Polish Root Vegetable Salad

"Polish Root Vegetable Salad, from Make It Like a Man!

This is a terrific salad, and believe me, if you’ve never had anything like it, you’ve never had anything like it.

Among Poles, this is a traditional, celebratory salad. Yes, I put the words “celebratory” and “salad” together. Think hearty, rustic, peasant, old-country – all in the best ways.

In addition to making an appearance as a side dish at a wedding, this is also the kind of salad one might eat for breakfast on a major holiday. Uh-huh, I just put the words “salad” and “breakfast” within four words of one another. I know, it’s getting kind of scary … but stick with me. The rest of the breakfast might consist of cold meats and cheeses. If you’ve never had this kind of breakfast, you have no idea how much of life you’re missing out on. How Americans got tricked into eating nothing but cold cereal and pop tarts in the morning is, well, one of the downsides of living in modern America. (Celebrity presidents is the other.)

This is not a salad for the meek. You’ll be surprised at how bold it is. It’d stand up proudly to smoked salmon and shots of ice-cold vodka. (Yes, even breakfast vodka.)

Serves 6-8 … at least!


4 eggs
2 red potatoes (1 lb, 3.5 oz. total), optionally peeled
2 carrots (6.5 oz. total), peeled
2 parsnips (11.5 oz. total), peeled
1 small celery root (10 oz.), peeled
1 white onion (10.5 oz.)
8 dill pickle spears (7.5 oz.), diced and allowed to drain of excess juice
1 cup frozen peas (5 oz.)

"Polish Root Vegetable Salad, from Make It Like a Man!

Hard boil the eggs, and once they’re done, chop them. Meanwhile, dice the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and celery root to perfect, uniform, pea-sized cubes.

Steam the diced veggies until they’re just shy of perfectly tender. They’ll continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove them from direct heat, so be careful that they don’t wind up mushy when all’s said and done. (For me, this means about 18 minutes in a rice cooker, stirring them on occasion. You could do it in the microwave.) Meanwhile, dice the onion.

Preheat a 10-inch, cast-iron skillet for 2 minutes over low heat. Add butter, and raise temperature to medium. Add one small piece of onion; once the onion starts to sizzle, add the rest of the onion and sauté until soft and sweet, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Off heat.


6 Tbs mayo (4 oz.)
6 Tbs Greek-style yogurt (substitute sour cream)
1 tsp mustard
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Mix the dressing together. Taste for seasoning. Gently toss everything together. Chill.


  1. When you get the vegetables home from the market, you’re going to think it looks like far too little to make eight servings. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that it is.
  2. No need to let the peas defrost beforehand. They’ll defrost as the salad chills.

"Polish Root Vegetable Salad, from Make It Like a Man!
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Polish Root Vegetable Salad

Credit for images on this page: Make It Like a Man! This content was not solicited, nor written in exchange for anything, such as dual citizenship in Poland or any other EU country, which might come in handy if “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, folks” applies to our current White House.

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"Polish Root Vegetable Salad, from Make It Like a Man!

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25 thoughts on “Polish Root Vegetable Salad

  1. I got really excited when I saw your top photo, because I’ve had this salad before! I had an aquaintance from Czechoslovakia and she made this once. It was fantastic, in spite of the dubious ingredients! I also have it in a Russian cookbook. Canned peas were used instead of frozen. And I think there might have been macaroni, or maybe I’m remembering the potatoes? Anyway, this is great.

    mimi recently posted…Spinach Pie

    • Thanks! It’s a really interesting salad. It doesn’t usually have macaroni, but I could imagine that it’d be right at home in it.

    • I have to confess that I made this salad in the very late winter, took the pictures, and didn’t get around to posting it unti just now.

    • Yeah, I figured. It’s very ethnic. I think it’s delicious. You’d have to love root vegetables, obviously, and you’d have to love parsnips in particular. It’s a really interesting salad.

  2. This salad reminds me of a salad my Dear Mom used to call Russian Salad which was often served on the side of devilled eggs. I know what you mean about a European breakfast, I just love it, fresh cheeses, cold cuts and rustic bread — it’s one of my favourite breakfasts!
    Eva Taylor recently posted…Bacon and Parmesan Cheese Puffs

    • Oh, no surprise – Polish and Russian foods are so similar. This salad, even though it has eggs in it, would be delicious alongside deviled eggs.

  3. Breakfast vodka I don’t do. Well, not anymore — in my youth I probably did. But this sort of salad — along with leftover meat and whatever — I’d definitely do. New dish to me — haven’t had anything like it. But I want it! 🙂
    John/Kitchen Riffs recently posted…Zucchini and Chickpea Stir-Fry

  4. I’m all in favor of a celebratory salad! I’d be happy to load up my plate with some of yours!!

  5. i can say without a doubt that i’ve never had anything like this. it sounds almost like a potato salad, though made even heartier with more vegetables. sounds good to me (: would also llke to bolster your celebration salad idea, since i celebrated my friend getting a job last night with salad (there might have been ice cream afterwards).
    heather (delicious not gorgeous) recently posted…Tomato Nectarine Salad with Tofu Cream

    • It is sort of in the potato salad family, or in themacaroni salad family … but it has this very ethnic taste all its own. Congrats to your friend!

    • Yes, it most certainly would drive any Pole crazy to hear of this distinctly Polish food as “Russian.” Although, I would admit, after a few boilermakers, that, of all Polish foods, this one does have a distinctively Russian flavor.

        • I knew about the Russian version, but I didn’t know the name of it, so thanks. I had no idea there was an Italian version.

    • Traditionally, yes, you’d expect to have access to root vegetables like this in winter and into early spring. So you’d associate this salad with Christmas and Easter. In fact, I made this salad for Easter, photographed it, but just never got round to posting it until recently. So, if you’re an in-season vegetable type of person, you’ll have to wait a few months to try this out. If you shop, though, at one of those groceries that carries any kind of vegetable year round, this salad could stand in for potato salad any day – except that it has a much stronger personality.

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