Not to be confused with the salad dressing that shares its name, vinegret is a traditional Russian salad that's always found on the table at a dinner party or festive gathering. It's popular both because of its colourful look and the fact that it's made from hardy storage veggies that can be pulled out of the cellar in the depths of winter. Growing up in a household of Russian emigrees meant vinegret was present at every single celebration, although picky kid eater that I was, I usually wanted nothing to do with its vinegary flavour. With a more grown-up appreciation for this vibrant salad, I decided to oven roast the beets and carrots instead of boil them so as to better bring out the earthy sweetness of these delicious root veggies. It takes longer, but the taste is well worth it. If you're interested in other more traditional touches you can try adding some peas and sauerkraut, although if adding the latter I would dial back on the white vinegar and pickle brine.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
- 2.5 cups (375 g) each of beets, carrots, potatoes
- 1-2 dill pickles
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp pickle brine liquid
- 2 tbsp diced white onion
- salt and pepper to taste
1) Drizzle unpeeled beets in olive oil and wrap individually in aluminum foil (if beets are large, cut in half or quarters first to save time in the oven).
2) Peel carrots and place in shallow baking pan, drizzle with olive oil. Place foil wrapped beets in same pan and roast at 425 F until tender. The carrots will likely take about 30 minutes, the beets about 60 minutes.
3) Peel potatoes and boil until tender, about 20 minutes.
4) While the veggies are cooking, assemble dressing ingredients and dice pickles. Set aside.
5) Drain potatoes and dice when cool enough to handle. Place in colander and rinse under cold water to wash off the starch and separate the diced cubes.
6) Remove carrots from the oven and dice when cool enough to handle.
7) Remove beets and take foil off. Rub peels under running water to remove. Dice beets when cool enough to handle.
8) Combine ingredients with dressing in a salad bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve. Can be stored in the fridge for 3 days.