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Saltibarsciai, the traditional Lithuanian cold beet soup, is one or our favorite summer recipes. It’s a great quick meal and a zesty summer cooler, too.
While some traditional Lithuanian cooking recipes require a lot of preparation, this one is relatively simple. And it’s good to have on hand for those quick summertime meals when you don’t feel like cooking. You can prepare it in advance and keep it chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.
It goes well with sandwiches, roast pork, barbecue, Lithuanian sausage or just about anything else. I like it for lunch or a quick supper after working in the hot garden all day. It adds a nice cool touch to picnics at the beach, too.
I have several variations in my Lithuanian recipes cookbook, but this one is our favorite…
Saltibarsciai Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup Recipe
- 2-3 medium to large red beets (about 1 pound)
- 2 medium cucumbers
- 2 scallions or chives
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 cups buttermilk
- fresh dill
Clean, trim and peel beets, cover with water and boil until tender.
While the beets are boiling:
1. peel cucumbers and chop into small cubes (about 1/2 inch);
2. peel shells from hard-boiled eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Chop the whites very finely.
3. Chop the scallions and mash with egg yolks and 1/4 teaspoon salt to release the onion flavor.
When the beets have finished boiling, remove them from the water and reserve the liquid.
Cool the boiled beets under cold running water (or pop them into the refrigerator to cool for about an hour).
When beets have cooled, grate them coarsely.
In large mixing bowl, add buttermilk to the beet water and blend in sour cream; then add beets, cucumbers, egg whites, egg yolks and onions. Stir until well blended.
Place in refrigerator to chill. Serve with chopped dill as garnish.
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