Ensaladang Pinoy (Filipino Vegetable Salad) Recipe

Jar of pickled Ensaladang Pilipino

Connie Veneracion

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
367 Calories
1g Fat
90g Carbs
7g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 367
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 256mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 90g 33%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 45g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 145mg 726%
Calcium 171mg 13%
Iron 11mg 62%
Potassium 1543mg 33%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Raw leafy vegetable salad tossed with a dressing is not a native concept in Filipino cuisine. Serving a garden-style salad ahead of the main dish was not a native practice either until the American occupation that began in 1898 and ended in 1946, and urbanites slowly adopted it.

Serving side dishes made with vegetables are, however, a native practice. They were not considered salads in the Western context but more of the plant component in a meat or seafood meal. Think of them as a desirable accompaniment, not exactly essential but their addition turns generic fish and rice, for instance, into a uniquely Filipino meal.

Learn what foods you need to stock your pantry with to cook Filipino recipes.

Types of Ensaladang Pinoy 

The most ubiquitous mixture would be diced salted duck eggs and tomatoes, which needs no dressing, as the natural tartness of the tomatoes and the saltiness of the duck eggs provide all the flavors that the mixture needs. There are green mangoes, tomatoes, and onions tossed with bagoong (fermented fish or shrimp paste), the Filipino equivalent of the Indonesian and Malaysian belacan. Either can go with grilled or fried chicken, meat, or fish.

Then, there's lato (a local seaweed that looks like miniature grapes) dipped in freshly squeezed kalamansi juice, a traditional accompaniment for grilled fish.

Using Pickled Vegetables as Substitutes

If you are living in the Western hemisphere and have no access to ingredients like salted duck eggs, green mangoes, bagoong, or lato, you can still have a taste of traditional Filipino side vegetable dishes in another form—pickled vegetables.

These native pickled vegetables are called buro and the process of pickling is called binuro, a method of preservation. The pickling solution can be sweet and sour (as in the case of atsara which is made with green papaya), salty or salty and sour, depending on the regional origin and the food to be pickled (the term and process are also used in fish and other seafood preservation). There is also a school of thought that it is not "binuro" unless allowed to ferment for a couple of days.

In this recipe, a medley of vegetables is soaked in a sweet and sour pickling solution. Fermentation is skipped and the pickled vegetables are kept in the fridge.


  • 1/3 cup white vinegar

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce, or salt

  • 2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced

  • 1 to 2 red bell peppers, cut into strips

  • 1 to 2 red onions, thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 (1/2-inch piece) ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 3 stalks lemongrass, white part only, lightly pounded

  • 2 finger chiles, sliced

Steps to Make It

  1. Make the pickling solution. Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan. Add an equal amount of water. Stir in the sugar. Boil until the sugar dissolves. Cool. Stir in the fish sauce.

  2. Stuff the rest of the ingredients in a jar with a screw-type cap. Pour in the cooled pickling solution, making sure that every piece of vegetable is completely submerged. Screw in the cap and keep in the fridge until needed. Note that it is best to let the vegetables soak in the liquid for at least 24 hours before use. 

  3. Serve the vegetables with some of the liquid or drain them, it is entirely up to you. If you want to add lettuce leaves, toss them in just before serving.


The vegetables will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. I have done several experiments and, beyond a week, the cucumbers start to lose their texture. The onions and bell peppers, however, benefit even more from prolonged soaking. 

If you want to add tomatoes to your mix, scrape off the seeds and soft centers, and discard before stuffing into the jar with the rest of the vegetables. Use within two days.

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