Finnish Christmas Beetroot Salad

This recipe for Finnish Christmas Beetroot Salad is commonly served as a holiday side dish during the Christmas Season!  It combines many unique Scandinavian flavors and vegetables into one dish.  The recipe is very traditionally Finnish, and idea is to cube the vegetables so that they are the same size and can be eaten in small spoonfuls where you get a variety of different flavors in each bite.

You can optionally add the pickled herring (fish) to the dish and add some more protein and a savory flavor to the dish.  Some Finns will prefer the salad on the sweeter side, and will add a little more sugar to their taste.  Others enjoy the more “pickled” or salty/vinegary taste so they will eliminate the sugar and only use salt.

Notice that if you do want to use the pepper, be sure to use “white pepper” not black, as it will dye the same pink color as all the vegetables.  Using black pepper will leave you with black specks in the dish, which isn’t as pleasing to the eye and will also impart different flavors.

If you do not like onions, you can omit this ingredient.  The onion is only meant to be a minor ingredient in the whole dish, so if you do use an onion use the smallest one available or cut a larger onion in half, otherwise your salad will have too much of that one flavor.

Hope you enjoy this chilled salad, it’s perfect for summer as well as Christmas.  It goes well with other richer flavors like a ham, turkey or other very savory meat dishes.


Finnish Christmas Beetroot Salad

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Finnish Christmas Beetroot Salad

This Finnish Christmas Beetroot Salad recipe is great for any beet-lover, or for a Finnish Christmas side dish!


For Salad:
2 Medium Potatoes
2 Medium Carrots
3 Medium Beets fresh( substitute with approx 1 can/ 12 oz jar of pickled beets)
2 small pickled cucumbers (Sweet pickles will work)
1 apple
1 small onion
*1/2 filet salted herring, thinly chopped/sliced (optional)
Pinch of sugar, white pepper, salt to taste
For Dressing:
Whipped Cream, approximately 1/2 cup
*Recipe can be doubled for large groups


  1. Peel and slice the potatoes, carrots, pickles, and beets into small 1/2 inch slices bring to a rolling boil with the pinch of salt until they are tender to the touch. Be careful to not overcook or they will be mushy.
  2. The beetroots will dye the other ingredients pink, this is part of the fun!
  3. *Use gloves when handling beets and be sure to cook on a stainless or non staining cutting board to avoid beets staining your hands and kitchen.
  4. When the vegetables are almost done, save around 1/2 cup of the pink "beetroot liquid" that the veggies were cooking in to add to the dressing later on. Set aside in a glass cup and chill in the refrigerator.
  5. Peel and core the apples and slice them into small 1/2 inch cubes and add them along to the mixed vegetables.
  6. Slice the onion into very small diced pieces and add to the mixed vegetable, apple mixture.
  7. Slice the pickled herring into thin cubes and add to the vegetable mixture.
  8. After the ingredients are prepared, combine them in a glass bowl, add a little more salt and pepper and set aside to chill and combine their flavors in the refrigerator for approximately 2 hours.
  9. Combine chilled beetroot "pink liquid" with the whipped cream, and add this to the top of your vegetables. You can also add it to individual servings as they are prepared. Add pinch of sugar, salt and white pepper to taste. The idea here is to have a sweet and sour taste all combined.
  10. Store the salad and dressing separately in the refrigerator, they will keep for approximately 5 days.

4 thoughts on “Finnish Christmas Beetroot Salad

  1. Juha

    Is the cream necessary?

    I’d like to make some north and Eastern European food but it’s about impossible to find anything that isn’t very high in calories because almost everything relies on cream, sour cream, butter or fat.

    1. Charlene Linden

      I love Northern and Eastern European foods and I understand what you mean. For this dish, I will substitute non-fat sour cream. I am keeping it on the savory side. Alternatively, there is non-fat or low-fat non-dairy “cream”.

      This will work well in uncooked recipes such as this.

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