Lithuanian Saltibarsciai (cold beet soup/ chłodnik)


Saltibarsciai is a summer, pink soup made of cold beets. It is a traditional Lithuanian dish, also known in Poland as chłodnik. The soup is usually served with cucumbers, radishes and dill, sometimes with a hard-boiled egg or baked potatoes.  The most popular version of this soup uses kefir, a fermented milk drink that has incredible health benefits- It is high in nutrients and probiotics, and is beneficial for digestion and gut health. Many people consider it to be a healthier and more powerful version of yogurt. Saltibarsciai is light, refreshing, garlicky and lemony with a nice crunch from radishes and cucumbers. It is a perfect soup for when it’s too warm out to eat anything hot or when you only have a limited time to make something nutritious and delicious.

The beautiful weather outside puts me in a great mood and makes me want to cook more lighter things- can’t get enough of fresh fruit and veggies lately, no pierogi for this girl! Together with a beautiful weather comes a lot of special events and occasions- on April 17th a celebrated my birthday which by the way I share with my mother-in-law, crazy! I am going out with my friends to celebrate this Friday which I am so looking forward to. Party time! Then I’m hosting a baby shower for my friend, then we have 2 weddings, my hubby’s birthday and trip to a lake house. A lot of occasions to go summer dress shopping 🙂

Back to the recipe. The picture below presents all of the ingredients. As you can see they are super simple and pretty cheap to get.

I started with peeling and then grating my beets. Then I covered them with just enough water to cover them and boiled for 10 minutes on medium heat.

In the meantime I grated radishes and cucumber. It is not necessary but I left a little bit of both veggies to use as a garnish later.

I took the beets off the heat and transferred them to a big bowl and added chopped garlic, kefir, grated cucumber and radish. This is when your beet soup turns beautifully pink. Then I tried the soup and added lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Saltibarsciai is the best when it stays in a fridge for at least an hour before serving- then the flavors can really mix and the soup is nice and chilled.

I garnished the ready soup with chopped cucumber, radish and sprinkled with dill.




If you tried this recipe and posted a pic or comment use hashtag #EasternEuropeanRecipes I’d love to see how it turned out!

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  • 2 big beets
  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bottle of kefir (32 fl oz)
  • chopped dill (dried or fresh)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Peel and grate beets. Cover with cold water and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
  2. In the meantime grate the cucumber and radishes, leave some aside for the garnish later.
  3. In a big bowl mix cooked beets with chopped garlic, kefir, grated cucumber and radishes. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Let sit in a fridge for at least an hour, serve with chopped radishes, cucumbers and chopped dill. Enjoy!



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