Insalata Russa

  • 30 mins total
  • 10 mins prep
  • 20 mins cook
  • 59 mins Cooling
  • serves 8 people

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Insalata Russa or translated from Italian, Russian salad. I can’t seem to get enough of it. It was such a special treat when my mother or grandmother made it. My grandmother taught me how to make it when I was quite young, and I am so thankful she did. She made it look easy and, of course,  never followed a recipe. Just potatoes, tuna, giardiniera, and mayonnaise.

Deliciously good with each bite.

I have not made it in years and was reminiscing about our travels thru Spain.  Everywhere we went we had it as a tapas or side salad. Small differences from the Italian version, but needless to say, deliciously good with each bite.

It goes without saying that as soon as I got home, I made my own version following the teaching of Italian recipes. Seeing that I never wrote the recipe down when I was younger, creation took over, and here is my version.

Origins of Insalata Russa

The origin of the Insalata Russa is traced all the way to 1860. Some say it was originated and created by a Belgian who worked in a prestigious restaurant in Moscow. Others from France during Caterina De Medici, Russia, and from the Piemonte region of Italy. There are so many hypotheses about the real place of origin, that it is impossible to mention them all.

Insalata Russa is a versatile dish

Enjoy it as an appetizer or tapas, with your favorite cocktail. Transport yourself to an Italian or Spanish cafe and enjoy a few relaxing moments.

Boiled chicken or beef almost requires it. And of course, when you have a BBQ or a simple burger, this Insalata Russa is just perfect to go alongside.

Perfect kids recipe for their afternoon snack. Roll the Insalata Russa inside slices of ham. Kids love it.


  • You can set aside some of the giardinieras, pickled vegetables the Italian way,  to use as decoration.
  • Insalata Russa is generally served in a large bowl or serving plate or you can create individual servings. Just let your imagination flow.
  • Tuna packed in oil has such a wonderful flavor that I highly recommend it buying it and using it for this dish.
  • Use French cornichons instead of the soft American pickle. The French counterpart is crunchier and has a great flavor more on the pungent side which is perfect for this dish. The American pickle is sweeter and will change the flavor of the dish.
  • Use good mayonnaise, Kraft or homemade, are the choices. Best Food is on the sweeter side and not ideal to use with this dish.
  • Always rinse capers. You need to remove either the salt taste or the vinegar taste.


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Nutrition Facts
Insalata Russa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 536 Calories from Fat 423
% Daily Value*
Fat 47g72%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 112mg37%
Sodium 597mg26%
Potassium 450mg13%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 15g30%
Vitamin A 185IU4%
Vitamin C 9.1mg11%
Calcium 48mg5%
Iron 3.6mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Insalata Russa

  • 30 mins total
  • 10 mins prep
  • 20 mins cook
  • 59 mins Cooling
  • serves 8 people


Original recipe yields 8 servings

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  • 3 large potatoes, boiled, peeled, and cut into small cubes
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 16 pounces Mezzetta Italian Mix Giardiniera
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 cornichons chopped (optional)
  • 16 ounces mayonnaise
  • 1 10-ounces can tuna in oil, drained
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Boil the cubed potatoes with sea salt until done but not falling apart. Drain well and set aside to cool off. Cook the peas in a small pan with some water until slightly tender. Drain and set aside.

  2. Chop 3 of the hard-boiled eggs into small cubes. Slice the remaining egg and set it aside (used for garnishing)

  3. Cut in small pieces the Giardiniera and add them to a large bowl. Add the peas, tuna, rinsed caper, mustard, chopped eggs, chopped cornichons, salt and pepper, half of the mayonnaise. Mix well.

  4. Add the cooled diced potatoes to the bowl and mix well. Add more mayonnaise as you go along until you have a soft consistency salad. Taste to adjust the flavor.

  5. Let the Insalata rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, decorate with the sliced egg, and serve.


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Comments (10) Post a Reply

  1. Dahn says:

    My grandmother used to cook like that too… no recipe. The best recipes come from people that watch their grandmas and write everything down. This sounds delicious

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      How wonderful that you have the same heart warming memories of your grandmother. It is their gift to us.
      Give the recipe a try, I am sure you will enjoy it. It sure was delicious.
      Thank you for stopping by Giangi’s Kitchen.

  2. Natalie says:

    Looks so delicious and brings me back to my childhood!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Thank you Natalie, I am happy it brought you back to your childhood. Those are wonderful memories to carry in our hearts.
      Thank you for reading my post

  3. Adriana says:

    This is definitely a classic and a family favorite. At homemy mother was used to prepare Insalata russa for parties, What a treat!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      An absolutely a classic treat. I loved it how everywhere we went this summer it had a presence on the table.
      Bring back fond memories of the special peoples in our lives.
      Thank you Adriana for stopping by and reading my recipe.

  4. Cathy says:

    Oh this salad sounds terrific! Perfect now for these hot summer days! This dish will be perfect for my BBQ this weekend! Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      The pleasure is all mine. I am sure you will love it, but I do want your feedback.
      Enjoy your weekend BBQ.

  5. Adrianne says:

    This looks like a quick and easy family recipe. Love that your family cook together!! Cheers

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      We sure do enjoy time together in the kitchen. Laughter, talk, sharing love.
      The recipe is very fast and I am sure you will enjoy it.
      Thank you for stopping by Giangi’s Kitchen.

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