Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup – Šaltibarščiai

READY IN: 2hrs 20mins


  • 1cup julienned cooked beets
  • 1cup chopped cucumber (seedless preferred)
  • 3scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3 -4 finely chopped radishes (optional)
  • 1quartbuttermilk (whole milk preferred) or 1 quartkefir (whole milk preferred)
  • 2 -4tablespoonssour cream (optional)
  • 14 teaspoonsalt (or to taste)
  • 2 harboiled eggs, chopped(optional)
  • additional fresh dill (to garnish)
  • hot boiled potatoes

    Serving Size: 1 (480) g

    Servings Per Recipe:3

    Calories: 165.6

    Calories from Fat 27 g 17 %

    Total Fat 3 g 4 %

    Saturated Fat 1.8 g 9 %

    Cholesterol 13.1 mg 4 %

    Sodium 583.5 mg 24 %

    Total Carbohydrate23.6 g 7 %

    Dietary Fiber 1.7 g 6 %

    Sugars 21.1 g 84 %

    Protein 12.3 g 24 %


  • Note on ingredients; You can use fresh or canned beets. If using canned, make sure they are plain, not spiced. If using fresh, you can roast or boiled. If boiling, save some of the cooking liquid. Seedless or the small pickling cucumbers worked best. If using the larger standard cucumbers, peel and seed them for best results. Buttermilk (pasukos) was traditional, but some time during the Soviet years, kefir became popular and it works really well. But we always used buttermilk, and my grandmothers, both farmers, would have used buttermilk from their own cows. If you cannot find whole milk buttermilk or kefir, add some sour cream to create the right taste. Mother always did this. Also, you can add more beets or cucumbers, if you like – I don’t usually measure, but I did this time just to have a starting point.
  • Combine the beets, cucumber, scallion, dill, and radish, if using, in a medium bowl. Add sour cream to buttermilk or kefir if you need to and add to the bowl. Taste and add salt as desired – buttermilks vary in how much sodium they contain. (If you boiled the beets and saved some cooking liquid or used canned, you can add some to make the soup more vivid. If you roasted beets, the color will intensify while the soup is refrigerated).
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours or up to overnight.
  • Add chopped egg, if desired, to each serving, as well as a fresh sprinkle of chopped dill.
  • Serve with hot boiled potatoes. Some people like to plop their potatoes into the šaltibarščiai – I don’t, as I think it warms up the soup and the contrast between hot and cold is delightful.
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