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Lithuanian Cold Beetroot Soup a.k.a Pink Soup

lithuanian pink soup in a brown bowl in a saucer on a wooden table.
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A fresh, filling and delicious soup for a hot summer day! Slightly sour pickled beetroot and refreshing cucumber in cold yoghurt-style Kefir, topped with lots of spring onion and dill, this is one of the most popular summer dishes in Lithuania. Just like Spanish Gaspacho, Lithuanian Beetroot Soup is served cold with some warm potatoes on the side! Whilst its real name is Šaltibarščiai (which translates as Cold Borschtz), it is more widely known as Lithuanian Pink Soup!

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Favourite Lithuanian Soup Recipe

When I asked Seb what his favourite Eastern European dish was, he didn’t even have to think when he almost exclaimed: ‘Pink Soup!’. We enjoy it almost every week during the summer months. Whilst some mark the start of the summer season with a BBQ, we have a tradition here to declare summer by getting the flip-flops out of the back of the shoe cabinet and making the first Pink Soup of the season.

I am under no illusion that the combination of ingredients for this soup is unconventional, to say the least. When I think about it, I am completely baffled at how such a RANDOM variety makes such a wonderful summer dish. Beetroot lightly pickled in vinegar, kefir (that’s gaining more and more popularity in Western Europe), cucumber and eggs make up the basis of the dish. As pickling and fermented milk (kefir) are linked to gut health, this meal is definitely good for you too.

If you’re intrigued, let’s jump into the recipe itself!

Two bowls of lithuanian cold beet soup on a wooden table decorated with wheat with a side of potatoes.

Ingredients

  • cucumber: about 300g of cucumber will be needed to serve four. We use short Kirby cucumber when we can, but English cucumber works just as well.
  • grated beetroot: we preserve grated beets ourselves to use in this cold beetroot soup, but you can buy them in Eastern European Food shops or even larger supermarkets. See more details below.
  • eggs: 1 egg per person.
  • dill: use fresh dill if you can, but frozen or even dried dill can be used too.
  • spring onions: sliced on the diagonal
  • kefir: is a fermented milk drink that has a slightly sour taste. You will find it in Eastern European food isles or even on the yoghurt shelves in large supermarkets. In the UK, you are likely to find Milko Kefir in the Polish food section.
  • baby potatoes: can be replaced with other types of potatoes, but we enjoy waxy varieties with Lithuanian cold beet soup most of all.
Ingredients for cold beetroot soup on a marble kitchen surface.

How to Make Lithuanian Pink Soup?

Making the soup itself takes minutes to make, so this recipe will take you no longer than potatoes and eggs take to boil.

Start by boiling potatoes until tender. Then drain, add a knob of butter and fresh chopped dill and shake the pan to cover the potatoes in dill butter. At the same time, hard-boil the eggs. It will take about 12 minutes in boiling water. Cool the eggs under cold running water in the sink. Peel and slice the eggs into rounds.

Add the grated beetroot (together with most of the pickling liquid), cucumber, dill and half of the spring onions to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the fridge-cold kefir, season with salt and pepper, and mix. Add the eggs, scatter the remaining spring onions on top and serve with hot boiled potatoes on the side.

Where Can I Get Pickled Grated Beetroot?

If you are in the UK, you can buy jars of grated beetroot in Tesco’s international aisles (or on Tesco Online Groceries). We use and love Dawtona Grated Beetroot. Alternatively, you can get it in most Eastern European/ Polish shops. However, if you cannot find any, here are two options for you:

  1. You can buy cooked beetroot in a vacuum. Cut the beetroots into thin sticks (julienne) or you can coarsely grate them. Reserve and add any liquid in the vacuum into the soup, alongside a tbsp of cider vinegar.
  2. Make your own pickled grated beets!

Serving Lithuanian Cold Pink Soup

Saltibarsciai, a.k.a. pink soup is best to be served freshly made. The reason for this is that beetroot will colour the vegetables and the egg if left for a prolonged period of time and it the soup will be less aesthetically pleasing (still delicious though).

Serve the soup chilled, so if you made it before your potatoes are cooked, make sure to pop it in the fridge to keep cold.

