Polish All-Year Vegetable and Egg Salad


This popular Polish salad belongs to those fascinating dishes where a mixture of humble ingredients produces surprisingly palatable final results. Personally, I am highly addicted to its complex flavours and am always thrilled to obtain the same taste results whatever the season simply because all the products are available throughout the year. I thought it was a good idea to present it at the beginning of spring when we start turning to salads and lighter meals but don’t have a big choice of new vegetables yet.

This salad is a very popular Polish party dish (in many houses obligatory for Easter) and you will find it served all year round in company of cold meats at different occasions. Since it doesn’t require fancy products or particular efforts, I often have it as an everyday meal, especially since it keeps for several days in the fridge (of course unless it’s prepared with homemade mayonnaise). Served with bread it makes a fantastic filling cold full meal and if you have some leftover roast, it is even better. It is also a great snack. Depending on the amount of mayonnaise this salad can be light and healthy or a real fat and calorie bomb, if you let it “swim” in mayonnaise. It soaks up mayonnaise marvellously, so it’s easy to exaggerate, but I think that several tablespoons are enough to make it creamy and delicious.

As it’s always the case with very popular national dishes, each cook has a slightly different recipe. Everyone uses the ratio of ingredients adapted to his/her taste, so treat the below amounts as an example, not a precise recipe. I prefer this salad to be not too heavy, so I use less potatoes than most people and because of my love for eggs I make sure their taste is not lost in the whole mixture. Some people add cooked celeriac or parsley root, but personally I have always hated these strong ingredients here, so feel free to add them but only if you are a big fan (both cooked celeriac and parsley root have a very strong taste). You might also be forced to change amounts because of a different apple variety, pickles brand, etc..

This salad has originated in Russia and was invented by a French cook, whose family name, Olivier, gave its name in Russia. Its popularity spread to several countries around the world (it’s sometimes called “Russian salad”), though the ingredients are slightly different in each country. I have recently learnt that salad Olivier is also very popular in Iran (though half of its ingredients are different from what I understood).

TIPS: I always use here Polish/Russian/Ukrainian salt-brine pickled cucumber (fermented), but if you cannot get it, you can use vinegar pickled cucumber instead. Reduce its amount because vinegar pickled cucumbers have a stronger taste. (If you have never bought salt brine pickled cucumbers, but have access to some ethnic grocery shops which carry it, it’s easy to recognise by its slightly “muddy” brine (vinegar pickles have clear brine).

I used to be a fan of canned green peas in this salad (the most popular in Poland), but have recently discovered I prefer the frozen freshly flavoured ones instead. If you use frozen peas, make sure they aren’t too big (and too tough).

Do not use red onion because it’s not strong enough. (I often use shallots instead of onions even though they are not widely used in Poland.)

Preparation: about 40 minutes

Ingredients (serves two as a main meal with bread): 

3 big potatoes

2 small carrots

3 eggs

200g/about 7 oz frozen green peas or canned peas

1 medium white onion or 2 medium shallots

1 medium tangy apple, peeled

3-4 big salt pickled cucumbers (or 2-3 vinegar pickles)

several tablespoons mayonnaise 

1 teaspoon mustard

salt, pepper

Cook the potatoes, the carrots and the eggs.

Let them cool down in cold water.

In the meantime chop finely the onion and cut the remaining ingredients into small cubes.

Peel the eggs, the potatoes and the carrots.

Cut them into small cubes.

Drain the peas and rinse well.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

Add several tablespoons of mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, stir well and taste.

Adjust the amount of ingredients if needed (if it’s not sour enough, add more cucumbers or apples; if it’s too sour, boil more eggs/potatoes, etc..).

Put into the fridge for at least two hours and serve chilled.

35 Replies to “Polish All-Year Vegetable and Egg Salad”

  1. I’m still developing a taste for potato salads but it’s difficult as there are lots of things I don’t care for included in them especially pickled veggies. The presentation is attractive for what is often a boring looking dish.

    1. Thank you, A_Boleyn. Actually it’s not a potato salad (potatoes don’t make even half of the ingredients…). In reality this salad doesn’t look very attractive either, so thank you for the compliment!

