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Cold Beet Soup (Lithuanian Saltibarsciai)

One of Susan's passions is cooking and creating new recipes for family and friends.

Saltibarciai (Lithuanian cold beet soup)

Saltibarciai (Lithuanian cold beet soup)

Authentic Lithuanian Recipe

Saltibarsciai (pronounced shal-tee-bars-chay) is an authentic Lithuanian cold beet soup. You will find that this delicious vegetarian soup is usually served from Easter into October. For a light lunch or dinner on a hot summer's day, it is very easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.

What I personally like about making this soup during the summer months is that it can be made early in the morning—before the heat of the day sets in.

Several European countries make beet soup, including Latvia, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

40 min

1 hour 10 min

6-8 servings

Buttermilk, fresh beets, cucumbers, eggs, chives, fresh dill

Buttermilk, fresh beets, cucumbers, eggs, chives, fresh dill


  • 1 pound (2-3 medium) beets
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled
  • 1/4 cup chives or 2 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Liquid from boiling beets
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • fresh dill, chopped for garnish
  • dollop of sour cream, to garnish each bowl


  1. Cut off beet tops, trim, peel and rinse under cold water. In a pot, cover the beets with water and boil for 40 minutes or until cooked.
  2. Hard-boil 2 large eggs.
  3. When beets are cooked, remove them from the water, reserving 2 cups of the liquid. Set aside to cool. Rinse the beets in cold water and cool by placing them in the refrigerator.
  4. Peel the 2 hard-boiled eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. Chop the whites up and set aside. Chop either chives or scallions and put into a small bowl with egg yolk and 1/4 tsp. of salt. The salt will help to bring out the onion flavor. Mash the yolks chives or scallions with the salt. Set aside.
  5. Peel 2 cucumbers (removing seeds if you like) and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  6. Once cooled, grate the beets into a bowl. Set aside.
  7. In a large bowl, add 2 cups of the reserved beet liquid with 4 cups of buttermilk. Stir and add 1 cup of sour cream and blend. Add the grated beets, cucumber, chopped egg whites and yolk mixture. Stir well, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
  8. When ready to serve, chop up fresh dill and sprinkle on top of each individual bowl of soup. Additional dollops of sour cream may also be added at this time.
  9. Enjoy!

Tips for Cooking With Beets

  • Beets can stain your skin: Whenever you are preparing beets, you may want to wear plastic kitchen gloves as the beets will stain your skin. I do not like wearing gloves, so what I do after handling beets is simply rub lemon juice on my skin to remove the beet stain.
  • How to tell when beets are cooked: They are cooked when you can easily stick them with a fork or a knife.

Beet Health Benefits

Consuming root vegetables like beets may have limited protective properties against certain cancers (such as colon cancer), birth defects, and heart disease.

They are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory benefits. They are a good source of fiber, which is good for digestion. Some people believe that beets are good for detoxification.

Nutrition Information

In one cup of raw beets, the nutrients along with the daily percentage value are as follows:

  • Folate - 37%
  • Manganese - 22.5%
  • Fiber - 15.2%
  • Potassium - 12.6%
  • Vitamin C - 11.1%
  • Tryptophan - 9.3%
  • Magnesium - 7.8%
  • Iron - 6%
  • Phosphorus - 5.4%
  • Copper - 5%
  • Calories are 58 - 3%

Cold Beet Soup

Countries Known for Cold Beet Soup

Does this sound good?

© 2012 Susan Zutautas


Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 29, 2019:

Patt, Thank you for letting me know and I'm so happy that you and your good friends liked the soup.

Patt K on July 20, 2019:

My husband and I went to Poland this May, home of his parents. While we were in Lasky, we stopped at a small cafe for lunch. The waitress brought us a bowl of Chlodnik to share. I was hooked on the first bite! Since coming home, I’ve made your recipe 4 times, with rave results. Good friends who are originally from Poland were here a few weeks ago and I made it for them. The wife told us it’s the best she’s ever had and that she didn’t make it so good! I shared your recipe with her. Thank you so much. We love it!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 11, 2013:

KDeus, It is a refreshing soup to have in the summer months when it's really hot out. Add a few ice cubes to it and it is sure to cool you off.

