I would not be a truly Romanian if I would not share with you this salad recipe. The Romanian beef salad or “salada de boeuf” is considered to be a traditional recipe that is made for Christmas , New Year’s and Easter. No matter where Romanians live around the world, this salad will be on the table for these celebrations.
The salad is also widely popular in the Balkans/Eastern Europe. Root vegetables, cooked beef or chicken mixed with pickled vegetables and mayo are the main ingredients for the dish. Sometimes salami or ham is added to the recipe, like in Bulgaria, for example. In Spain, this salad is extremely popular and often served as tapas. It is called Ensaladilla Rusa and has tuna, boiled eggs and roasted peppers.(See recipe here)
By the way, I am not an artist, so please be kind with my Christmas tree on top of the salad (see picture below). It is not the perfect one, but it was edible, so we were happy with it! 🙂
“Boeuf” means beef in French, for that reason the salad is called beef salad. However, I also noticed that many Romanians use chicken meat instead, which is wildly accepted.When I was growing up though, the times were difficult and the meat was scarce, so I do not remember my mother ever adding meat to this salad, but I do remember having this salad with beef in other occasions outside of the house.
As you can see we have here a star that deserves your attention. It is versatile, easy to make, and can also be made vegetarian, as preferred.
The secret to a successful Romanian beef salad is to cut the ingredients really small. They are supposed to be diced. My daughter loves this salad for the holidays and she is happy to help chopping the ingredients, but she still has this memory from her younger years, when my bossy attitude came out and I asked her to chop the vegetables again because they were too big.
I know, I am not perfect. As I am getting older, I understand that it doesn’t really matter how the vegetables look like in the salad. When you smother them in mayo, you cannot tell. However, my daughter still works really hard to diced them properly and now, that she is an adult and we love to have fun together in the kitchen, she scolds me if the carrots are not the right size!!! 🙂
If I have to compare this salad to an American salad, this recipe would be the closest to the classic potato salad.
I used pickled cucumbers from the jars I canned in the fall, cucumbers that I usually buy at the Farmers Market. I also used red peppers that I pickled this summer, but I was not able to write the recipe down yet.
Oh, the pile of recipes I want to share with you seems to grow everyday, to my desperation! However, looking at the positive side of it, sharing recipes with you can keep us all entertained for a long time! 🙂
These beautiful pickled vegetables are an awesome way to preserve goodies from the Farmers Market. Sweet peppers, cauliflower, carrots, horseradish are all sitting happy in a vinegar juice combined with spices and herbs waiting for the day when they can see the light of the day in this beautiful beef salad.
Soooo, if you love this recipe, and most importantly make it yourselves, please let me know. Take a picture and tag it with #thebossykitchenggk on Instagram so we can all see it. I always love to see what you come up with!
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See you next time!
- 1 pound potatoes
- ½ pound carrots peeled
- ½ cup frozen green peas
- 1 pound chicken(breast, thighs) or beef
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3-4 tablespoons mustard
- 1 cup pickled cucumbers chopped
- 1 cup pickled red peppers chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional for decorating the salad:
- olives, pickled vegetables, boiled eggs, parsley leaves etc.
- Boil the meat until cooked through for about an hour.Take the meat out and let it cool before chopping.
- In a large pot, pour cold water.
- Wash the potatoes and add them (unpeeled) to the pan with cold water.
- Peel the carrots and add them to the pot. Add a pinch of salt to the pot, bring the water to a boil and cook the vegetables for about 25 minutes on low heat or until they are soft and cooked through. Set aside to cool.
- Cook the peas in a little bit of water for about 5 minutes or until they are soft but not mushy.
- Peel the potatoes.
- Dice the meat, potatoes and carrots. They should be small pieces.
- Add the cooked peas.
- Drain the pickled vegetables very well and dice them.
- Add all the veggies and meat to a big bowl.
- Add mayo and mustard, season with salt and pepper and mix everything together.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Traditionally, the top of the salad is smoothed out with a spatula, then a thin layer of mayo is spread to cover the surface and decorate.
- Refrigerate, then serve. It lasts for about a week in the fridge.
- Serve the salad cold.