  2. I love how you shot this bowl of salad Sissi. The composition is perfect. I feel like looking at a picture of a cookbook or magazine. Well done as it looks delicious and refreshing.

    1. Thank you so much, Ray, for such a compliment! It wasn’t easy because this salad is not a particularly attractive dish.

    1. Hi, Zsuzsa. Yours is slightly different (no eggs, no fermented cucumber… but it’s similar at first sight). In France such a salad is called “Russian salad” 😉

      1. Well actually there is egg[s]. And it’s my mistake for not explaining it better. The Franciasaláta is the platform for a fancied up, Stuffed Egg. In Hungarian cookbooks it will show up separated as a Stuffed Egg or as a French Salad. But together the dish is called Kaszinótojás, or Casino Egg. BTW the pickle is an optional component of the salad – I just don’t put it in. To me this lovely salad looked like a deconstructed Kaszinótojás.

          1. Thank you, Zsuzsa. This looks really cute with the eggs on the salad. (Now I see your version was different).

  3. GREAT picture of your salad Sissi! Make me want to pick up a fork and start eating – that’s for sure. I’m sure you are not surprised that I love the salt brined pickles as well. 🙂 Definitely a different take on the traditional southern potato salad. I love the addition of the peas and the pickled cucumbers!

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. I am so surprised you like the photo because I was convinced it would be awful (it was difficult to take). It’s so funny several people compare it to a potato salad (potatoes don’t make even half of the ingredients, but they are of course important!). I am glad we both like salt brined cucumber. (Talking about potato salads… with all the comments here mentioning it I am making one tonight 😉 ).

      1. You’re right – it is quite interesting that we are all referring to it as a potato salad, especially since it has all of those other veggies and you can see that in the pic. I guess it’s because the first ingredient is potato. That’s the only thing I can think of. 🙂

        1. You are right! I would have put eggs first, most people would consider it an egg salad probably… Never mind! The most important is the taste and it’s really delicious! One of my favourite Polish dishes.

    1. Thank you so much, Nipponnin. I bought the bigger bowl at 100-yen shop 🙂 (Actually all of them!).

    1. Thank you, Squishy Monster. It’s a wonderful salad to make before summer vegetables appear.

  4. You know I have never had a taste for potato salad but that’s because I have only been exposed to the North American version of this dish which is virtually all potato 😉 and heaps of clumpy mayonnaise. This salad is something entirely different. Full of vegetables and aromatic egg. I also like the use of pungent onion in a salad like this giving rise to more complex flavours. You’re so right when you say that sometimes the humblest of ingredients create the most surprisingly pleasing results. This looks great Sissi. A perfect choice for spring indeed.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. It’s incredible that so many people mention the potato salad (potatoes don’t make even half of the ingredients here 😉 ), but it has made me son hungry for a potato salad, I’m making one tonight (potato and herring salad… I have a big stock of delicious herring in oil).
      I love potato salad but it’s so heavy, but deliciously irresistible… and I feel so guilty afterwards… this one is definitely lighter (especially if you don’t add a lot of mayonnaise).

  5. What an original recipe! The vegetables in this potato salad make it sound so much more appealing than the typical boring ol’ mayo-filled thing. Yum!

    1. Thank you, Joyti. It’s not a potato salad though 😉 (Potatoes are just some of the ingredients…).

  6. Oh, this looks great and brings back so many memories! In Lithuania we have one just like it, just we call it the white salad and don’t use any mustard in it, but this is something I am looking forward to tasting every time I go back 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Gintare (oops, sorry, an old habit from the time when you didn’t reveal your name 🙂 ). I should have suspected there is something similar in Lithuania 😉 I use mustard only to spice up the mayonnaise a bit… It’s a bit like adding coffee to chocolate desserts. My mum always adds some mustard to mayonnaise and I do it too now.

  7. I love this kind of potato salad…with eggs…yours look delicious Sissi, I love the tangy apples in it…
    Have a wonderful week ahead 😀

    1. Thank you, Juliana. I wouldn’t call it potato salad though… Potatoes don’t dominate other ingredients.

  8. Japanese potato salad actually has several variations (depends on family, stores, restaurants, etc) and this can be a Japanese potato salad… surprised? I looked at the photo, and I was like, hm, this looks familiar and I looked at ingredients and confirmed. LOL. I love it. This is my kid of salad. I love making sandwich with this inside the toasted bread/toast… so good! p.s. I can’t help but mentioning your two red bowls behind… I’m in love!