Keely Deuschle from Florida on January 08, 2013:

This looks very interesting! I've never had a beet soup. I often will use beets in my juicing, but never in soup. Voted up and Pinned!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 15, 2012:

Melovy, I remember having this soup at a family Easter Sunday dinner and there was still snow on the ground. But I like it better when it is hot out.

So glad you liked the hub, and thank you.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 15, 2012:

robie, You could always cut the recipe in half :)

Yvonne Spence from UK on June 15, 2012:

I’ve made beetroot soup before, but we’ve always eaten it warm. I laughed when I read you like it because you can make it before the heat of the day. We get about 5 days per year like that in Scotland, and this year looks like we had them in March! It’s pouring down outside right now and the thermometer shows 11 degrees (C).

Still, I could always make the cold beet soup and eat in our conservatory (sun room) where it sometimes feels as if I am in Australia! It looks great anyway and you’ve done a fantastic job on the layout of the hub.

Rommey from Texas on June 14, 2012:

Susan, labai a?i? tau, re what robie said, the buttermilk and the sour cream should be left out for freezing. But the taste would suffer a lot anyway, because the egg whites would become like plastic and won't defrost well. The dill would lose the flavor, and so on. I wouldn't recommend it either.

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on June 14, 2012:

I hadn't thought about the sour cream hmmmmm I'm wondering if I couldn't make it, following the recipe but leaving out the sour cream. Then I could freeze it in several containers so that each frozen container would contain two or three servings. I could thaw the soup when ready to use and add the sour cream then. Do you think that would work? Otherwise, I'll have to wait till I have a big dinner party or be eating soup by myself for a week:-)

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2012:

robie, Before freezing it keep in mind that when you defrost the soup the sour cream may have a different consistency. I've never tried freezing this soup as it's eaten too fast to freeze :) Let me know how it goes.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2012:

Rommey, Aciu. Without the accents it should work :) My husbands grandmother taught me how to make this. I'm sure it would good with half the beets and the beet leaves. So glad that your wife liked this recipe.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2012:

Thanks so much Simone.

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on June 14, 2012:

Fabulous-- I love beets and I love cold soup in hot weather. This recipe is so well explained. I think I can do this. I'm gonna make a big vat and freeze it. yummmmmmmmmm voting up and sharing thisone.

Rommey from Texas on June 14, 2012:

Susan, don't mention it... My wife loved it, I tried to give her my recipe, too confusing for her, but you made it perfect. We used to make a variation of it, without the cucumbers, buttermilk, and dill, while adding salt pork bits (previously browned in a pan and drained) and serving it hot, special for Winter times, with a side dish of backed potatoes with browned onion bits. Don't forget the sour cream dollops (on the potatoes). Another Lithuanian variation of the cold šaltibarš?iai is made with half of beets and half of beet-leaves (added minerals and vegetable proteins). Taurage (Lithuania).

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2012:

Rommey, a?i?. (Thank you) :) Just noticed this came out a little different than what I typed.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on June 14, 2012:

What a cool healthy dish! I don't think I've ever had beets before, and I most DEFINITELY have not had cold soup before, so this is a very novel and foreign thing to me! Love the fun nutrition stats and the cool map with all the different names. This is a super fun Hub!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2012:

Gypsy, The cucumbers are quite nice in this soup.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2012:

Rommey, a?i?.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on June 14, 2012:

Sounds terrific. Have had cold beet soup but not with cucumbers. Will give it a try. Thanks for sharing and passing this on.

Rommey from Texas on June 13, 2012:

labai geras (šaltas) ;)

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 09, 2012:

Susan, I'm not a vegetarian either but I probably could easily become one. I would miss meat though.

