December 16, 2008

Salad Olivieh

There have been culinary contributions from other cultures that were well received when they made their way into our culture, such as macaroni, salad olivieh and in the recent years, pizza. As I understand it, salad olivieh was first introduced to the Iranian cuisine somewhere between the late 60's and the early 70's and it easily became one of our popular dishes. It is said that "salad Olivier" was created by a French chef M. Olivier who opened a restaurant in Moscow in the 19th century and this was his recipe, if you are interested you can read more about it, here. The first time I had salad olivieh was at my sister's wedding reception many years ago which was prepared by a caterer.

سالاد الیویه Salad Olivieh is a popular picnic or party dish in Iran. There are many different recipes for this dish. Olivieh salad is a combination of chicken, potato and egg salad all in one!
I like to add lemon juice in addition to the pickles for a more tangy taste.

Olivieh Salad-Iranian Style

Salad Olivieh

Serves 4-6

5 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
3 large eggs boiled, peeled, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, cook according to package directions
3 pickled cucumbers (khiar shoor), chopped
1 cup olives - green or black
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons lemon/lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Place potatoes in a pot, add enough water to cover potatoes, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until potatoes are tender. Drain, let cool, then peel and dice.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  3. In a large bowl, combine chicken, potatoes, eggs, peas and chopped pickles. Add the mayonnaise dressing and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Spread salad olivieh in a serving dish. Garnish with olives, pickles and peas. 
Refrigerate until ready to serve.



  1. Love salad oliveh. The recipe I have does not call for sour cream. I'll have to try your version.

  2. You are absolutely right. In the original recipe for salad olivieh, the one that I grew up with, there is no use of sour cream as an ingredient. I too love salad olivieh very much and I make it frequently. But I’m not too crazy about using a lot of mayonnaise. In order to make this salad creamy and smooth you need a generous amount of mayo. So, I’ve been experimenting with substituting regular yogurt, thick yogurt (mast-e kiseh) and sour cream. That’s when I came up with using ½ cup of sour cream mixed with the mayo. A few tablespoons of sour cream goes a long way, it makes the dish more creamy and tasty. But that’s totally optional.

    1. Azita,
      Thank you very much for the great food blog!
      In Russia where I am from this salad is very popular. A very common version of the Olivieh includes diced fresh cucumbers in addition to the pickles, and there is almost always green onions in Olivieh. The addition of fresh cucumbers and onions decreases the amount of time one can keep the salad in refrigerator. Back in the days of my childhood, most Russian cooks would use bologna instead of chicken, even though it is believed that the original version called for chicken and/or other poultry.

  3. If you came up with sour cream by mere experimenting (ie without googling for it), then it seems like sour cream is the best choice since the Russian version of Olivia Salad has sour cream in its recipe too!

  4. great recipe..ive had this before and I love it....

  5. My mom usually cooks pieces of chicken with bones and then takes the meat off the bones once cooked. What is the difference with using breast? I could imagine that when using breast the chicken is less like "threads", which is the case when you cook pieces of chicken and then takes it off the bones?

  6. Nazanin, That was the way my mother used to do it too, but I find it more convenient to use chicken breasts. It eliminates the deboning process and shredding and since there won't be any dark meat in there, the colors come out better and more evenly. Either way you decide to cook it is good!
    Thank you so much for visiting!

  7. I am a chef I'v never use sour cream ,it was the first time for me to see like this :) but i will try to make olivie with that to know , how is it ?

    1. Russians use a sour cream also .. And it's pretty good, this salad requires little acidity which is usually added by pickles .. But I have never heard of yogurt though ..

  8. This is one of my favorite salads/appetizers. My grandmother, who was Persian, never used carrots, sour cream, or olives. I may add black olives now that I've learned to apprecite them as an adult. Yummy food. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This is a wonderful recipe -- thanks for sharing! I just made it as a side dish for a crowd and they gobbled it up. It also made for tasty leftovers. Before baking the chicken breast at 350 in a convection oven, I seasoned it with garlic powder and turmeric (along with salt, pepper, and olive oil) and it added even more flavor to the dish. Next time, I might also try replacing the sour cream with thick yogurt (maybe Greek yogurt if mast-o-kiseh is not available) for a slightly healthier version. I did use light mayo and light sour cream and that turned out well, too.

  10. In fact the name of salad comes from Lucien Oliever, a chief of Moscow Metropol Hotel in late 19th century who has come with the idea first. Instead of chicken it had grouse, beef tongue and a sturgeon caviar but the rest of receipt is original. Correct dressing was mayo as stated before.