Holodnik is deliciously refreshing on a hot summer day and perfectly hydrating.

I have to admit Holodnik is my comfort food and probably an acquired taste for most people. And yet, I have to share this recipe with you as I believe it’s the healthiest and tastiest cold soup out there. It’s deliciously refreshing on a hot summer day and perfect for staying hydrated. You can think of Holodnik as Gazpacho Russian-style, made with beets instead of tomatoes.

The name of the soup – Holodnik, comes from the Russian word “holod,” which means cold. Some people also call this soup Svekolnik – which means made with beets.

I should warn you that it takes a bit of time to make Holodnik but only because of the cooling time. You boil the beets for 40-50 minutes, depending on their size. Then, you let them cool enough so you can peel and grate them. After that, you put them in boiling water and let them cool again. Sometimes I’ll cook the beets one day and finish the soup the following day. 

For this recipe, you only need the beetroots and not the greens. So chose loose beets instead of a bunch of beets with their tops. When making Borsch, I use the whole plant – the roots and the greens.

Health Benefits Of Beets

  1. The color in beets comes from Betanin – pigment with biological activity. Betanin is a scavenger of reactive oxygen species. Hence, it has anti-inflammatory qualities that prevent LDL oxidation and DNA damage. As a result, beets are supporting heart health and reducing cancer risk.
  2. Beets are high in nitrates. Typically, we should reduce nitrates from processed meats. However, 80% of the nitrates in our diet come from fruits and vegetables. In addition, nitrates turn into nitric oxide, a molecule that widens the arteries and reduces blood pressure. 
  3. Beets promote healthy elimination.
Holodnik ingredients

Holodnik: Cold Soup Russian-Style

  • 3 medium size beets
  • 1 medium size cucumber
  • 6-8 radishes
  • 4-5 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 4-5 green onions
  • Salt
  • Sour cream
  1. ver whole beets (do not peel) with water, bring to a boil and cook for about 40-45 minutes or until they feel soft if you stab them with a fork.
  2. Drain, let beets cool, and then peel them. Grate the beets. I recommend using rubber gloves to protect your hands from turning red.
  3. Bring 2-2 1/2 quarts of water to a boil and add the grated beets. When the water is about to boil again (about 1-3 minutes), turn it off and let it cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the cucumber lengthwise into quarters and then slice thinly. Slice the radishes and green onions thinly. Mince the dill and the eggs.
  5. When the water with the beets is cold, add all the vegetables. Transfer the pot to the fridge to cool down even further. 
  6. Serve cold with a generous dollop of sour cream. Some people like serving the soup with boiled potatoes.
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