Rosolje is a popular Estonian party food - a delicious beet and potato salad, explosively crimson in color. It's a perfect side dish for your next party, picnic or barbecue.
Hot pink potato salad on your party buffet table will not escape anyone's notice. Rosolje is the name for this popular Estonian beetroot and potato salad. Bite-sized cubes of beets and potatoes, finely chopped onions and pickles, are tossed with a creamy, zesty, mustardy dressing. There's lots to love about this fun fuchsia salad and also about its country of origin.
Estonia's Authentic Beet and Potato Salad
If you're from Estonia, you might be wondering "where's the herring?" Some Estonian people say "if it doesn't have herring, it's not rosolje." Others are more open-minded. I've seen similar debates over anchovies in Caesar salad. Every cook has his or her own personal tastes. I strive to honor time-held traditions by at least acknowledging them, but it's not always my goal to replicate them. My recipes are my personal take, my favorite rendition of globally-inspired dishes.
I omitted herring and opted for vegetarian rosolje. I also lightened up the traditional dressing by using a lot less mayonnaise than the norm, and by replacing sour cream with yogurt. The salad contains finely chopped pickles, onions and tart apples. The dressing is punctuated by horseradish and hot English mustard. All of these bold zesty flavors are a delicious counterpart to the sweet beets and mellow potatoes. It's a wacky sounding conglomeration of ingredients, but it works. There are surprises and delights in every bite!
If you want to try a more authentic version, that can be easily achieved by adding 1 cup of chopped pickled herring to the mix.
I knew little about Estonia before Hippocrene Books sent me this cookbook to review: Estonian Tastes and Traditions. My copy of that book is now exploding with sticky notes, marking all the recipes I'm excited to try: cheese danish, braised pork chops with apricots and prunes, chicken Kiev, sour kraut soup, meatball soup, sweet and sour cabbage, and black bread (to name a few). Maybe it's the Russian blood in me that makes me so attracted to these rich comforting East European dishes.
Estonia is a small coastal country in northeastern Europe, with only 1,300,000 inhabitants. It's remarkable for being simultaneously one of the least densely populated countries in Europe and one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Skype was invented there! Estonia has extensive nature preserves, 5 national parks, untouched beaches. You can get wifi reception at all of them.
MORE DELICIOUS POTATO RECIPES FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
- French Potato Salad (No Mayo)
- Spanish Inspired Funeral Potatoes with Chorizo and Smoked Paprika
- Saag Aloo: Indian Spinach and Potatoes
Here's the recipe for Rosolje: Estonian Potato and Beet Salad. If you make it, I hope you'll come back and leave a comment to let me know what you think.
I originally developed this recipe for the Idaho Potato Commission. For more great potato recipes visit the the official site of the Idaho® PotatoPrint
Rosolje: Estonian Beet and Potato Salad
- Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 1x
- Diet: Vegetarian
Exciting hot pink potato salad made with a combo of potatoes, roasted beets and a tangy yogurt-mustard dressing.
- 2 pounds Idaho® russet potatoes of similar size, peeled (4 medium)
- 1 ¾ pounds red beets of similar size, scrubbed (4 medium)
- 1 ½ cups of ¼-inch-diced dill pickles or bread and butter pickles
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
- ½ cup finely minced red onion
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon hot English mustard
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and sliced, optional garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves, optional garnish
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Scrub beets and wrap them in foil. Set them on a roasting pan and bake them for 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, (15 min or so) rub off the skins using a paper towel, or use a vegetable peeler. Cut them into ½-inch dice.
- While beets are baking put potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by a few inches. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes and check for doneness. Potatoes are done when tender all the way through. Test with a fork or skewer. Drain and cool. Cut into ½-inch dice.
- In a small bowl combine the dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, horseradish, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper.
- In a large bowl toss all the chopped ingredients with the dressing. Chill for at least an hour.
- Garnish with sliced eggs and parsley, if you like.
- Note: This is a great dish to make ahead. It will taste even better when the flavors have time to meld, and it can be kept in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. Garnish just before serving.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: boil and roast
- Cuisine: Estonian
Keywords: beet and potato salad
Rosolje was always a special occasion fish in Estonia, but after emigration to the USA in 1950 my mother sometimes used it as a main dish. Never heard of apples (I think that’s a German version) and we usually omitted the herring since salted pickled herring is not easily obtained here. My daughter used your recipe to make it for a workplace potluck.
