Okroshka: Cold leftover tuna fish salad vegetable beer soup

Stop trippin’. This is really good. I was skeptical, even a bit nauseated at the thought of making this soup. This started when I found a bottle of ‘kvas soft drink’ in a deli case next to cheese and dried fish. I had no idea what it was. The ingredients were water, rye bread crumbs, malted barley, and sugar. I tasted it, grimaced, and thought, wow, someone finally sold non-alcoholic beer in a 20 ounce plastic bottle, where it belonged.

Tolstoy said 16th century Parisians called kvass ‘pig lemonade’. Today, Western corporations have tried to muscle in on the market, but everyone knows artisanal kvass brewed locally is better tasting, and even better for you, like kombucha.

He also brought a bottle of kvass, taken from the kitchen for them to try. That beverage was already known to the French and had been given a special name. They called it limonade de cochon (pig’s lemonade)

– Tolstoy, War and Peace

People drank it the way people in rural Pennsylvania gulp down Mountain Dew. I thought it was non-alcoholic, but it had a trace. I felt it.

I had also purchased another mystery beverage that tasted like sweet pickled dirty carrot brine, so I looked into some Russian cold soup recipes, and I decided to improvise with what I had.

Non ignora mali, miseris succurrere disco

Virgil, Aeneid 1.30

This soup was surprisingly delicious. Think of it as a Russian gazpacho. It was different than anything I had ever tasted, and I filled my belly with it. As you prepare the ingredients, pour everything into a big soup bowl. It’s that easy.


  • Knife
  • Spoons
  • Measuring cup
  • Cutting board
  • Mortar and pestle or a grinder
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Grater
  • Big soup bowl
  • Spoon


  • 4 oz old cole slaw mix – shredded cabbage, carrot, radicchio
  • Half stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 oz. cucumber, chopped
  • 1 radish, thin sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely shredded
  • 2 oz. old red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby spinach
  • 4 oz. week-old tuna salad (EVOO, Dijon, s & p, lemon juice, albacore, minced celery, 1 chopped scallion)
  • 2 oz. chilled blood carrot and turnip bulgur brine – Figure 1 (alternate dill pickle juice and a stale cracker)
  • 4 oz. kvass (alternate flat beer chilled in freezer) Figure 2
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream, add another if you want it sour
  • 2 tsp fresh ground black peppercorns, 1 tsp ground mustard seeds, 1 tsp ground fennel seeds (alternate black pepper packets in that drawer, and old mustard packets)
  • 2 tsp dried tarragon (alternate smellage or parsley)
  • 1 tsp cooking olive oil
  • Alternates and Options: Chopped ham or mutton or tofu or ham salad for TUNA SALAD. Add a chopped boiled egg, potato, and chervil for thicker consistency.
Turnip Beverage: water, turnip juice, blood carrot, salt

I found these beverages in an international grocery I mistook for a magnet boutique.

Figure 2: Kvass beverage before I drank most of it.


Mix everything in a bowl, but add the tarragon and cooking olive oil last. Serve immediately. Cold leftover tuna fish salad beer soup serves 1. Figure 3

Figure 3: Cold leftover tuna fish salad beer soup

Kvass is a traditional fermented Slavic and Baltic beverage commonly made from rye bread, which is known in many Central and Eastern European and Asian countries as “black bread


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