Brighten Your Day With This Colourful Cold Beet Soup Recipe From Lithuania
Whether you’re feeling homesick, or homebound but craving for some adventures abroad, FOOD is the quickest (and cheapest) ticket to your dream destination! While stuck at home, workawayer Violetta from Lithuania decided to share a taste of her country with friends around the world by sharing a vibrant local recipe...
The dish - a soup known locally as Saltibarsciai (pronounced shalt-ay-barsh-chay) - is not only healthy, quick and easy but it is the perfect recipe for warm days as it is a cold borscht soup! To those not so familiar with Saltibarsciai, its vibrant pink colour is guaranteed to shock but nevertheless, impress as the colour is completely natural! Not only will it keep you cool on summer days, but it is guaranteed to brighten your day in Winter with its beautiful bright colour. AND, while it might not be possible for you to visit Lithuania just yet, this super simple recipe will bring a little bit of Lithuanian culture to you...
Lithuania is located in the Baltic region of Europe, neighbouring Poland, Belarus and Latvia. The country is fortunate to have distinct seasons with cold Winters but beautiful Summers which means locals create a menu to match the seasons. Most dishes consist of potatoes and root vegetables with hearty recipes to keep you warm in Winter and refreshing salads and soups in Summer.
Lithuania is not only home to interesting cuisine and vibrant cafe culture, but fascinating Baroque architecture, a stunning coastline on the Baltic Sea and charming villages. Locals are also very welcoming by sharing hidden gems and historic tales that will inspire your travels!
Bring a taste of Lithuania into your kitchen!
There are a few things to keep in mind before you start to create this delicious yet easy fuchsia feast. Firstly, you will not require a stove as this recipe is both prepared and eaten cold - perfect for sunny days when the last place you want to be is a hot kitchen.
Secondly, while the recipe itself is really simple, it does require a special ingredient - kefir, a fermented yoghurt drink which is jam-packed with vitamins, enzymes and minerals that help aid digestion as well as add a tangy flavour to this nutritional dish. If you cannot find kefir in your local supermarket, you can swap this out for ordinary yoghurt or buttermilk (or a combination of both) as long as it has a liquid consistency.
The other main ingredient in every saltibarsciai is beets – this is where the soup gets the colour and taste from. The beets will need to be pre-cooked and shredded beforehand and as a little tip, you can keep any additional beet juice to brighten your Saltibarsciai should it need it.
Our final tip is that you should prepare Saltibarsciai at least one hour before serving, but ideally allow 24 hours for it to chill in the refrigerator for the best flavour!
So without further ado…grab a spoon, and get a taste of Lithuania!
- 2 medium cucumbers
- 400g cooked and shredded beets
- 50 g chopped dill
- 50 g chopped spring onion
- A pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 litre of kefir (can be substituted for yoghurt, buttermilk, sour cream)
- 3 hard-boiled eggs
- Potatoes to serve
- Add the cooked, shredded beets to a large mixing bowl.
- Dice the cucumbers then add them to the bowl also.
- Sprinkle in the 50g of chopped dill.
- Then, stir in the Kefir (or the alternative of your choice.) This is when the vibrant pink colour begins to form.
- Once combined, add a pinch of salt and pepper if you wish.
- Pop it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour.
- When ready to serve, garnish with spring onion and top with slices of hard-boiled egg. Traditionally, it can also be served with a side of potatoes or crusty bread.
Travel tips for Lithuania
The bright Saltibarsciai is definitely the perfect introduction to the colourful Lithuanian culture and its friendly people - if you’re excited to try more, there are over 30 hosts in Lithuania on Workaway, which means that there are over 30 unique slices of life that you can experience around the country!
Following the disruption of our travel plans due to Covid-19, Lithuania has slowly started to ease travel restrictions and have recently announced 24 EU countries on their “safe list.” If you are from countries such as Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania and Switzerland, then Lithuania is happy to welcome you.
Of course, travel restrictions are still in place for many countries around the world, and a lot of us are also further putting off travel plans in order to protect ourselves and others - but what better way to travel than through your tastebuds? Whether you are at home or headed on holiday, Workaway is all about learning new skills, feeling inspired and discovering new food... so get some beets, and have fun!