Beef Salad (Salata de boeuf)

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Beef Salad known as Salata de boeuf in Romania, is a traditional salad made for Easter and Christmas. It can be served as a side dish, or a meal on its own.

Now this is an interesting salad and I can’t say I’ve had this anywhere else or seen it on any menu. But it is the most traditional salad in Romania for all holidays. If we didn’t make this, it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas, or Easter or whatever. Growing up I was always in charge of cutting up all the meat and vegetables. It was my favorite thing to do. It is very delicious but I would imagine somewhat high in calories because of all the mayonnaise. My mother always used to make it with turkey though, even though it’s called a beef salad, she just doesn’t like beef, but ever since I got married, I only make it with beef and I must say I like both versions. Now normally when I make this salad I don’t use a recipe with exact quantity for each ingredient, so it doesn’t really matter if you’re exact.

I start off with a couple pounds of really nice lean beef, chop it up in 1 inch cubes.

Boil the beef for abut 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours. Trust me, it will melt in your mouth. While I wait, I chop up the pickles, really small and place them in a bowl over paper towels, so the water drains out of them.

Clean the potatoes and carrots and place them in a big pot with water. Boil them until cooked.

Drain them and let them cool when they are done.

Take out the meat when it’s done and let cool. Now you realize you can make an awesome soup with the broth from the beef and from the potatoes and carrots.

After everything has cooled, start chopping up the beef, same size as the pickles, very small and place in a very large bowl.

Add the drained peas.

Add the pickles.

Chop up the carrots, same size, and add them to the bowl.

Chop up the potatoes and add them to the bowl.

Add the mayo and mustard, now I used this awesome mustard with horseradish, to give it a nice little spice.

Time to get dirty. Wash your hands really well and start mixing everything together really well.  If you feel the salad is too dry, add more mayo or mustard. Taste as you go.

Every time I make this salad, I say I’m going to make less, but I always end up with two bowls. Separate the salad in two medium bowls, and with a knife, smooth out the top nicely, you don’t have to, it just looks better.

Another thing that’s done traditionally is add mayo on top and smooth it out. When I was a kid, we used to do all kinds of fancy designs on top of the salad, like flowers from pickles, red peppers and eggs. For now I stick to just mayo.  Realize this step is optional.


Beef Salad (Salata de boeuf)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
  • 2 lbs beef or turkey
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 jar pickles, once they are chopped you'll need about 1½ cups of diced pickles, the more the better
  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 1 lb carrots
  • ½ cup to 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup mustard
  1. Boil the beef for about 3 hours, or use a pressure cooker to finish faster. It needs to be very tender. Boil the potatoes and carrots. Let everything cool and start dicing everything.
  2. They should all be small pieces about ½ cm by ½ cm. Make sure you drain all the juice from the diced pickles. Mix everything together in a big bowl, and add the mayo and mustard, you can add salt and pepper to taste if you wish. You will end up with a big bowl of salad, traditionally we smooth out the top of the salad with a knife and spread more mayonnaise and smooth that out.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and you can refrigerate it for days.
  4. Serve salad cold, do not warm it up.


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  1. Judy says

    My brother in law’s mother – survivors of the holocaust – makes this delicious salad but she doesn’t use meat of any kind.

  2. Katherine says

    Thanks for writing this post. I have a silly question, though…. What type of pickle do you use? Dill pickle? Bread & Butter style pickle? Do you have a favorite brand that you use?

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

  3. Ramona Fletcher says


    I plan on making the sarmale next week for a group of friends so hopefully i dont mess them up :) I havent had them in over a year because my husband and i moved away from my family. Its tradition for us to have them for all the big holidays also!

    Also, i have always loved salate de beouf but have never had it with beef before. Growing up it was always made with chicken. So its normally made with beef?

    • says

      Yes it is traditional made with beef, hence the name salta de beouf, beouf meaning beef. :) I know my mom always made it with chicken or turkey as well, but my husband loves it with beef, so since I’ve got married I always make it with beef. You’ve got to try it, it’s good both ways.

  4. Ramona Fletcher says

    Hi Jo,

    I came across one of your recipes and thought it looked delicious, than started looking through them all and when I saw the recipe for stuffed cabbage it made me so happy! I am Romanian and grew up with my mom making all these Romanian dishes so it just has brought back so many good memories. I can’t wait to get started on baking and cooking now!
    Thank you for making your recipes so easy to follow and so eye catching and beautiful!


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