A Spanish Favorite: Ensaladilla Rusa

Posted · 26 Comments


Ensaladilla Rusa is a Spanish potato salad served as a tapa throughout the entire country of Spain.

Ever since I can remember, when we would visit Spain, my Abuela Rora would have a spread of our favorite foods made for us upon arrival.  It always consisted of fresh baked bread, Spanish chorizo sausage, jamon serrano, olives, and ensaladilla rusa. She’d also pick up a few 8oz bottles of coca-cola and something “American” she thought we’d enjoy.  One year it was ketchup – another, salsa.

We never seemed to use the condiments in Spain but since she had heard that children from the states enjoyed them she made sure we had them. Isn’t she sweet? Yes, I love her.

My Abuela Rora makes the best ensaladilla rusa. Creamy and silky from homemade mayonnaise and sweet and tender from cooked carrots and fresh from the plaza peas.


When I was 11 years old I sat down with my Abuela Rora to write down her recipe (as best as we could since she doesn’t use measurements) on the back page of my cruzada (crossword book).  It’s one of my most treasured books that I still have today as it has my Abuela’s recipe and holds a sweet memory.

With my last sweet sugar snap peas, I decided to use them to make her recipe.


It never seems to taste as luxurious as it does in Spain, however, it’s still irresistible and one of my favorite summer salads.

A Spanish Favorite: Ensaladilla Rusa


Every person and bar in Spain makes their ensaladilla a little bit different.  Some add shrimp, artichokes, boiled eggs or canned white asparagus.

The staples being homemade mayonnaise, potatoes, tuna, peas and carrots.

Feel free to adapt this recipe adding whatever is in season but please remember that the only way to get the authentic taste from Spain is using homemade mayonnaise made with extra virgin olive oil.

A Spanish Favorite: Ensaladilla Rusa

Yield: Serves 4-5

A Spanish Favorite: Ensaladilla Rusa

Ensaladilla Rusa is one of Spain's most popular tapas. A Spanish potato salad that is simple to make, silky, and creamy by using homemade mayonnaise.


  • 1 recipe homemade mayonnaise
  • 4-5 large potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/4 cup peas (you can use frozen)
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Boil the potatoes and carrots in a large pot for 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Once tender, remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes and carrots are cooling, steam or boil peas for 8-10 minutes or until tender.
  4. Dice the cooled potatoes and carrots into small pieces.
  5. In a large bowl, add the potatoes, carrots, peas, tuna, mayonnaise and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Ensaladilla Rusa is best served at room temperature, however, it can also be chilled.

Have you had an ensaladilla rusa from Spain? Please share with us a recipe for your favorite potato salad in the comments below.


26 Responses to "A Spanish Favorite: Ensaladilla Rusa"
  1. We had to share this on our page! Looks amazing!

  2. Noelle says:

    This sounds so good! I do remember having something like this in Spain, especially with tuna! Look how similar ours is. This is how my Chilean grandmother would make hers. I am totally putting tuna in it next time. Delicious Diana! http://www.singerskitchen.com/2010/03/chilean-feast-for-eight.html

  3. Natalie says:

    I’ve never understood why a Russian salad is the most popular thing in every bar in Spain!! I make mine without the tuna, I love it!! 😀

  4. Sofya Hundt says:

    Looks like the Russian salad we Russians make (and the name points to it?). Here’s my version:


    For meat, they’d either use bologna or cooked chicken, I skip the meat in this one though, makes it overly rich imo.

    For Russians it’s a high-feast food, extremely labor-intensive.

    • Rosario Martin says:

      Sofya, that was the reason we call it Russian Salad, it was a variation from the one in your country, but some ingredients like pickles and Sour cream wasn’t that common many years ago in Spain so we change couple products and add Tuna. But keep giving the credit to Russian for the dish!!!

  5. Kelly says:

    What a great story about you writing down this recipe on the back of an old crossword puzzle book! This looks amazing and something I definitely want to try myself! :)

  6. susan smith says:

    I spent a semester in Sevilla, and ensaladilla rusa was one of my favorites!

  7. Yes, it is a russian salad Sofya. So popular in Spain!

  8. Sofya Hundt says:

    I love it, your version seems MUCH easier.

  9. jose manuel says:

    En mi casa también le echamos un buen atún o caballa y pimiento morrón, es la mejor tapa del mundo.


  10. this looks delicious lovely pictures

  11. IAMSNWFLAKE says:

    In Argentina we call it Ensalada Rusa and the recipe calls for potatoes, carrots, peas and mayonnaise. It is a favorite summer side dish.
    Then, as in every recipe, each household has its variations and added ingredients.

  12. Estoy muy alegre! This recipe just simply makes me smile and think of my time in Espana :-) I’m looking forward to making it!

  13. Joan Nova says:

    Si, si señora…a favorite for sure! I’ve also done it using olive oil + vinegar to dress the salad, then molded it on plate and slathered outside with mayo.

  14. I almost put up a recipe for Ensalada Rusa this week. My husband’s family calls it Ensaladilla. It’s delicious with tuna.

  15. Skylar says:

    Looks great, and with the tuna! Oh what a great idea

  16. This looks so good! I want to make it!

  17. edurne says:

    Just found your blog today!! I felt homesick (come from Spain but live in Venezuela) and when I saw the title of your blog couldn´t resist!!! =) Guess what we are having for dinner today! You made me remember my mother =)

  18. sara says:

    My grandfather use to make this for us when we were little, he used ham instead of tuna and added boiled egg and potato. it’s delicious! In Spain another staple food in any bar/restaurant is “Tortilla” the base for it is onion potato eggs and salt, some add peppers and meats.

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