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Here at Wholesome Yum, I try to share low carb recipes that are popular worldwide. But, sometimes, I can’t resist creating the types of Russian foods I grew up with. Remaking traditional Eastern European or Russian recipes to be low carb can be a lot of fun. This healthy Olivie salad is my recent recreation of the classic Russian Olivier salad recipe.
And even though an Olivier Russian salad recipe may be more appropriate around New Year’s, which is the most popular holiday associated with it, I wanted to share it now. Why? Because it’s also an awesome cold salad for summer picnics and barbecues. There’s still time to make it this Memorial Day weekend!
What Is Salat Olivie or Olivier?
In Russian, this salad is called Salat Olivie or Olivye (“Салат Оливье”). Salat just means “salad” in Russian.
But for some reason, many translations call this Russian Olivier salad. I have no idea where the “r” came in, but I’m going to use the names here interchangeably. I’ve also seen Stolichny salad used as the name, and some even refer to it simply as Russian salad.
But I’ve definitely always known it as Olivie salad, so I’m sticking with that. Besides, there are lots of other Russian salad recipes, so calling this one the definitive Russian salad wouldn’t really be accurate.
So, what is Olivier Salad? It’s basically just Russian potato salad. But unlike American potato salad, it has a lot more ingredients besides the potatoes.
Salat Olivie was invented in Moscow but has since spread all over the world. Most former Soviet countries still call it Olivier salad, and in other parts of the world it’s sometimes referred to as just a Russian salad recipe.
In Russian culture, Olivie salad is almost synonymous with holidays and gatherings. Which is why I decided to make my low carb version for my daughter’s birthday celebration last month – and it was a hit! Usually, you don’t mess with Russians and their potatoes, but all our guests happily ate my version of this Russian salad recipe.
Variations of Russian Olivier Salad (“Салат Оливье”)
Almost every family that makes Russian Olivier salad has their own way of doing it. In modern versions, some popular ingredients include potatoes, carrots, dill pickles, peas, apples, eggs, celeriac, onions, and either chicken, ham, bologna, or crab. But, many people have their own versions, too.
Either way, it’s all bound with mayonnaise. Some versions add other ingredients to the mayo, like mustard, vinegar, or olive oil.
My mom made Olivye a little differently. Her recipe included potatoes, carrots, eggs, pickles, imitation crab, green apples, and mayo. It’s not low carb, but I liked it more than most because she used much less potatoes than most Russian Olivier salad recipes.
Of course, my version of low carb Olivier salad has no potatoes or apples. I used cooked cauliflower instead to make it healthier.
And before you scoff, give it a try because the flavors turn out the same! I used this trick in my American cauliflower potato salad recipe (without actual potatoes), and it works well for Russian Olivier salad, too.
Here are the basic ingredients for making my healthy Olivie salad:
- Dijon mustard
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
They are quick, easy and simple. Peas and carrots are not normally on the low carb food list, but the small amount in this recipe keeps the overall dish very low carb. Only 1g net carbs per 1/2 cup serving!
To me, this was great compromise to make a healthy salat Olivye for my family, while still keeping it true to how this salad should be. You can skip the peas for a paleo or whole30 version.
How To Make Russian Salad Olivier
The steps for how to make Russian salad Olivier are super easy, but I admit they can be time consuming. The main issue is that chopping everything small takes a long time. It’s a good relaxing activity to do while listening to music or even watching TV.
Olivie is meant to be a very soft salad, so the vegetables are all either pickles or cooked. Since I used canned peas and pickles from a jar, we only need to cook the cauliflower and carrots.
This Russian salad recipe assumes that you are already starting with hard boiled eggs. If you don’t have those ready, make them first.
Otherwise, start by chopping the cauliflower and carrots into very small pieces. Then, boil them in a pot on the stove, or even in the microwave with water if you prefer. Drain when they are nice and soft.
You can plunge the carrots and cauliflower into ice water afterward to stop the cooking process, if you want to. I decided to be a little lazy and skip this step. Russian Olivier salad is supposed to be soft anyway, so it doesn’t really matter if these veggies are a little overcooked. Up to you.
Meanwhile, you can cut up the remaining ingredients that need chopping – pickles, boiled eggs, and ham.
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing, which is mostly mayonnaise. I like to use my homemade avocado mayo, but you can also use store bought. Some Russian potato salad recipes use straight mayo, but I add Dijon mustard, sea salt and black pepper for better flavor. Adjust to your liking. It will be thick.
Finally, mix everything together in a big bowl! Stir the cauliflower, carrots, pickles, eggs, ham, and peas in a large bowl. Then, just mix in the dressing.
How To Store Olivie Salad
For best results, you should refrigerate Olivier salad for at least an hour before serving. This lets all the flavors mix together. Besides, Russian potato salad is really best cold, so refrigerating is necessary after cooking the cauliflower, carrots, and eggs.
As for storage, this is one of my favorite aspects of this Russian potato salad recipe. Olivier salad stores extremely well! There are no greens to wilt or crunchy veggies to get mushy, so it stays awesome in the fridge for a long time.
Olivie is best in the first few days, but will keep in the fridge up to a week. Perfect for leftovers throughout the week, or even a make-ahead lunch!
More Low Carb Recipes To Love
Healthy "Olivie" Russian Olivier Salad Recipe
This is a healthy version of the popular Salat Olivie ("Салат Оливье")! Everyone will love this Russian Olivie Salad recipe - lower in carbs but just as delicious! It's easy to make and stores well.
Click underlined ingredients to buy them!
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- 1 large head Cauliflower (cut into small florets, ~6 cups florets)
- 1 cup Carrots (diced small)
- 1/2 24 fl oz jar Pickles (drained, diced small)
- 10 large Egg (hard boiled, diced)
- 1/2 lb Ham (diced small; try to look for uncured, no sugar, or if you can't find that, <1g sugar per serving)
- 1/2 15-oz can Peas (drained; skip for paleo or whole30)
- 1 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
- 3/4 tsp Sea salt (to taste)
- 1/4 tsp Black pepper
RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Cook the cauliflower and carrots together on the stove or in the microwave.
Stove method: Fill a pot with water and add a tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the small cauliflower florets and diced carrots. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until very tender. Drain well.
Microwave method: Add the small cauliflower florets, diced carrots, and 2 tablespoons water to a large bowl. Microwave for 10 minutes on high, stirring halfway through. (You can cover with plastic wrap if it doesn't touch the cauliflower, which will make it cook faster.) Drain well.
While the cauliflower and carrots are cooking, dice the pickles, eggs, and ham.
Whisk together the mayo, Dijon mustard (if using), salt, and pepper, to taste. (The dressing should be on the salty side, because it will coat the remaining ingredients that are completely unsalted.)
Stir together the cooked cauliflower, cooked carrots, pickles, eggs, ham, and peas. Stir in the mayo dressing mixture.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Salat olivie will keep well overnight, or even for a few days if needed.
Serving size: 1/2 cup
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Carb count excludes sugar alcohols. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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