Cold Beet Soup or Holodnik, is the craziest color soup that you will ever eat. It's incredibly healthy, and full of probiotics, perfect on a hot summer's day. A classic Slavic recipe, with variations sometimes called Svekolnik, or Polish Chlodnik, or Saltibarsciai in Lithuania.
In the world of cold soups, Russia, Ukraine and Slavic countries seem to punch above their weight in contribution. Borscht or Shchi served hot, is what most people think of when talking about Russian and Ukrainian soups, but there are so many different types of Slavic soups that are eaten cold. Gazpacho is probably the most famous Italian cold soup most of us have heard of. Check out my favorite Slavic cold soups that we make every summer, all packed with vegetables and are incredibly healthy.
Cold Beet Soup - Holodnik has the craziest colour in a soup that you will ever see. A bright pink soup is almost hard to eat, but I absolutely love the color of this soup. Some people have a hard time eating chilled soups, but this cold beet soup is packed with so many vegetables, you've got to try it! This vegetarian soup gets it's color from making a broth from boiled beets, and mixing kefir into the soup. So bright, so healthy!
How to Make Cold Beet Soup
The base of this soup is a vegetarian stock made from boiling peeled beets in water. Keep 1 litre or quart of the beet stock for your soup. Grate the beets, finely chop cucumbers, 6 hard boiled eggs and some green onions. Cut another 4 hard boiled eggs in half, and set aside in the fridge, until you're ready to place in your bowl when serving.
Even though this is a cold beet soup, I still mix everything together in a pot! It just feels like you are serving soup, but you can mix it all together in a bowl. First, mix together the beet broth, kefir and some lemon juice until it's the lovely pink color. Add your prepared vegetables and chopped eggs, mix and place in the fridge until it's chilled, or when you are ready to serve. It's a really easy summer soup to prepare.
Can I Substitute Kefir?
The soup base is Kefir, which is a fermented milk drink that is packed full of probiotics. Kefir has been popular in Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Asia for centuries, and is only recently making an appearance in the west. If you can't find Kefir, you can substitute plain natural unsweetened yogurt mixed with milk. Mix 750ml of yogurt with 250ml of milk, and whisk until all lumps are gone and is smooth.
Slavic gardens are full of beets, cucumbers and dill, so this soup is just a natural extension of what is grown in our gardens. On a hot summer's day, the last thing you want to do is to slave away over a hot stove. It's an easy and refreshingly light meal to make for lunch. Traditionally this soup is eaten with fresh potatoes, but I prefer to eat it with a crusty loaf of fresh bread.
You've got to try making this bright pink soup, so vibrant, almost an electric pink! Refreshing and cooling to eat on a hot summer's day. Full of vitamins and vegetables, you might never make Gazpacho again. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Cold Beet Soup - Holodnik (холодник)
- 3 large beets about 1kg or 2 lbs
- 1 cucumber
- 10 hard boiled eggs
- 1 litre kefir
- 1 litre beet stock water reserved from boiled beets
- 3 green onions
- juice of a lemon
- 1 cup sour cream
- dill bunch chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Peel the beets and boil them until they are cooked and soft (easily pierced with a fork). This will take around 40 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Reserve 1 litre of the liquid for your soup. Grate the beets and set aside.
- Finely chop the cucumbers, green onions and 6 of the hard boiled eggs. Slice the remaining 4 hard boiled eggs in half lengthwise and set aside.
- In a pot, combine the kefir, lemon juice and the beet stock. Season with salt and adjust to taste.
- Mix in the grated beets, cucumber, chopped eggs, green onions, and refrigerate in the frige until cold.
- Serve with ½ egg in each bowl, along with a generous dollop of sour cream and dill. Enjoy.