Light and refreshing this creamy chilled beet soup with yogurt and fresh dill is a real summertime treat!
“Who have we become?” Jordan asked with a hint of sarcasm and an honest hint of concern. We were packing up for a week beach vacation with his family. I was loading beets and dill into the cooler. They were cozily mushed between my farmhouse culture sauerkraut, fixings for tabouli, and 3 bags full of veggies for Ratatouille.
“What on earth are you packing babe?” He asks.
“Ingredients for borscht, tabouli, and ratatouille, plus some sauerkraut that your sister has to try! Why? What are you doing?” I ask.
“Packing the knife kit with 3 kinds of salt, our chef’s knife, and a few other tools we might need.”
“Who have we become.” He states.
“A Portlandia skit?” I ask.
It appears so.
Borscht (beet soup), tabouli, and ratatouille; three of my very favorite summertime classics, perhaps not traditional beach fare, and yes maybe a little Portlandia, but don’t worry there were also plenty of hot dogs, hamburgers, and plain ‘ol sandwiches that happened too.
I’ve been eating tabouli since I was little, borscht and ratatouille are more recent loves. My Mom made hot borscht growing up (LOVE IT!), then while traveling through Russia a few years ago, I ate borscht literally every single day. By choice.
But just recently my Mom started making Ina Garten’s summertime chilled borscht and we all fell in love with it. So much so, in fact, that my sister-in-law asked me to make it this year for Christmas. I did. Unconventional? Totally. A little weird? Yup. Theme appropriate when served in a green mug? Oh yeah, tis’ the season to eat cold soup.
Making a big batch of chilled beet soup with yogurt and fresh dill for the entire family at the beach seemed only appropriate. It was, after all, finally seasonally appropriate, and also one of the few recipes that nearly everyone in his family enjoys. This time I wanted to tweak the recipe a bit. I love you Ina Garten but I knew I could improve upon your recipe.
The original calls for chicken stock, I never understood why. I felt like I was always fighting against the chicken flavor and just didn’t want it in my veggie powered soup. There is also no reason whatsoever that this borscht shouldn’t be totally vegetarian. So no more chicken stock. To make up for it I blended a whole beet into the cooking liquid which thickens the soup and allows the beets to really shine. I also swapped out maple syrup for the originally called for sugar and stuck with just Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. The results?
Well, let’s just say borscht is now on the menu for labor day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas 😉
- 2.5 lbs. beets (about 6 medium beets without tops)
- 2 cups finely diced cucumbers
- 3 scallions, sliced green and white top
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp salt
- 2.5 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
- Scrub beets well, place in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until easily pierced with a fork (about 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
- Remove beets from
potand set aside to cool. Strain beet cooking liquid through a fine sieve (or a cheesecloth over a colander) and allow to cool. You should have at least 4 cups of beet cooking liquid.
- When beets are cool enough to handle remove the skin by peeling with a small pairing knife or rubbing off with your hands. Reserve half of the beets for the "broth" and dice the other half and add to a large bowl with the diced cucumber, scallion, and dill.
- In a blender combine beet cooking liquid, yogurt, half of the beets, vinegar, maple syrup, and salt. Blend until smooth and well combined. Pour liquid into the bowl with chopped beets, cucumber, scallion, and dill.
- Cover and allow to chill in
refrigeratorfor at least 3 hours.
- Serve chilled with an extra dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh dill.
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