Beets are sometimes thought of as a fall/winter root vegetable. But lucky for us they are also harvested in spring/early summer! Which makes them perfect for summer treats like cold pickled beets and cold beet soups! Add in now readily available cucumbers and you have the ingredients for a refreshing cold summer soup like this one!

Borscht with Buttermilk and Grated Cucumber

recipe by Mary-Francis at Food & Wine


  • 2 pounds peeled cooked red beets
  • ½ cup dill pickle juice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 large cucumber (about 12 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded
  • 1 cup cold water
  • ½ cup chopped scallions (from 4 large scallions), plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Chopped fresh herbs (such as chives or flat-leaf parsley), for serving


  1. Using large holes of a box grater, grate beets into a large bowl. Add pickle juice, sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt; toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until flavors meld, about 30 minutes.
  2. Using large holes of a box grater, grate cucumber into beet mixture in bowl. Add 1 cup cold water, scallions, dill, lemon juice, pepper, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt; gently stir until mixture is combined. Add buttermilk in 2 additions, gently stirring and folding until soup turns fuchsia and is evenly colored. Stir in additional salt and pepper to taste. (The soup should be assertively seasoned.)
  3. Refrigerate soup, covered, until very cold, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. Serve topped with hard-cooked eggs, sour cream, chopped fresh herbs, and additional scallions and dill. Makes 8 servings.

Make Ahead: Soup can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.

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