What do you call Cold Beet Soup?
There are a few varieties of cold beet soups in Russia and Eastern Europe. One of my favourites is this recipe is called Svekolnik - Cold Borscht (Свекольник) is a Russian summer favorite soup. It's a variation of the much loved Red Borscht, but made without cabbage, usually vegan and served cold.
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 Borscht Soup (Свекольник) is like Italian Gazpacho soup, the most commonly recognized cold soup outside of Europe.
Svekolnik in Moscow
My favorite memory of eating this Svekolnik Cold Beet 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. Those caramels remind me of my childhood, we always ate cow candies. If you're ever in Moscow, you're sure to see this cow cafe everywhere! With this recipe you won't need to travel to Moscow, save your money and make it at home instead!
How to make Cold Borscht
It's important to make the base of the soup right, the beet soup base. It's just the water from cooking the beets and potatoes. A vegan broth that you don't discard from the cooking process. It sounds a bit fancier if I call if a vegan broth vs purple water. The benefit is you get to keep all the vitamins and goodness from the beets, which are incredibly healthy!
- Peel and julienne the beets and potatoes. Boil in 6 cups of water, garlic and vinegar for about 20 minutes.
- Mix in chopped beet leaves, sugar and salt. Place soup into fridge to cool
- Slice cucumbers into thin, long straws
- Make hard boiled eggs. Peel and cut in half. Set aside to use as garnish
- Add fresh cucumbers, sliced green onions and chopped dill into the cold soup
- Chill in the fridge until cold. Serve with hard boiled eggs, smetana and Russian rye bread
There are many variations of this soup, some people add carrots, potatoes, add kefir, radishes or even tomatoes.
- sliced carrots
All Russian soups need a bit of sourness to them. When making Borscht, we always add a bit of vinegar to balance out the sweetness of the beets. Adjust the flavors with vinegar, sugar and salt to taste.
- add a splash of dill pickle juice
- dice the vegetables instead of cutting them into straws
- too hard? you can grate the vegetables, this recipe is versatile and forgiving
- make the beet stock the night before. This gives enough time for the soup to full cool. All you need to do is throw in the cucumbers, eggs and dill before serving!
- substitute pickling cucumbers with sliced Long English Cucumber
Other Slavic Cold Soup Recipes
Slavs love eating cold soups on a hot summer's day. A great way to serve extra veggies for lunch or as a starter for dinner.
- Holodnik - creamy soup made with Kefir and Beets
- Okroshka with Kefir - packed with vegetables and Kefir
- Okroshka with Kvas - packed with vegetables and Kvas (fermented bread drink)
Cold summer soups are perfect on a hot summer's day. This classic Russian Cold Beet Soup (Свекольник) is simply a cold vegan borscht recipe, much loved and full of vitamins. In Russia and the Slavic world, it's all about the beets. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 4 medium beets with leaves if available
- 2 medium 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 1½ litres of water (6 cups), vinegar and minced garlic. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, until the beets and potatoes are tender.
- Mix in beet leaves, sugar and salt and continue cook for 2 minutes. Place soup in the fridge 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.
- Remove cold pot of beet broth from the fridge. Mix in sliced green onion, sliced cucumbers, chopped dill to the cold Svekolnik soup. Taste and add extra sugar or salt if necesary.
- Chill Svekolnik Soup in the fridge for a few hours before serving until all vegetables are cold. Garnish with sliced hard boiled egg, sour cream and Russian rye bread.