mayo are the dominant flavors and textures, but the other ingredients spice it up nicely.

  • I remember that you made this for us on our first visit to you in Walsall. As a diehard mayo-phile, I really like it. I guess Russians must like it too since what we call “Russian dressing” is mostly mayonnaise. Now I do draw the line at putting it on French Fries as the Dutch like to do.

  • Now I do draw the line at putting it on French Fries as the Dutch like to do.

    My ideal french fry condiment situation, that I developed over several years of eating “chips” in British pubs, is to have about a tablespoon of ketchup, and an equal amount of mayo, an inch away from the ketchup. Then each fry gets dipped once into each sauce, or sometimes into just one. As the meal progresses, and orange hybrid forms between the two, like a Bob Ross palette. Mmmmm!

  • . . . now that’s Russian dressing, or Thousand Island if you cut up pickles in it.

  • Heather

    That is the prettiest “ensaladilla rusa” I have ever seen, yummm 🙂

  • I will write the true Russian recipe in my blog one day but I must say that it has been quite modified in Spain and anywhere else in the world where it is made pass for Russian. 🙂

    The basic components for the classical recipe are potatoes, pickled gherkins, chicken or meat or cooked ham, eggs, peas.. I think that is about it. All the rest like olives and corn is an extra.

  • Looks like a great dish!

  • Josh

    Way back in the dark ages, during the height of the Cold War, when contact with “the enemy” was extremely limited, my HS hosted a group of Russian visiting dignitaries. Since I was a Russian student, I was one of the student reps chosen for the luncheon. The cafeteria ladies were extremely proud to offer “Russian dressing” (which, of course, the Ruskies had never heard of) for the salad. I think of this anecdote every time I eat Ensaladilla Rusa. And yeah, it does get better overnight. Buen Provecho!

  • I frickin’ love that you linked to this from the Wikipedia article. You’re the next Stephen Colbert. With mayonnaise.