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Romanian Boeuf Salad (Salata de boeuf)

by Adina 31/03/2020 21 comments

Romanian salad de boeuf decorated with mayonnaise and olives
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Last Updated on 02/04/2020 by Adina

 

Romanian boeuf salad or salata de boeuf, this is probably the most popular Romanian salad, traditionally served for Easter and Christmas.

 

Boeuf Salad Recipe

 

Easter is less than two weeks away and I thought it would be a good idea to give you a few Romanian Easter recipes, like this beloved boeuf salad, the Easter cheesecake, chicken drob or cozonac.

Easter is big in Romania, and I mean really BIG! I could almost dare to say that Easter is quite a bigger deal than Christmas there. Or at least that’s the way I feel about it, especially since living in Germany, where Easter celebrations go quite unnoticed compared to Christmas.

I will start with this boeuf salad, which is something you will get for both Easter and Christmas in every Romanian family on this planet probably.

Although the name sounds French, the origins of this salad are actually Russian, the Salad Olivier is very similar to the Romanian version. This potato, vegetable and mayonnaise mixture is not only popular in these two countries, but also in all the ex-Soviet countries, many other European countries like Bulgaria or Spain, in several Middle Eastern countries, all throughout Latin America and so on.

 

 

Romanian Boeuf Salad

 

Ingredients

I don’t usually weigh the ingredients when making salata de boeuf, but I did it this time for the post. You can use more or less of each according to your taste and to the leftovers you happen to have.

The same goes for the mayonnaise, use as much as you like, and leave out the mayonnaise on top if you feel that it is too much. 

Chicken or beef:

  • I call the salad by its untranslated name Boeuf (French for beef) salad. I don’t use the English term “beef” because that would obviously make people think that there is beef in this salad. There isn’t any!
  • That might have been the original idea, but as far as I’m concerned, I have never eaten this salad made with beef.
  • Beef is not very popular in Romania (or at least not in the region where I grew up), we prefer pork or chicken.
  • So I ever only ate this salad made with chicken or turkey.
  • But you can definitely use boiled beef or leftover roast beef to make the boeuf salad.

Fresh or leftover meat:

  • You can make salata de boeuf with either freshly cooked meat or with leftovers.
  • I make it with leftover chicken or turkey most of the time, either boiled meat leftover after making soup or stock or leftover roast chicken or turkey.
  • Rotisserie chicken is also fine.
  • If using fresh chicken cook 1 or 2 chicken breasts or 2 small whole chicken legs in salted water until tender and cooked through. Let cool completely before using it.
  • A total of about 250 g/ 8.8 meat should be enough, but a little more or less is fine.

 

Romanian Boeuf Salad

 

Potatoes:

  • Use waxy potatoes, they are the best sort to use for salads.

Eggs:

  • Hard-boiled eggs, either freshly cooked or leftovers.

Vegetables:

  • Carrots: traditionally you would use the carrots and the chicken meat leftover after making the stock for the Romanian chicken soup with semolina dumplings – supa de galusti. I don’t think my grandmother ever made this salad without making that soup first.
  • However, fresh carrots are perfectly fine. Cook them until tender and let cool before using.
  • Some people use other vegetables as well, like peas or cooked celeriac and parsley root, leftover from making soup. You can add them if you like. Peas are fine for me as well, but overcooked celeriac or parsley root not so.
  • Pickled vegetables: pickled cucumbers (gherkins) and pickled red peppers. More genuine would be pickled pimientos or tomato peppers – gogosari in Romanian. Use them if you have them, if not replace with regular peppers.
  • You can use more or less pickled vegetables to taste, I usually tend to add more because I like the sweet-sour flavor.

Mayonnaise:

  • You can use either bought or homemade mayonnaise.
  • I always make the salad with homemade mayonnaise, because I grew up eating it this way. And making mayonnaise is so easy, it takes about 2 minutes and all you need is an immersion blender.

How to make mayonnaise with an immersion blender?

  • Place the egg, mustard, lemon juice, oil, some salt, and pepper into a jug or tall jar.
  • Place the immersion blender in the jug and keep it fixed to the bottom. Turn it on and blend the ingredients without moving the blender for 10-15 seconds.
  • Very slowly start moving the immersion blender up and down to help emulsify the mayonnaise.
  • The whole process should take less than 1 minute and the mayonnaise will be perfect.
  • Taste and adjust the taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

 

Romanian Boeuf Salad

 

Tips

  • Make sure that all the vegetables, eggs and meat are completely cool before making the salad.
  • You can cook everything in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Dice the ingredients as regularly as possible.
  • If you feel that there is too much mayonnaise, you can use the quantity required to mix with the ingredients and leave out the decorating mayonnaise.
  • And don’t forget to decorate this salad in a really tacky, Romanian style :). It is just not authentic enough if you don’t decorate it as corny as possible.
  • The boeuf salad made with bought mayonnaise keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days. If using homemade mayonnaise, I try not to keep it for more than 2 days. It should never be too long at room temperature.

 

More traditional Romanian recipes?

 

Romanian Meatball Soup – Ciorba de perisoare

Easy Potato Stew

Sarmale – Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Chicken Paprikash with Dumplings

Cremeschnitte – Romanian Vanilla Cream Pie

 

Pin it for later!

 

potato salad with chicken and mayonnaise

 

First published: March 16, 2016.

Last updated: March 31, 2020.

