Holodnik is my comfort food and it’s deliciously refreshing on a hot summer day and a perfect way to stay hydrated.

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Yes, I have to admit Holodnik is my comfort food and probably an acquired taste for most people. And yet, I absolutely 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 a perfect way to stay hydrated. You can think of Holodnik as Gazpacho Russian-style, made with beets instead of tomatoes.

The name Holodnik comes from a Russian word “holod” which means cold in English. 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 cook the beets and let them cool enough so you can peel and grate them, and then you put them into boiling water and let them cool again. Sometimes I’ll cook the beets one day and finish up the soup the following day. 

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

Health Benefits Of Beets

  1. Beets’ color comes from Betanin – pigment with biological activity. Betanin is a scavenger of reactive oxygen species hence it has an anti-inflammatory quality. It is said to prevent LDL oxidation and DNA damage.
  2. Beets are high in nitrates. Yes, we have been told to reduce nitrates and food with nitrites like processed meats. But we were never told that about 80% of the nitrates in our diet come from fruits and vegetables. And we all know that eating more fruits and vegetable is good for us! We also know that nitrates turn into nitric oxide, a molecule that widens the arteries and reduces blood pressure. 
  3. Beets traditionally have also been used to 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. Cover 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 in. When the water is about to boil again (about 1-3 minutes) turn off and let cool off 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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