Shuba is a layered (herring fish) salad topped with boiled vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, beets, and mayonnaise. Known as dressed herring or herring under a fur coat, this Russian and Ukrainian beet salad is a Holiday staple in most families!
This Beet Salad is called Shuba in Ukrainian and it’s a very popular layered fish salad among the Slavic culture. You’re likely to see this purple beet salad at weddings, Holiday tables, and other Russian functions because it’s the food grandma used to make!
The purple hue comes from the mayo and beet concoction that is not only vibrant but super delicious! In fact, its the best part of the salad and gets picked at the most from children or hungry snackers, which is why this recipe calls for a generous amount of beets! It’s what makes a Shuba salad and is incredibly tender and creamy!
This tasty vegetable salad is made with herring fish fillets that come marinated in oil hence the no addition of salt or other spices. Herring fish is small and pretty much boneless which makes it edible straight from the package. It’s then layered with tender and nutritious veggies and is super easy to layer once the veggies are cooked. You can find marinated herring fish fillets in the fridge section of European Markets.
Some people like to add hard-boiled eggs, grated apples, or even dill pickles but I love the classic version, which is usually beets, carrots, potatoes, sometimes onion and herring fish. You can layer the salad in fancy dishes or use baking pans covered in plastic wrap to easily invert later. It’s a timeless classic Russian or Ukrainian Salad that has earned a spot in staple salads.
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How to Make Shuba Salad:
Easy Shuba Salad
- 1 XL beet (or 2 medium)
- 1 medium potato
- 1 medium carrot
- 2 oz herring fish fillets marinated in oil (1/4 cup of diced herring)
- 1 cup mayo
How to make Shuba:
- Boil the first three ingredients in a large pot over medium heat for 30 minutes (remove carrots after the first 15 min as they get tender faster.)
- Cool and peel the skins off with a sharp knife. Grate separately. Set aside.
- Finely dice the fish and spread out onto a serving dish. Top with potatoes, carrots, 1/2 cup mayo, beets and remaining 1/2 cup of mayo. Refrigerate overnight for the beets to seep into the mayo. Serve.
- Beets: An XL beet should equal up to 3 cups of grated cooked beets.
- Herring Fish: is sold in most European Markets where Russian or Polish goods are sold. Look for packaged Herring in the fridge or cooler section.
Nutrition per serving
What is Shuba?
Shuba is a dressed herring (fish) salad made from layers of tender beets, potatoes, carrots, and mayonnaise. It’s also referred to herring under a fur coat since Shuba means fur coat. As of a result, some variations include the addition of diced pickles, grated apples, or garnished with hard-boiled eggs. This Shuba recipe delivers all the classic flavors minus the extra add-ins some recipe calls for.
Ingredients for Shuba (herring fish beet salad):
- carrots- boiled and grated
- potatoes- boiled and grated
- beets- cooked and grated
- 2 oz herring fish fillets in oil- diced with the oil
- 1 cup mayo- I used Hellman’s Mayonnaise
Where do I buy Herring Fish?
Herring fish is sold in most European Markets where Russian or Polish goods are sold. Look for packaged Herring in the fridge or cooler section.
Can I Roast Beets instead of Boiling?
Roasting beets in the oven is a much better-for-you option then boiling them. When you roast beets all the nutrition is retained in them whereas boiling the beets the water can turn purplish and boil out many of its nutritional values. I like to purchase large quantities of beets, roast, and grate them. I’ll use up freshly grated beets for salads and freeze any leftovers for soups since beets can release excess water after the freezer.
My husband also enjoys roasted beets by themselves as a mid-day snack.
Can I omit the fish in Shuba?
Yes. Shuba can still be made without herring fish. In fact, you only need a little to make this salad for a hint of fish aroma so omitting it will not make a huge difference. Add some diced onions to compensate or for that extra crunch since this Shuba is tender.
I want to use onions when do you add them?
Add finely diced onions atop of the herring fish when layering Shuba Salad. 1/2 onion should be plenty for this recipe.
Tips for Shuba:
- I like to roast batches of beets in the oven then grate and freeze any leftovers for soups.
- Roasted beets for salads are best fresh. I don’t recommend using frozen beets as they can release excess water making it unsuitable for fresh salads.
- Use bakeware, molds or loaf pans to layer your salad. Cover pans with plastic wrap before layering and invert before serving for an extra fancy salad.
- Garnish with grated hard-boiled eggs.