Sometimes, salads get to be a bit mundane in the middle of a summer heat wave. That’s when a chilled gazpacho or other cold soup variant is a nice change of pace.
My adaptation of a Martha Stewart Living recipe is a summer must-try: Summer-fresh English cucumbers add lightness and volume to the richness and velvety textures of avocado and Greek yogurt. Lest these mellow flavors put your taste buds to sleep, citrus and jalapeño kick up the soup, while green onion and dill round it out with earthy sophistication. A food processor or blender and a vegetable peeler make preparation of this no-cook soup as easy as soups get!
Healthy Diplomat approved:
The second best aspect of this refreshing soup is how healthy it is. Not only is it raw* (shh!) and vegetarian-friendly, its blend of veggies and yogurt promotes good health. Now, before you run screaming at the mention of “raw” food as a trendy, Goop-like fad that normal people shouldn’t bother to try, think about the last time you ate a salad. Hello! Raw, whole food is more ” normal”than most of the processed foods we gravitate towards.
Anyhow, the only fat in the dish comes from predominantly monounsaturated fats in the avocado. Don’t leave it out! It is high in fiber, Vitamins C and K, folate, and potassium, too. The jalapeño, though small, is densely packed with Vitamin C and capsaicin, the latter of which is an anti-inflammatory and vasodilator. Google its purported benefits – you might be surprised! Greek yogurt not only adds texture, but it offers protein to power muscles and probiotic compounds to aid in digestion. I could go on about the rest of the ingredients’ value, but I won’t bore you further.
If I haven’t convinced you to step out of your summer salad comfort zone and try this elegant soup, take a moment and pledge to try it! It might not be your typical summer dish, but that is exactly why you should try it. Refreshingly complex, delicious, and also nutritious, it’s a sophisticated summer first course or light meal you won’t forget!
*Technically, it’s not completely raw when using pasteurized dairy (yogurt). Technically.
Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup
- 1 English cucumber, peeled
- 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and quartered or diced
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice (juice of one lime)
- 1/2 tsp. lime Zest (optional)
- 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 2 Tbsp. scallion, chopped (dark green parts excluded)
- 2 tsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Note: Only use the white and light green parts of the scallions; set the dark green parts aside for garnish. The avocado need not be chopped prior to adding it to the food processor; simply halve and scoop the flesh with a spoon directly from the skin.
Place all ingredients, excluding water, in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Gradually add in water to desired consistency. Transfer to serving containers and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. The flavors meld well overnight, as well; the heat from the jalapeño builds as it rests.
Garnish with diced green onion (the dark green parts set aside) and/or plantain chips.