 

Romanian salad de boeuf decorated with mayonnaise and olives

Romanian Boeuf Salad

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Romanian boeuf salad or salata de boeuf, this is probably the most popular Romanian salad, traditionally served for Easter and Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 250 g/ 8.8 oz potatoes
  • 125 g/ 4.4 oz carrots
  • 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ about 2 cups cooked diced chicken (See note 1)
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ 1/2 cup diced pickled cucumbers /gherkins
  • 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ 1/2 diced pickled red peppers
  • 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 heaped cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon mustard, more to taste
  • fine sea salt and pepper
  • Decorating:
  • black olives
  • pickled cucumbers /gherkins
  • pickled peppers
  • For the mayonnaise (optional, see note 2):
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 250 ml/ 1 cup neutral-tasting vegetable oil (no olive oil)
  • fine sea salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the potatoes, peel them and let them cool completely.
  2. Cook the carrots until soft. If using fresh chicken, cook it as well.
  3. Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Everything should be cool before making the salad.
  5. Dice the potatoes, carrots, chicken, eggs, gherkins, and pickled red peppers. Place in a bowl.
  6. Add about 3/4 of the mayonnaise and the mustard, mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place the boeuf salad on a large plate or platter and smooth with a spatula.
  8. Cover nicely with the remaining mayonnaise and decorate with olives, gherkins, and pickled red peppers.
  9. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Mayonnaise:

  1. Place the egg, mustard, lemon juice, oil, some salt, and pepper into a jug or tall jar.
  2. Place the immersion blender in the jug and keep it fixed to the bottom. Turn it on and blend the ingredients without moving the blender for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Very slowly start moving the immersion blender up and down to help emulsify the mayonnaise.
  4. The whole process should take less than 1 minute and the mayonnaise will be perfect.
  5. Taste and adjust the taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Notes

  1. You can use leftover chicken from soup, roast or rotisserie chicken. Cooked beef or turkey are great as well.
  2. You can use bought or homemade mayonnaise.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1/6 of the dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 467Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 500mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 16g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.

 

 

21 comments
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21 comments

Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop 16/03/2016 - 13:33

I love hearing your memories and traditions! This salad sounds delightful. It would be wonderful over crackers!

Reply
Adina 17/03/2016 - 08:54

I am glad you like it, Kathy! 🙂

Reply
Anne|Craving Something Healthy 16/03/2016 - 17:52

I so love hearing about people’s holiday traditions and the special foods that accompany them! Thanks for sharing this Adina – Hope you have a wonderful Easter 🙂

Reply
Adina 17/03/2016 - 08:54

Thank you, Anne. I wish a Happy Easter too. 🙂

Reply
Meghan | Fox and Briar 16/03/2016 - 17:57

It is so interesting to hear other holiday traditions! And to see how people celebrate holidays in different parts of the world. And love that the kitchy decor is mandatory on this salad 🙂

Reply
Adina 17/03/2016 - 08:53

Thank you, Meghan. I enjoy that as well, reading blog posts about different food, but not only, traditions. And I wouldn’t even want to eat a Boeuf Salad that wasn’t decorated in this “stylish” manner. 🙂 🙂

Reply
[email protected]'s Recipes 16/03/2016 - 20:38

The salad is new to me and it surely looks very tasty, Adina.

Reply
Adina 17/03/2016 - 08:51

Thank you, Angie.

Reply
Kate 17/03/2016 - 03:48

Wow, this is so interesting! I know absolutely nothing about Romanian food so I love to hear your stories. More Romanian recipes please! 🙂

Reply
Adina 17/03/2016 - 08:50

Thank you, Kate. There will be quite a few Romanian recipes coming during the next 2 weeks, I hope you’ll like them.

Reply
Thao @ In Good Flavor 17/03/2016 - 20:26

Thanks for sharing your memories and tradition. It helps to broaden my world. This boeuf salad is completely foreign to me, but I would love to give it a try!

Reply
Adina 21/03/2016 - 09:52

It would be great if you tried it, Thao!

Reply
Chris Scheuer 17/03/2016 - 21:56

What a fun tradition! The name is so funny without any beef in the dish. I love family traditions like this that bring back childhood memories. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Adina 21/03/2016 - 09:51

This Easter series is all about memories, I haven’t celebrated Easter in Romania since 2003…

Reply
Jess @ Sweetest Menu 18/03/2016 - 22:28

Wow! This looka amazing! I’ve never seen a salad like this before!

Reply
Adina 21/03/2016 - 09:48

Thanks, Jess. It is typical Romanian, although I have seen a Russian one that was pretty similar.

Reply
Priya 20/03/2016 - 09:55

I can cut that meat portion …I am love the presentation and which makes me eager to try this recipe

Reply
Adina 21/03/2016 - 09:47

I am sure it would still be good without the meat, I hope you like it, Priya.

Reply
Connie 01/04/2020 - 16:34

I almost didn’t click through to this recipe as I thought “Not for us, we rarely eat beef”. I’m in Canada, English/French bilingual, everyone would know “boeuf” even if not fluent in Fr :). However I’m interested in everyone’s Easter food so was happy to read the post. This salad, without the chicken, is familiar to me as my father’s family is from Eastern Europe. I like how special yours looks (not tacky!) and would love to put this on my Easter table even though, because of the pandemic, this year our gathering will be small.
And I agree – the pickles make this salad, add lots!

Reply
Adina 01/04/2020 - 17:48

Hi Connie, so nice to read your comment. Indeed, a beef salad without beef, but chicken is always better. 🙂 Our Easter table will be smaller than ever as well, the first time since I am married (15 years) that we will not have Easter lunch in my mother-in-law’s house, she has a lung illness and we won’t be able to see her in a long time. 🙁 It will be strange to be home for Easter.

Reply
mjskitchen 06/04/2020 - 00:01

What an interesting “salad”. I’ve never heard of this before nor seen anything like it. What a list of ingredients! It’s amazing how you can get such a beautiful dish from all of those ingredients. Thanks for sharing more of the Romanian cuisine and culture.

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