Classic Svekolnik Soup (Свекольник) is a Russian summer favorite soup, a variation of the much loved Russian Borscht soup, but made without cabbage, usually vegetarian and served cold (but can be eaten as a hot soup). On a hot summer’s day, you don’t want to eat hot soup, and this vitamin packed soup fills you and cools you at the same time.
Cold Svekolnik Soup (Свекольник) is like Italian Gazpacho soup, the most commonly recognized cold soup outside of Europe. Other popular cold soups in Russian are Okroshka made with Kefir, Okroshka with Kvas and Holodnik, and many variations in between. Some of these soups are made with meat, while many are vegetarian. They are all made with lots of vegetables and incredibly healthy to eat.
My favorite memory of eating Svekolnik Soup was at Mu-Mu Cafe (МУ-МУ) on Arbat Street in Moscow. Mu-Mu is a cafe/diner chain across Moscow with great food and great prices, plus you get a cow Caramel candy when you pay. If you’re ever in Moscow, you’re sure to see this cow cafe everywhere! As tasty as it was, of course, my mom’s Svekolnik Soup recipe tasted better!
There are many variations of this soup, some people add carrots, potatoes, add kefir, radishes or even tomatoes. If slicing the vegetables into thin long straws isn’t your thing, feel free to diced them, julienne or even grate them.
Like Holodnik or Okroshka, or Gazpacho, cold summer soups are perfect on a hot summer’s day. This Classic Svekolnik Soup (Свекольник) is simply a cold vegetarian borscht recipe, much loved and full of vitamins. In Russia, it’s all about the beets. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 4 medium beets (with leaves if available)
- 2 potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 2 pickling cucumbers (fresh not pickled)
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- sour cream (omit for vegan)
- 4 tablespoons chopped dill
- 2 hard boiled eggs (optional, omit for vegan)
- Peel the beets, chop into thin long straws or julienne them. Finely chop the beet leaves and set aside. Peel and chop (julienne) the potatoes. Place beets and potatoes in a saucepan with around 1.5 litres of water (6 cups), minced garlic and vinegar. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, until the beets and potatoes are tender. Add the beet leaves, sugar and salt and continue cook for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Slice the cucumbers into thing long straws, about the same length and size as the beets. Set aside.
- Peel the hard boiled eggs and cut in half. Set aside to be used as garnish for each bowl when serving.
- Add sliced green onion, sliced cucumbers, chopped dill to the cold Svekolnik soup. Taste and add extra sugar or salt if necesary.
- Allow Svekolnik Soup to be chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. Soup best when served cold. Serve with hard boiled egg half, sour cream and Russian rye bread.