Sałatka Jarzynowa: Polish Vegetable Salad

Tradycyjna Sałatka Jarzynowa z Majonezem

Sałatka jarzynowa (pron.: ‘Sawatcah yazhenova’) is a Polish-style Vegetable Salad. It has countless variations, but this classic version is essential at parties, festivities, and family gatherings. 

Dressed in rich mayo and studded with root vegetables, this creamy and colourful salad (a cousin to the Russian ‘Olivier salad’) is the easy, delicious appetiser you need.

Its characteristic acidity and crunch come from tart apples and full sour pickles, nicely balancing the richness of mayonnaise. Some home cooks prefer to skip those, feel free to experiment and make it yours.

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

Vegetable Salad is deeply embedded in our tradition. That’s why for some, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that it’s not a Polish speciality – or at least not of Polish origin.

According to some sources⁽¹⁾, the recipe was inspired by the French ‘Macédoine’, while others⁽²⁾ point at Russia, towards the ‘Olivier’ salad. 

Once rich in expensive ingredients, with time the salad was reduced to what was available at the time: eggs, root vegetables, mayo; often apples, peas, and full sour pickles.

During communism, the vegetables for this salad were often retrieved from cooking broth (for Rosół, or other soups). And while I admire the zero-waste attitude, this sort of treatment resulted in veggies turned into dead, tasteless mush. 

Thankfully, we’re no longer limited by what we can buy. Let’s buy the best ingredients and make the best salad ever.

🎉Fun fact: During communism, ‘Jarzynowa’ was one of the mandatory appetizers at the bars, to go with vodka. As it was often of questionable freshness, many drinkers would leave it behind. Sałatka would be then recycled into another dish and served again (yikes!).

Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Sałatka Jarzynowa?

Most of the ingredients should be easily available in any well-stocked supermarket.

Ingredients for Polish-style Vegetable Salad (Sałatka Jarzynowa).

The only troublesome ingredients are celeriac, parsley root, and full sour fermented pickles. While very common in Poland, they can be hard to purchase abroad. 

You can try enquiring at your local farmer’s market – if you’re unsuccessful, try using parsnips or turnips instead.

Fermented pickles are available at certain delis, especially the ones specialising in Polish or Jewish food. Make sure to get the real deal, without any vinegar added. Alternatively, try fermenting them at home (it’s easy!).

What should you serve with this Polish Sałatka?

Traditionally, this salad is served on a celebratory table along with other cold appetizers:

In all cases, there’s always some freshly sliced bread on the side.

Sałatka Jarzynowa can be served either in a larger salad bowl, or individual smaller bowls (short drinking glasses work well too).

You could also serve this salad as a side dish – but since it’s on a heavier side, this is rarely practised. You could pair it with white fish (boiled or roasted) or a pork roast.

Can you make this Polish Vegetable Salad another way?

Yes, you can. Other popular versions of this salad include:

  • Additional ingredients – most commonly ham, herring, chicken breast, diced kiełbasa, marinated wild mushrooms, leeks, whole kennel corn, green beans, capers.
  • Replacing some (or even all) of the mayonnaise with sour cream or strained yoghurt.
  • Skipping the potatoes altogether. 

What diets is this Sałatka Jarzynowa suitable for?

This recipe is suitable for vegetarians and those who follow a gluten-free diet. 

To make it vegan-friendly, swap regular mayo for a vegan version and skip the eggs.

How long can you keep this Polish Sałatka in the fridge?

Since this salad is mayo-based, you shouldn’t keep it out at room temperature for more than 3 hours. In practice though, it usually stays out for longer – and so far, I haven’t heard about any casualties.

Make sure to refrigerate any leftovers in a container with a lid. Jars work really well here.

The salad should generally be eaten within 1-2 days after preparation. That’s mainly due to the eggs, onions, apples, and most importantly, mayonnaise. This creamy dressing really shortens its lifespan.

