This soup tastes like you’re eating the garden in the best possible way. In Russia, we call it svekolnik, but similar recipes can be found in other Eastern European countries like Lithuania, Poland, etc. It tastes incredibly refreshing and life-giving, and the preparation couldn’t be simpler, with only 7 core ingredients. For beet skeptics, this chilled approach might be your key to enjoying beets, since their flavor is quite mild here. The mandatory dollop of yogurt or sour cream (we love coconut yogurt here) takes everything to the next level, so make sure not to skip it :)
The cool thing about this soup is that it uses the entire beet, tops and greens included. You don’t have to have the tops to make it, but if your beets come with bushy tops, don’t throw them away. It’s no secret that beet tops are incredibly nutritious, so that contributes to the whole life-giving, garden feel of this dish.
Typically, svekolnik recipes call for eggs, but since we keep things plant-based around here, we’ve come up with two delicious alternatives. I’ve been making this soup with white beans all summer long, and they fit in perfectly, so that’s one of them. And then recently, it occurred to me that silken tofu has a similar texture to egg whites and could be delicious in this recipe, like it usually is in Japanese cold tofu dishes. It worked – tofu is totally tasty and texturally perfect here, and, like the beans, it adds extra protein and makes the soup more satiating. We hope you’ll give this beet soup a try sometime this summer. Wishing you a beautiful weekend :)
- 5 medium beets, tops included if present
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 16 oz silken tofu or white beans
- juice from 2 small lemons
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 4-6 small cucumbers, like Persian - cubed
- dill/parsley/green onion - chopped
- yogurt or cashew sour cream/other sour cream of choice - for serving
- Separate the beets from their tops, if present. Wash and scrub the beets clean and place them in a soup pot. Separate the beet stems from the leaves, setting the leaves aside until ready to serve the soup. Finely chop the stems and place them in the soup pot. Cover the beets and stems with water by about 2". Season with salt and pepper - this water will become your broth. Bring up to a boil and boil for 20-25 minutes, until the beets are tender throughout.
- Carefully remove the beets from the broth with a slotted spoon or tongs, leaving the stems in the pot. Let the beets cool or run them under cold water, then peel off the skins. Grate the beets on a box grater or with the grater attachment of a food processor. Return the grated beets back to the pot with the broth. Add the tofu or beans to the pot, along with the lemon juice, vinegar, and another pinch of salt if needed. Put the pot in the refrigerator to chill completely for 2-4 hours or overnight. Once chilled, taste for salt, pepper, and vinegar, and adjust if needed.
- To serve, place about 1 small cubed cucumber in each bowl. Finely chop the beet greens and add a handful to each bowl. Pour the soup over the vegetables, making to sure to catch plenty of the grated beets and tofu/white beans. Garnish with lots of herbs and a mandatory dollop of yogurt or cashew sour cream. Enjoy!