This hearty dish is an interesting answer to the question, “What is a salad?” It hails from the Ukraine and Russia, known there as venegret. Sturdy root vegetables are boiled, then combined with oil, onion, and sour pickles and served cold or room temperature.
What do you think of when you hear the question, “What is a salad?”
I was introduced to this yummy salad by Anya, a gorgeously statuesque Ukrainian immigrant who married a friend of a friend. She was surprised at how much we all loved this salad. But I adore beets, and anything with potatoes in it has my vote as well. I have also made this with leftover roasted veggies; if you don’t eat white potatoes you can use sweet potatoes, parsnips, or butternut squash. Using the pickle juice as the acid in the dressing is genius. I added capers to make it interesting, and arranged it like a composed salad so you could see the colors. Once mixed together, everything turns a vivid beety fuschia.
Ukrainian venegret: beet and potato salad
Makes 8 servings
1 very large or two medium beets (230 g)
1 very large or 2 medium potatoes (345 g)
1 large or 2 medium carrots (165 g)
1 green onion
1/4 C. (40 g) chopped dill pickles or pickled vegetables
1 T. (15 g) capers, with juice
up to 1/4 C. (60 ml) olive oil
up to 1/4 C. (60 ml) pickle juice
cracked black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding 1 T. (5 g) of kosher salt. Scrub the beet, potato, and carrot but do not peel. Add them to the boiling water and boil until tender when pierced with a fork. The carrots might only take 10 minutes; the beet could take 45. Remove each vegetable when cooked and set aside to drain and cool.
Rub off or peel the skin and dice the vegetables, adding them to a large bowl.
Wash and slice the green onion and add it to the bowl with the capers. Chop up the pickles and add them. Whisk together 2 T. of oil and pickle juice and add, tossing to coat. Add salt and pepper. Taste. Add additional oil or pickle juice if needed for dressing. The salad should be nicely coated but not slick or oily. Serve as is or over greens.
I have also made this with green beans instead of the potatoes. I cooked the green beans just until cooked through (about 10 minutes) and then rinsed in cold water so they didn’t overcook. Delish!Notes: To serve it as photographed above, line a platter with butter lettuce and pile each vegetable separately on top. Whisk the capers, pickles, caper juice, oil, and pickle juice together and pour over when serving. Top with salt and pepper.
[Without seeming indelicate: If you are not used to eating a lot of beets, be prepared for them to color your bathroom experience. Some people freak out, thinking it is blood. No worries!]
All of our recipes are gluten-free, sugar-free, and made with plant-based ingredients to help you build a healthy life. Suitable for Meatless Monday. Look for midweek posts on meditation, service, and life lessons, helping you create inner balance.