Cold Beet Soup (Lithuanian Saltibarsciai)
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.
- 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
- 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.
- Hard-boil 2 large eggs.
- 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.
- 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.
- Peel 2 cucumbers (removing seeds if you like) and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Once cooled, grate the beets into a bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.
For extremely hot days, add ice cubes to each bowl to make this soup colder.
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.
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
Have you ever had cold beet soup?
Countries Known for Cold Beet Soup
Lithuanian cold Beet soup is called Šaltibarščiai.
Latvian cold beet soup is called Aukstā zupa
Polish cold beet soup is called Chłodnik or Chłodnik litewski
Belarusian cold beet soup is called Chaładnik / Хaлaднiк "khaladnik"
Ukrainian cold beet soup is called Холодник kholodnyk
Russian cold beet soup is called Свекольник svekol'nik
Does this sound good?
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Susan Zutautas