Romanian/Russian Salata de Boeuf/Salat Olivje Recipe

Romanian Salata de Boeuf
© lumi_13 on Flickr.
Ratings (35)
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 plates (4 servings)

Salata de Boeuf, literally "beef salad" is a traditional Romanian potato salad that sounds French but is actually of Russian origin, where it is known as Salad Olivier (Salat Olivje). It was invented in the 1860s by Belgian chef Lucien Olivier who worked at the Hermitage museum in Russia.

Originally made with beef, it is now made with whatever one has on hand—chicken, turkey, ham, even hot dogs and the recipe varies from family to family and region to region.

What remains constant is the use of potatoes and root vegetables, and the fact that all the ingredients are diced finely. The salad is often decorated elaborately with bits of vegetable and hard-cooked eggs. Decorated or not, it's a great-tasting salad that can be served as part of an appetizer spread or as a main course with crusty bread.


  • For the Salad:
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and finely diced (or use beef, turkey, ham, hot dogs, etc.)
  • 1 cup peeled carrots, boiled and finely diced
  • 1 cup peeled​ parsnips, boiled and finely diced
  • 5 large​ hard-cooked eggs, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced pickles
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 to 2 cups mayonnaise, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Garnish:
  • Parsley
  • Olives
  • Reserved​ hard-cooked eggs
  • Reserved cooked vegetables

Steps to Make It

  1. For making the salad, boil potatoes in their skins in salted water until fork tender. Remove from water and peel off the skin when they are cool enough to handle. Dice finely and reserve.

  2. In a large bowl, add diced potatoes, diced chicken or other meat, diced carrots, parsnips, eggs, onion, and celery.

  3. Squeeze the diced pickles lightly in a paper towel to remove some of their juice (otherwise the salad will be too watery) and add to the rest of the diced ingredients.

  4. Place frozen peas in a colander and run cold water over them to defrost. Drain completely, patting dry, if necessary, and add to the other diced ingredients in the large bowl.

Make the Dressing

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, and salt and pepper.

Assemble the Salad

  1. Add the dressing to the diced ingredients in the large bowl and toss to completely cover.

  2. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl. Cover the entire top with a thin layer of mayonnaise but enough so no salad shows through. Decorate the top with reserved vegetables and hard-cooked eggs.

  3. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to serve chilled or serve immediately at room temperature.