Cold Beet Soup Recipe (Lithuanian Šaltibarščiai)

Sharing is caring!

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. See our full disclosure here.

Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup

If you’re looking for the perfect summertime soup to enjoy on a warm afternoon, Lithuanian saltibarsciai cold beet soup is a simple, healthy dish that’s colorful, flavorful, and refreshing.

What is Saltibarsciai or Cold Beet Soup?

Saltibarsciai, or cold beet soup, is seen as the cold alternative to the wildly popular borscht, which is served hot.

This earthy, creamy soup is a wholesome blend of beets and a fermented milk product, such as kefir or yogurt.

The use of beetroot in the recipe gives the saltibarsciai its bright, iconic pink or magenta color. The soup is traditionally served with chopped greens, root vegetables like potatoes, and boiled eggs.

All these components come together to make Lithuanian cold beet soup a truly unique dish, both in its appearance and flavor.

While Lithuanian in origin, cold beet soup is enjoyed across Eastern and Northern Europe, in countries such as Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia. Served cold, it makes for a delicious and refreshing starter, appetizer, or lunch in the heat of summer.

Lithuanian Saltibarsciai Cold Beet Soup Ingredients

First, assemble your ingredients. You will need the following:

  • 2 boiled beetroots
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 peeled and chopped cucumber
  • 1-liter (1 quart) kefir drink
  • 3 boiled or baked potatoes
  • a bunch of fresh spring onions and dill
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100 ml (about 1/2 cup) of water, optional

Lithuanian Saltibarsciai Cold Beet Soup Step-By-Step Instructions

This recipe will take you no longer than 30-40 minutes. The most time-consuming part is boiling the beetroots, boiling or baking the potatoes, and boiling the eggs to your liking. The rest of the recipe is a simple assembly of all ingredients.

If you want to cut down on the cooking time, you can use ready, pre-packaged, pre-peeled beets.

Prepping the vegetables

If not using the pre-cooked, pre-packaged beets, make sure boiling the beetroots is the first step as they will take the longest. Boil them for 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of the beetroots, until they’re tender when pierced with a fork or knife. For this recipe, I used the equivalent of 2 medium beets. Once they’re cooked, you’ll want to peel them and grate them.

While the beets are cooking, boil or roast the potatoes until tender, to your liking. How you prepare them is entirely up to you. The potatoes provide a warm carbohydrate to balance the cold, earthy taste of the beet.

Boiling the eggs

Finally, while the beets and potatoes are cooking, boil the eggs. Place your eggs in a saucepan and add cold water. Be sure there’s enough water to fully submerge the eggs in and have about an inch of water on top. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for about 9-12 minutes, depending on how hard-boiled you want them.

Once the eggs are boiled, run them under cold water. Peel the eggs and cut them in halves. Save one half to top the soup, and chop up the other 3 halves to add to the soup.

Final Assembly

Pour your one liter (about one quart) of kefir into a large bowl. Add the grated, boiled beets, the diced eggs, the chopped cucumber, and the finely diced dill and spring onions.

Depending on the kefir you used, add half a glass of water to thin out the soup if you want. Season with salt, and mix everything well together. Garnish your bowl with chopped spring onions, dill, and boiled egg.

For the best results, you can refrigerate the soup for 24 hours before serving. In that case, prepare the potatoes right before you serve the soup so that they are warm.

Saltibarsciai’s deep purple color is both striking and alluring to lay eyes on. Few international foods boast colors quite like this dish.

The beet soup also has a highly refreshing taste. The combination of the cold beet, greens, and boiled egg gives the dish a strong organic, earthy quality.

If you’re looking for an easy, healthy, and refreshing dish to enjoy during the summer months, saltibarsciai is the perfect choice.

Lithuanian Saltibarsciai Cold Beet Soup Recipe

Cold Beet Soup Recipe

Cold Beet Soup Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 boiled beetroots
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 peeled and chopped cucumber
  • 1-liter (1 quart) kefir drink
  • 3 boiled or baked potatoes
  • a bunch of fresh spring onions and dill
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100 ml (about 1/2 cup) of water, optional

Instructions

  1. Boil the beetroots. Boil them for 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of the beetroots, until they're tender when pierced with a fork or knife. Once they're cooked and have cooled down, peel them and grate them.
  2. While the beets are cooking, boil or roast the potatoes until tender, to your liking.
  3. While the beets and potatoes are cooking, boil the eggs. Place your eggs in a saucepan and add cold water. Be sure there's enough water to fully submerge the eggs in and have about an inch of water on top. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and let it simmer for about 9-12 minutes, depending on how hard-boiled you want them.
  4. Once the eggs are boiled, run them under cold water. Peel the eggs. Save one half to top the soup, and chop up the other 3 halves to add to the soup.
  5. Pour your one liter (about one quart) of kefir into a large bowl. Add the grated, boiled beets, the diced eggs, the chopped cucumber, and the finely diced dill and spring onions. Depending on the kefir you used, add half a glass of water to thin out the soup if you want. Season with salt, and mix everything well together. Garnish your bowl with spring onions, dill, and boiled egg.

Notes

  1. If you want to cut down on the cooking time, you can use ready, pre-packaged, pre-peeled beets.
  2. For the best results, you can refrigerate the soup for 24 hours before serving. In that case, prepare the potatoes right before you serve the soup so that they are warm.

You Might Also Like to Read

Author: Doina Johnson is a content writer and creator who has been a digital nomad since 2016. A passionate foodie, she loves discovering new foods abroad, then replicating them in her home kitchen.

Contributor: Ieva Cicirkaite is a translator and creative writer from Lithuania. Fluent in several languages, Ieva writes on a range of native topics, including cuisine, recipes, and travel.

Leave a Comment