Take classic potato salad to the next level. Rosolje from Estonia integrates the tang of sauerkraut, crunch of apple and sweetness of beetroot to create a potluck-worthy beet potato salad.
History of Estonian Cuisine
Traditional Estonian cuisine can be linked all the way back to Medieval times. The cuisine is also tied to its history with the Baltic states, including Latvia, Lithuania and Russia, as well as its Nordic neighbours.
Congruent to many Eastern European nations, Estonian cuisine is heavily based on potatoes and meat, particularly pork. Around coastal and lakeside regions, fish is also quite common. Homemade rye bread has been a staple throughout Estonian history and plays a vital role in most meals.
The country is also known to eat very seasonally. In Spring, dishes are focused around specific ingredients such as lamb, leek, rhubarb and goats cheese. In Summer, the focus turns to fresh vegetables and fruit, then shifts to game meats in Autumn. Finally, winter centres around warming stews, roasts and soups.
Popular Estonian Vegetarian Dishes
- Kohuke– An Estonian snack consisting of sweet curd cheese surrounded by chocolate and often dotted with dried fruit and nuts
- Kama- A flour mixture containing barley, oat, rye and peas that is often mixed with buttermilk or kefir to form all kind of desserts
- Mulgipuder– A unique side dish consisting of mashed potato and barley, which gives a dense, porridge-like texture.
- Vastlakukkel- A sweet bun filled with cream and sometimes jam, generally served during Shrove Tuesday
- Pirukad- An Estonian pastry similar to an Empanada, filled with different types of fillings such as mushrooms, cheese or fruit
- Rosolje- A potato salad made with beetroot and sauerkraut
Making Estonian Beet Potato Salad (Rosolje)
On researching Estonian dishes, Rosolje immediately caught my eye. This vibrant purple salad looked too pretty not to make. Given that potatoes are such a staple of Estonian cuisine, it did seem quite fitting.
I must say, the addition of a few ingredients such as beetroot, granny smith apples and sauerkraut really elevated this potato salad above the stock-standard potluck offering. Next time you’re on potato salad duty, this is recipe you’re going to want to use…
How to make Estonian Beet Potato Salad (Rosolje)
Preheat oven to 200˚C (400ºF). Wrap beetroots in foil and place onto a baking tray and bake for 1 hour. Once beetroots are cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool. Peel off skins, then cut into cubes.
Meanwhile, put cubed potatoes into a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring water to a boil, then lower to a simmer and allow potatoes to simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and allow to cool.
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss chopped potatoes, beetroot, red onion and apple with the dressing. Garnish with sliced boiled eggs and parsley. Leave in fridge for at least an hour to chill, then serve.
Ingredient notes for Beet Potato Salad (Rosolje)
- Beetroot- This recipe is best using whole raw beetroots and roasting them in the oven. However, if you want to save time, you could also used precooked baby beetroots and skip the roasting step.
- Sauerkraut- Although sauerkraut is optional for this recipe, it does add a nice tang (and really adds to the Eastern European vibe of the dish). You can use store-bought sauerkraut or use this recipe to make your own.
- To make vegan– Simply sub Greek yogurt for coconut yogurt, normal mayonnaise for vegan mayonnaise, and omit the sliced egg on top.
Serving suggestions for Estonian Rosolje
This beetroot potato salad is a great make-ahead dish as you can leave it to refrigerate for several hours before serving. In fact, the flavours meld more the longer you leave it.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 beetroots, scrubbed
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
- 1/2 granny smith apple, chopped in matchsticks
- 1/4 cup sauerkraut, optional
- 2 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 200˚C (400ºF). Wrap beetroots in foil and place onto a baking tray and bake for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, put cubed potatoes into a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring water to a boil, then lower to a simmer and allow potatoes to simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and allow to cool.
- Once beetroots are ready, remove from oven and allow to cool. Peel off skins, then cut into cubes.
- In a large bowl, toss chopped potatoes, beetroot, red onion and apple with the dressing. Garnish with sliced boiled eggs and parsley. Leave in fridge for at least an hour to chill, then serve.
Other European dishes to try
- Vegan Dolma with Mince & Bulgur Wheat from Azerbaijan
- Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Peppers (Yemista)
- Käsespätzle Recipe: Mac and Cheese from Austria