Russian Salad (Potato egg salad)

Although we can find the origin of this potato salad in Russia in the mid 19th Century, the ingredients are so different that I don’t really think it is the same dish. Anyway, it is one of the most popular tapas in Spain.

As a tapa, it will be served in a small plate with a piece of bread on the side or directly on top of a slice of bread. As you can imagine, bread goes really well with “ensaladilla”, as we call it there. It is also great on a sandwich (remember to use commercial mayo if the sandwich is not going to be refrigerated). I used to have one as a snack when I was in college: “ensaladilla” sandwich and doughnut, everyday at 11 –remember in Spain we eat at 2:30-3 pm-, back in the day when I didn’t have to count the calories. Probably my friend and classmate Maria still remembers my incredible appetite, which made us stay a little too long in the cafeteria… Or maybe it was just an excuse to avoid going back to class… I guess both J

I have been asked to post this recipe, which brings good memories of the holidays spent in Spain to a lot of friends. Just keep in mind it is served cold, so you can prepare it in advance, even the day before.





2 pounds small potatoes

1 cup canned tuna (preferably in olive oil)

3 eggs

½ cup pitted green olives

A 5-8 ounces can/jar (150-225 grs.) white asparagus

½ cup cooked green peas

½ cup cooked carrots (you won’t see them in the pictures because I avoid them, but you will find them in every other ensaladilla)

1 cup homemade mayo (see recipe in our “basics” section)

Some roasted red pepper stripes to decorate (see recipe in our “basics” section)


Extra virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish)

Receta tapa ensaladilla rusa



STEP 1.- Fill a pot with warm water, place the potatoes and eggs inside and bring to a boil. After 8-10 minutes take out the eggs and place under cold water. Cook the potatoes until done in the center but firm (depending on the variety and the size 5-10 more minutes).potatoes, green peas and eggs

STEP 2.- Peel the eggs and potatoes. Dice the potatoes into small cubes and the eggs into smaller pieces. Place them in a large bowl.

diced potatoes and eggs

STEP3.- Drain the liquid from the asparagus and tuna cans. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces and add to bowl.

STEP 4.- Add the rest of the ingredients (carrots cut into tiny pieces) to the bowl and season with salt and olive oil.

mixed ingredients for ensaladilla

STEP 5.- Make the mayonnaise. Mix some mayo and use the rest as an icing. Decorate with some olives, green peas and/or roasted red pepper.

STEP 6.- Serve on a slice of bread (ciabatta, baguette…) or at least with white bread on the side.

canapé ensaladilla (Tapa recipe Russian Salad)


  • You can use green or black olives, but I prefer green
  • I add the mayo at the end to prevent salmonella, but if you are going to keep it in the fridge and it is not a long time you can add it right away
  • Instead of regular peppers you can use piquillo peppers
  • Choose a type of potatoes that keep firm after boiling and don’t overcook them or you will have mashed “ensaladilla”
  • Remember the bread!
  • You can make great sandwiches with the leftovers, just mash the ensaladilla a little and add more mayo.


Author: SimpleTapas

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