The king of salads on Finnish Christmas dinner table is the mixed beetroot salad, or herring salad (left). It is made with both freshly cooked and pickled vegetables: carrots, potatoes, beetroots, pickled gherkins, fresh apples and onion and finely chopped salted herring, all diced and mixed together.
Picture on left: bowl of mixed beetroot salad garnished with parsley.
Dressing for the salad is made of either whipped cream, smetana or crème fraîche, seasoned with salt, white pepper and sugar and dyed slightly pink with beetroot pickling or cooking liquid.
Another typical salad is mushroom salad, made with salted wild mushrooms mixed with chopped onion and smetana, crème fraîche or whipped cream, or sometimes a dash of mayonnaise.
Picture on right: mixed mushroom salad.
A good accompaniment for Christmas ham or other meat dishes is the refreshing and juicy lingonberry and red cabbage salad.
These salads can be served throughout the meal, or with cold cuts as a part of the hors d'uvre. The mixed beetroot salad is traditionally eaten with the Christmas ham and the vegetable casseroles.
You will find recipes for some of the dishes mentioned above in here.
Read more about traditional Finnish Christmas here.