Lithuanian pink soup is a hearty, savory cold soup that hails from Eastern Europe where you'll literally find dozens of variations. I've given this traditional recipe an update with the addition of spicy wasabi and tangy lime.
What Is Lithuanian Pink Soup?
Lithuanian pink soup is a kind of borscht, know in Lithuania as Saltibarsciai . Borscht is a cold beet soup that can be flavored with numerous ingredients.
There are as many borsht recipes in Eastern Europe as there are families, each having their own traditional recipe. In Lithuania, cold beet soup is the soup you serve when guests come calling.
I've given classic Lithuanian pink soup a makeover with a little wasabi horseradish which balances out the sweet, earthy tang of the beets . Serve it up with dark rye croutons and sprinkle with dill.
Let's make one of the world's greatest soups!
- 4 -5 Beets: While it's tempting to use pre-packaged beetroot (and you can), I think using fresh beetroot really brings out the earthiness of this soup. Be sure to wear gloves unless you fancy purple hands!
- Cucumber: This recipe was written with a typical English (think large) cucumber in mind.
- Vegan Kefir: Introducing your new favorite ingredient! Vegan kefir is something like yogurt, but it's liquid and has a slightly stronger taste. You can find it in most major grocery stores these days and you can always find it in Polish grocery stores. Aside from the yummy taste, vegan kefir is absolutely full of gut healthy probiotics.
- Wasabi Paste: A hit of spicy that takes your breath away if you eat too much. In this recipe it balances out the sweet and savory flavors. If you can't find wasabi paste, horseradish works as well.
- Lime Juice: A little hint of sour.
- Dill: Dill is a traditional sidekick to borscht. The lovely anise flavor really adds a nice finish.
- Vegan Sour Cream: Borscht is always served with thick sour cream and dark rye bread. But, if you can't find a vegan sour cream, it's an optional addition and your Lithuanian pink soup will still be just as good.
Pro Tips For Making Perfect Borscht
- Don't toss the beet greens. Save them to use in salads. Or saute them and serve with pasta.
- If you are pressed for time and want to skip using fresh beets, simply buy pre-packaged pickled beets. The taste will be a bit tangier, but equally delicious as making a traditional Lithuanian pink soup.
- In the Slavic world, it's a known fact that "second day Borscht is best." Meaning, that if you make this soup ahead, the flavors will mingle and deepen as it chills in the fridge.
How To Make Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup
- Top the beets and boil for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Remove the beets from the pan with a slotted spoon and peel and dice your cucumber. Once the beets have cooled, peel the skin off and grate the flesh into a large bowl.
2. Add the chopped cucumber, vegan kefir, wasabi paste, lime and dill. Chill for several hours to allow all the flavors to mingle.
3. While your cold beet soup is chilling, get started with the secret sauce, the toppings!
4. Cut your bread into crouton sized pieces and saute in a bit of olive oil until they are crunchy.
5. Slice your radishes and mince your dill.
6. Once your Lithuanian pink soup has chilled, pour it into the blender (you might need to do this in batches.) Blend until you have a smooth and velvety soup. Pour your soup into bowls and garnish with radishes, dill and vegan sour cream! Enjoy!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, cold beet soup freezes beautifully! Just store in individual portions in airtight containers for up to 4 months. All the borscht to defrost in the fridge before eating.
If you omit the rye croutons, this recipe is indeed gluten free.
Beet soup should stay fresh in the fridge for up to three days. The flavors will mingle and deepen as it chills.
You Might Also Like These Easy Vegan Recipes
Lithuanian Pink Soup
- 4-5 beets stems and tops removed
- 1 cucumber peeled and chopped
- 1 liter vegan kefir
- 1 tablespoon wasabi paste
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 handful dill divided
- 8-10 radishes thinly sliced
- 3 pieces dark rye bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Top and tail the beets. Boil until tender, about 30-40 minutes.
- Remove the cooked beets with a slotted spoon and allow to cool.
- Peel and dice the cucumber.
- Remove the peel from the cooked beets and grate into a large bowl. You might want to wear gloves.
- Add the cucumber, kefir, wasabi paste, lime juice and dill (reserve some dill for topping).
- Chill the borscht for two hours. *see note 2
- Heat the olive oil in a fry pan and cut the rye bread into crouton sized pieces. Fry the croutons until they are crispy, keeping a close eye that they don't burn.
- Slice the radish into thin slices.
- Once your Lithuanian pink soup has chilled, pour it into the blender (you might need to do this in batches.) Blend until you have a smooth and velvety soup.
- Ladel the borsch into bowls and garnish with croutons, radish and reserved dill.
- To make Lithuanian pink soup gluten free, simply omit the rye croutons. Or, substitute your favorite gluten free bread and follow the recipe instructions for making croutons.
- The flavors of Borscht enhance as it chills. Two hours is the minium amount of chilling time you should give this recipe. It's perfectly fine to allow the soup to rest in the fridge overnight. You can even make it several days in advance, and blend just before serving.