Serve hot potatoes with dill on the side. Some eat the potatoes separately from the soup, others (hint, me!) add them one by one straight to the soup. It warms up the soup slightly, but I really enjoy the contrast between the hot potato and the cold soup in one mouthful.

A bowl of pink soup with sliced egg on top garnished with spring onion, with a small chopping board with eggs on top next to it.

Other Soup Recipes To Try

For other soup ideas, have a look at our recipes below:

Our Best Lithuanian Recipes

If you are intrigued and excited to try more Lithuanian cuisine, you are in the right place. We love cooking traditional recipes passed down from generation to generation, as well as modern Lithuanian cuisine. Here are some of our favourite recipes:

Recipe Card

lithuanian pink soup in a brown bowl in a saucer on a wooden table.

Cold Beetroot Soup a.k.a Lithuanian Pink Soup

A fresh, filling and delicious soup for a hot summer day! Slightly sour pickled beetroot and refreshing cucumber in cold yoghurt-style Kefir, topped with lots of spring onion and dill, this is one of the most famous summer dishes in Eastern Europe. Just like Spanish Gaspacho, Lithuanian Beetroot Soup is served cold with some warm potatoes on the side!
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Lithuanian
Servings 4 portions
Calories 370 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the Soup:

  • 1 cucumber (approx. 300g) diced
  • 1 jar pickled grated beetroot (510g) see details above
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 g dill finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions sliced on the diagonal
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 l kefir

For the Potatoes:

  • 500 g baby potatoes
  • knob of butter
  • 5 g dill finely chopped

Instructions
 

  • Boil potatoes until tender. Then drain, add a knob of butter and fresh chopped dill and shake the pan to cover the potatoes in dill butter.
  • Hard boil the eggs. It will take about 12 minutes in boiling water. Cool the eggs under cold running water in the sink. Peel and slice the eggs into rounds.
  • Add the grated beetroot (together with most of the pickling liquid), cucumber, dill and half of the spring onions to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the fridge-cold kefir, season with salt and pepper, and mix. Add the eggs, scatter the remaining spring onions on top and serve with hot boiled potatoes.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 370kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 19gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 195mgSodium: 282mgPotassium: 1049mgFiber: 6gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 1092IUVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 388mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Cold Beetroot & Cucumber Soup, Cold Beetroot Soup, Cold Pink Soup Recipe, Cold Soup Recipes, Cold Summer Soup, Lithuanian Pink Soup, Lithuanian Recipes, Lithuanian Saltibarsciai, Pink Soup Recipe, Saltibarsciai, Saltibarsciai Recipe
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14 Replies to “Lithuanian Cold Beetroot Soup a.k.a Pink Soup”

  1. 5 stars
    This soup is so delicious and refreshing! We loved it with warm potatoes on the side!

    1. Thanks, Emily! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    What a special recipe! This reminds me of a beet-fased soup my mom used to make, and the color is so pretty for spring. Another winner from Somebody Feed Seb!

    1. Thanks, Liza! My mum used to make this soup when I was growing up too, so always brings wonderful childhood memories for me 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I used regular beet root, not the jar version, so maybe missing a bit of flavor, but the soup was still delicious and looked so pretty.

    1. Thanks, Anita! We sometimes make it with simple boiled grated beetroot and add a tsp of vinegar for flavour, but we think it is delicious both ways 🙂 Thanks for giving it a try!

  4. 5 stars
    We had this soup for dinner last night and it was amazing!! So full of flavor and the color was incredible!

    1. Thanks, Tayler! Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    I’m intrigued by this cold Lithuanian pink soup. It looks and sounds very refreshing and perfect on a hot summer day. Will definitely be giving it a try.

    1. It absolutely perfect on a hot summer day! Let me know what you think, if you try it 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Such a beautiful looking soup. And the taste it amazing too. Love the pairing of beets and potatoes in this soup.

    1. Thanks, AJ! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    A beautiful soup with an intriguing pink color! Love how the beets give off that pinkish color. The perfect soup for spring and would be refreshing for summer!

    1. Absolutely! It’s a perfect lunch for a hot summer’s day!

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