I had this at an Estonian dinner that I attended this evening. It did not include the fish. It was very good.
I just made this for a family dinner--fantastic!!!!!!
Yay! I'm so glad you and the family enjoyed it!
my late mother-in-law, Ilse, was from Northern Germany and made Herring Salad for us in the hot summers of North Carolina where she lived after marrying my father-in-law who was from the USA and in the Army in Germany when they met. we love it and i am actually making it tonight. her recipe is beets, herring lunch bites in wine sauce (including the onions), potatoes, granny smith apples, bread and butter pickles, pork (boiled or roasted tenderloin), boiled eggs, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, a few capers, a bit of minced onion. prepare the ingredients in similar size bites and gently toss together, using some reserved beet juice for moisture. refrigerate overnight and serve with a dollop of mayo and crusty bread or croissants (she lived in France for a few years and loved croissants). Delicious!!
I’m so happy I’ve found this recipe. I have the fondest memories of visiting my Dutch grandma through out the years and she always made this and it was my favourite thing she made. She’s passed now and I never got the recipe off her. Now I can’t wait to make this and go down a journey of nostalgia
I know how you feel Emily. I wish I had gotten all of my grandmother's wonderful Russian recipe before she passed away. I'm happy you found this recipe. I hope it brings you back to good times with your grandma.
My Estonian grandmother taught me how to make Rosolje, and I made it with her many a time before she passed away. Although I am not a big fish person, I cannot imagine it without the herring. Herring is what gives rosolje a lot of its special flavor. Also, she would add some other meat if she had it, ham or beef, chopped up fine, just like the herring. My Estonian born dad is my quality control when I make it, and he always tells me to add more pickles ... could be because he loves pickles. Once I was at an Estonian cousin’s house, and I was mortified that they had apples in it. Totally changes it, did not care for it. I cannot imagine horseradish in it either although I do like horseradish. Call me a traditionslist, but I like it best how my WWII Vanaema made it!!
Amanda @ Cookie Named Desire
My ex is Estonian and he used to make me what he would call "Russian salad" which was basically this minus the beets and with peas. He is definitely the kind of person who would insist that there be some kind of animal in the salad! I prefer a nice simple salad without the herring though. I just adore this bright color!
Haha - I know there are some traditionalists who insist on pork, if not herring. I'm with you in like a nice simple veggie based salad, but I hope I don't disappoint anyone by leaving out the meat 🙂
We have this every year for Christmas (my dad is Estonian) and he never makes it with apples, never had it with pork, but there is always roast beef in it. Sour cream instead of Greek Yogurt. Sometimes he uses the herring, sometimes not. I'm glad you tried this recipe, and shared it!
Hi Ellen, I guess everyone has their own special way to make Rosolje, right? I can imagine it would be amazing with roast beef and sour cream! Yum!!
Ruxanda from Kishinau /Rep. of Moldova
- Greetings from Kishinau/ Chișinău - in Romanian !
-That is another kind of salad- called "Russian salad" in France or French Salad "Olivier" so called in Russia,
by the name of a French-speaking cook Olivier from Belgium and working in Moscow around 1840.
It is very popular in Eastern Europe.
-But the beet based salad is called also "vinegret" and both of them decorate the table for special occasions.
I am starting to prepare it just now!
-Poftă Bună !
one of the best sites about Moldavian-Romanian cooking-
Vinegret is a completely different thing. Vinaigrette salad in english, uses vinegar as a dressing. It is another great salad though.
As to rosolje, I'm estonian and I always thought it's a russian dish. Herring is indeed a must! We usually had it on our Christmas table. No apples, sometimes green peas. A lot of mayo and sour cream.
I live abroad now and stumbled upon this recipe while trying to remind myself what went in it aside from beetroot and herring. Haven't had Rosolje for about a decade.
I have been making Rosolje without adding herring into it. I definitely have to have a slice of dark rye bread with herring on the side to go with my Rosolje. Also, I prefer not to add apples to my salad but use cucumber instead. For the dressing, I mix mayo, sour cream, mustard, salt and pepper. I make this salad quite often and everyone in my family likes it.