Thank you for the votes and shares.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 09, 2012:

Tammy, Not sure that you would want to substitute the beets for turnips but you never know, it might be good :)

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 09, 2012:

RedElf, Thanks so much.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 09, 2012:

Frank, Thanks. It is very easy to make.

Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on June 08, 2012:

I am not a vegetarian, but I love most vegetarian dishes. This looks delicious (and it is really pretty, too)and great for a summer meal. I love how you show the European countries that make this soup. It always interests me what other cultures eat.

Beautiful pics! Votes and shared!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

Arren, Thanks.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

Hyphenbird, My husbands grandmother makes this soup all summer long. We always know when we visit her beet soup will be served.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

GoodLady, A book on beets would be very interesting. I hope that both you and your Mother enjoy this recipe.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

Rebecca, Thanks and I hope that you enjoy it.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

Victoria, Not everyone likes beets and that's okay :) But it is a pretty color :)

Tammy from North Carolina on June 08, 2012:

That is just a gorgeous looking soup. My parents used to make me eat beats and pickled beats and I don't care for them. Can anything be substituted for the beets (turnips?) I am sure nothing will give it that color. This is really innovative and the thought of a cold soup on a hot day is really appealing. Great creativity!

RedElf from Canada on June 08, 2012:

Great recipe and wonderful pictures. Now I must go forage for some food. Wish I had some of your soup in my fridge!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

Bill, I always appreciate your support, and thanks for stopping by to have a look at my Cold Beet Soup.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

livelonger, Pickle soup sounds interesting and one I'd like to try. Hope you enjoy this recipe.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

RH, Beets are good for you :) I've always liked beets especially pickled ones.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2012:

Judi and Kelly, Thank you. My husband loves this soup and is always after me to make it. He was so happy when he came home today to see I'd made.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on June 08, 2012:

never even heard of this cold beet soup.. but ill tell you Just ask Susan.. you make it easy for any man to cook--or at least follow a recipe voted high because you make it so easy to follow

Arren123 from UK on June 08, 2012:

Mmmm looks yummy, love the colour :)

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 08, 2012:

Yum. We love beets and beet anything. This is a lovely recipe and would be refreshing on a hot summer day. Thanks so much. Hyphen

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on June 07, 2012:

This will make my Mother very happy. She's writing a book about beets- she loves them and believes in their health properties so much. We have beets every which way when we visit. This recipe will make her day and I look forward to eating it many many times.


Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on June 07, 2012:

This looks good, I actually have heard of Borscht but never made it. I must try this! And beets are so nutritious! Thanks for this awesome recipe and the information makes for an interesting read!Voted up and shared!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on June 07, 2012:

Susan--I love the hub and photos. Very nice hub. I'm with Bill, though, I'm not a beet person (although he said beans--LOL), so I'm not sure I could eat it. I might try it, though; the rest of the ingredients in it might make it just perfect!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 07, 2012:

Susan, I have to be honest, I would not eat this because, well, I'm not a bean guy. The pictures look great and I wanted to make sure I showed you my support, so here I am...great hub and for those who like beans I'm sure the recipe is fantastic.

Jason Menayan from San Francisco on June 07, 2012:

Great stuff! I love this soup. When I lived in Poland, they called it (as you say on the map) chlodnik litewski, which means something like "Lithuanian cold soup." It was my second favorite soup after pickle soup (zupa ogorkowa). Have never made this, so I look forward to giving it a shot!

By the way the "barš?" in the Lithuanian name sounds identical to the Polish word barszcz, which means beet soup (borscht).

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on June 07, 2012:

Yeah! Wow! That's pretty and I've never really had beets - I heard they were bad! Lol lol. My family never made them I guess and hmmm I'll have to try it! I could eat that with my eyes!

kelleyward on June 07, 2012:

I love your beautiful pictures. This looks different and amazing! I love that it has beets in it because I'm always looking for news ideas to add this wonderful vegetable to my diet. Thanks! Kelley

Judi Brown from UK on June 07, 2012:

This looks stunning! I love pickled beetroots, maybe it's time I tried them in soup. Pinned!

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