    1. Thank you so much, Nami. I love Japanese potato salad… I always take it when I’m in an izakaya. I once was very disappointed I remember… I ordered it in a place where they didn’t speak English and it was with sweet potatoes… Then I looked at the photo in the menu and it did look strangely yellow 😉
      The Japanese way of eating a potato salad sandwich is one of the boldest and most incredible eating habits I know!
      (PS I wouldn’t call my salad as “potato salad” because potatoes don’t make even half of the ingredients… but strangely everyone considers it a potato salad 😉 I don’t mind it of course! All this makes me hungry for a “real” potato salad!). I am glad you like the bowls. I bought all of them in the 100 yen shop of course 😉

  9. This is a great salad, I have tried variations of it. Herring should work with this salad?
    I have never tried canned peas, didn’t realise they were so different from frozen ones.

    1. Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. You are right! I must add herring next time. I have never thought about it and yet I eat herring all the time, also in salads…
      In general I find canned peas not very good. I always choose frozen (or fresh if I’m lucky to get them), but here canned are absolutely obligatory. They go perfectly with the rest of the ingredients.

  10. Yes it does look like a Russian salad but I can see the differences! Coould you please tell me how many tbsp of mayo should I put in it? An approximate number would be fine. I think I will make this during weekend! Thanks my friend!

    1. Thank you so much, Katerina. I’m sorry I didn’t want to put the amount of mayonnaise because there are such huge differences between different cooks… My mum would have put here the whole jar 😉 but I would advise 4 heaped tablespoons and then see if it’s enough. Then you can gradually add more. For me it’s usually enough. Good luck! (Do change the amounts of ingredients, adapting them to your taste… as I have said, everyone prefers this salad different… my mum always loved lots of potatoes and eggs, but I try to lighten it and reduce the potatoes for example). I hope you will like it! Please let me know if you have enjoyed it and don’t hesitate to ask my any questions.

  11. Sissi, I love how your Polish salad is not swimming in a lot of mayonnaise and soggy vegetables, which to me is a huge ‘turn off’! Love the individual visual distinction of the different veggies, and the fermented cucumber pieces is a must, as far as I’m concerned. This has been a very popular salad in Italy for years, and they call it Ensalata Russa…which is Russian salad. They also add diced boiled ham to the salad. I prefer it without meat. Very pretty, delicious, and inviting!

    1. Thanks a lot, Elisabeth. Older generations make it swim in mayonnaise 😉 It’s obligatory! As I have mentioned above the Russian salad (it exists also in France) is not the same. At least for me: it’s bland because it lacks some ingredients (I have had it once in Italy and many times in France… one or two ingredients more and it would be delightful!). In general I think that when the French and Italians “adopt” a foreign dish, they often make it less bold in flavours and the result is sadly bad.

  12. Hi Sissi! Long time no see… I’ve been so busy but can finally get around to checking out my usual blogs again. This looks really lovely… I’m such a sucker for potato-based salads and I’ll quickly inhale any I see. I’m really surprised by one thing you said though… about peas! Frozen peas I will agree are quite sweet, but I also find canned peas also very sweet (and so soft with no body…). I find fresh peas… like the kind you pop out of the shell yourself have a gorgeous flavour… slightly bitter and not too sweet at all…. oh wait, it just struck me, maybe you’re talking about when they’re cooked?

    I was thinking about when they’re raw… I thought they might provide a lovely texture in the salad but maybe they’re not suitable raw here?

    1. Thank you so much, Charles. I insist that canned peas are less sweet than fresh ones (whether cooked or not) 😉 They are more floury maybe but not as sweet. I usually hate canned peas but always stock them in case I make this salad. (Well there is actually another salad where I use them too… I must write about it!).
      Fresh peas change completely this salad: their fresh innocent sweetness is sometimes out of place with such bold serious flavours…

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