That’s why most home cooks refrigerate this salad without mayonnaise, adding it just before serving. That way you can enjoy it for up to 2-3 days.

Can I freeze this Veggie Salad?

The leftovers cannot be frozen. 

But you can freeze it mid-way; meaning – cooked & diced vegetables, without any full sour pickles, eggs, onions, and mayo. This way, it will be quicker to prepare it later.

Smacznego!

Sałatka Jarzynowa: Polish Vegetable Salad
Sałatka Jarzynowa: Polish Vegetable Salad

Sałatka Jarzynowa: Polish Vegetable Salad

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Sałatka jarzynowa (pron.: ‘Sawatcah yazhenova’) is a Polish-style Vegetable Salad. It has countless variations, but this classic version is essential at parties, festivities, and family gatherings. 

Ingredients

  • 3 medium potatoes (approx. 0.8 lb, 12 oz, 350 g), waxy-type
  • 4 large carrots (approx. 1 lb, 450 g)
  • 2-3 parsley roots (approx. 0.5 lb, 225 g); can replace with more celeriac or turnip
  • ½ small celeriac/celery root (approx. 9 oz, 250 g); can replace with parsley root
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ medium onion (approx. 2 oz, 50-60 g); white or yellow
  • 4 large full sour fermented pickles (approx. 7 oz, 200 g)
  • 1 large apple (approx. 7 oz, 200 g); ideally tart
  • 1 can green sweet peas (approx. 14-15 oz, 400-425 g)
  • 7 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 7 tablespoons sour cream; can replace with more mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon mustard; mild or yellow
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ground

Instructions

Cooking Vegetables

  1. Wash all vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsley roots and celeriac) thoroughly. Peel the celeriac, don’t peel the rest.
  2. If the vegetables are large, cut them in large chunks. Place all vegetables into a large cooking pot.
  3. Pour in enough water to cover them all (stock would be even better!). Cover with a lid and set the heat on ‘medium’. 
  4. Cook vegetables until tender, but still firm - we don’t want them to fall apart in the salad. Usually, 30 minutes is enough, but that will depend on the thickness of your veggies. You can monitor them by ‘poking’ with a fork from time to time. Once they’re cooked, strain and leave to cool.

Cooking Eggs

  1. As you wait, place eggs in the bottom of a saucepan. Fill the pan with cold water, just above the eggs.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a minimum and continue cooking for 9 minutes. 
  3. Remove the eggs from the pan and into a smaller bowl. Cover them with cold water and set them aside to cool.

Blanching Onion

  1. Peel the onion, and dice it finely, then move into a small bowl.
  2. Cover with boiling water and leave for 15 seconds.
  3. Use a sieve to strain the water off. Move the onions into a large salad bowl.

Assembling the salad

  1. Peel full sour pickles and cut off the ends. Dice them into small cubes.
  2. Squeeze out the excess juices with your hands and move the cukes into the salad bowl.
  3. Peel the apple and cut out the core. Slice just like the pickles. Add to the salad bowl.
  4. Peel cooked vegetables and gently dice them into cubes (mine are roughly sized at 0.3’’/8 mm per side). Add to bowl.
  5. Peel the eggs, dice them as well. Add to bowl.
  6. Open a can of green peas, get rid of the liquid. Pour the peas into the bowl.
  7. Add in mayonnaise, sour cream, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Gently stir to combine - try not to mash the vegetables. 
  9. If you have the time, refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 435Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 650mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 7gSugar: 16gProtein: 10g

Sources:

  1. “Historie kuchenne. Sałatka lepszego i gorszego sortu Polaków” article by Magdalena Kasprzyk-Chevriaux (in Polish)
  2. “Klasyk PRL-u: sałatka jarzynowa” article (in Polish) at varsisava.pl

Polish name:
Pronunciation:
Cuisine: Polish
Region / Subregion: all-Polish
Other traditional or regional names:
Also known as (including misspellings):