This Ensaladilla Rusa recipe makes a perfect Spanish tapa or side dish. It’s an easy-to-make Spanish potato salad, made with only a handful of pantry ingredients.
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Tools for this recipe:
- Roasted red peppers
- Cazuelas for serving
- Oxo 9 Piece Nesting Bowls – Bowls for making the potato salad, a colander for straining the potatoes, and lids for the bowls to store.
- Le Creuset Rubber Spatula Set
Check out our Spain Food Guide – What To Eat In Spain for more details on regional must-try dishes in Spain.
What Is Ensaladilla Rusa Española
After years of living in Spain, I still don’t understand how potato salad in Spanish translates to ensaladilla rusa or Russian salad.
The first time I saw ensaladilla rusa, literally, “little Russian salad”, on a menu in Spain I was confused. What on Earth is a little Russian Salad? Are the Russians known for salad? Is that what the Spanish call Russian dressing? Much to my surprise, I’d come to appreciate ensaladilla rusa, especially during the long hot Spanish summer.
Often referred to as “Olivier Salad,” ensaladilla rusa is the Spanish version of what is in fact a very popular side dish in Russia. The original recipe for Russian salad dates back to Moscow during the 1860s.
Over time, the recipe was shared and now from Europe to the Middle East and Latin America, you can find different versions of the salad. In the Spanish version, you’ll find minced boiled potato, boiled carrots, canned tuna, boiled eggs, peas, and mayonnaise.
Ensaladilla rusa is a very popular tapas snack to order. Much like all dishes in Spain, regional variations of ensaladilla rusa exist. Down in Andalucia, you’ll find versions that include fresh shrimp. Being light and served cold, it’s a refreshing dish to enjoy what temperatures are in the 90s.
Planning for a Spanish tapas night? Check out our other Spanish tapas recipes:
Ingredients For This Ensaladilla Rusa Recipe
These ensaladilla rusa ingredients are all commonly found in most kitchens and pantries. The base of the dish includes cooked, boiled potatoes, which are cut into bite-sized pieces. This is pretty typical for all potato salad recipes.
Two hard-boiled eggs are added. The eggs are separated. The egg whites are mixed into the salad. The egg yolks are used more as a garnish at the end.
Cooked peas and cooked carrots are added to the Spanish potato salad. There are a few ways of doing this:
- Use one can of peas and carrots, drained. These are already cooked and you can just upend them into the salad.
- Use frozen peas and carrots, defrosted. If they are fully defrosted then there is no cooking needed. I prefer frozen over canned because the veggies taste more firm.
- If you are a traditionalist, you can cook fresh peas and fresh diced carrots. I am not sure, though, how many Spanish households would still do this. It’s probably healthier but adds a lot of time to the cooking process.
All of these ingredients are simply mixed with mayo and a bit of salt.
Garnish For Ensaladilla Rusa
There are so many options for how to serve ensaladilla rusa. When ordering at a Spanish tapas bar, the salad is usually served with small breadsticks. The salad is normally garnished with some combination of marinated red peppers and green or black olives.
You can also blend tuna or capers into the potato salad. The tuna adds protein, and a creaminess, to the salad. Capers add a bit of a zing.
How To Make Spanish Potato Salad
Whether we call it a Russian salad recipe or Spanish potato salad, the recipe is not all that difficult to make. The hardest part of preparing the potatoes.
Preparing Potatoes For A Russian Salad Recipe
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is preparing the potatoes.
To make this an easy Spanish potato salad, you can always buy cooked and cubed potatoes from the supermarket. I won’t judge, particularly if this is just one of several dishes being prepared for a tapas party.
Place the potatoes in a large pot covered with water and a sprinkle of salt. Boil for about 20-25 minutes or until a fork passes through, but before they get mushy. It’s important not to let the potatoes get too soft, or they will turn to mush when blending the salad.
When done, drain the water and place the potatoes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but preferably for a couple of hours.
This is not only to stop the cooking process but to make them easier and safer to peel. When cooled, peel the potato skins and dice the potatoes into small bite-sized pieces.
How To Make Russian Salad – Ensaladilla Rusa
Once the potatoes are peeled and cubed, the rest of the salad is pretty easy to put together.
Peel the hard-boiled eggs and slice them in half. Set the yolks to the side and dice the whites of the egg into bite-sized pieces. Place the egg into a large mixing bowl.
Drain the peas and carrots and add to the mixing bowl. Add the potatoes, mayo, and sprinkle with salt. Add the tuna if using.
Blend with a spatula until the potatoes and vegetables are coated in mayo. Dice the egg yolks into crumbles. Place the potato salad into a serving bowl and garnish with crumbled egg, sliced olives, and sliced roasted red peppers.
- 4-5 large potatoes, cooked, peeled, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, yolks removed from the eggs
- 1 cup cooked peas
- ½ cup cooked carrots
- 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
- Place the potatoes in a large pot covered with water and a sprinkle of salt. Boil for 20-25 minutes or until a fork passes through, but before they get mushy.
- When done, drain the water and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but preferably for a couple of hours.
- When cooled, peel the potato skins and dice the potatoes into small bite-sized pieces.
- Peel the hard-boiled eggs and slice in half. Set the yolks to the side and dice the whites of the egg into bite-sized pieces.
- Place the egg into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the peas and carrots and add to the mixing bowl.
- Add the potatoes, mayo, and sprinkle with salt. Add the tuna if using.
- Blend with a spatula until the potatoes and vegetables are coated in mayo.
- Dice the egg yolks into crumbles.
- Place the potato salad into a serving bowl and garnish with crumbled egg, sliced olives, and sliced roasted red peppers.
The actual preparation for this recipe is super easy and super quick. It's the prep of the potatoes and hard-boiled eggs that takes time. See the more detailed description above for information.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 322mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
FAQs – Spanish Potato Salad
Translated as “Russian Salad”, Ensalada Rusa traces its origin to Moscow. Hence the name. Oddly enough, Ensalada Rusa was not invented by a Russian chef, but rather by a Belgium chef working in Russia.
Simply put, ensaladilla rusa receta is Spanish for Russian Salad recipe.
La papa and la patata are both words for potato in Spanish. More many people the most recognizable use of these are patatas bravas.