Here in Ohio we went from cold rain to hot mugginess in a few days, and suddenly I feel like becoming a raw-foodist might not be so hard. I lived for roasted vegetables for months during my elimination diet, but now I can hardly bear the heat of incandescent light fixtures, let alone an oven. Today is all about cold food, and as I took a midday survey of my fridge and countertop I was happy to recall a creamy chilled soup idea from my friend Justine. A quick chop of cucumber, scoop of avocado, squeeze of lemon into the blender, and lunch was served.
This is a soup that I never make the same way twice. Cucumber and avocado are the base for any number of flavorings. Today I used lemon; the original recipe from Justine (via her Danish friend Louise) calls for white vinegar; sherry vinegar is nice, or even rice vinegar. Salt and pepper are a start, and today I added cayenne pepper for a gentle kick. Louise uses cumin and garlic, also fantastic. This soup loves a garnish – fresh herbs are flavorful, but what I had on hand was homemade greek-style yogurt (I’m making my own probiotic yogurt these days, but more on that another time). A drizzle of fruity extra-virgin olive oil or a sprinkle of cheese also make tasty variations.
Start with our basics. I’ve made this with more cucumber at times, or more avocado, depending on what I have. More avocado is creamier, more cucumber is closer to a gazpacho-like consistency. It’s all good.
I overcame my small-appliance aversion and invested in a Vitamix blender this spring in an effort to get my kids to ingest more vegetables. I have to say, the thing is a powerhouse. Instead of juicing my small lemon, I cut the peel off and threw the chunks in. A regular blender or food processor will work just fine, but depending on your equipment, you may want to peel the cucumber – and definitely juice the lemon.
Add a bit of water and a few ice cubes. Blend well.
Pour into bowls (or in my case, one big bowl). Garnish with whatever yummy you have on hand and serve with some fresh bread, cheese or a bowl of nuts.
Speaking of which – I can’t stop eating these spicy and tangy (chile pepper and lemon) almonds from Trader Joe’s. I’m working on a recipe to make them at home in case the Trader Joe’s ones get discontinued. Last time TJ’s appeared to be out, but to my great relief a helpful aloha-shirted employee dug out a few bags from behind the pepitas.
I was going to have the little dish of almonds on the side, but then I got crazy and chopped up a few to sprinkle on top.
And then I had both.
I just remembered I have fresh mint growing like crazy outside. I think a bit of mint blended in next time would be extra refreshing. Maybe tomorrow.
Make your own version and please come back to share your ideas with the rest of us. Summer’s only just getting started.
Cucumber Avocado Soup
Refreshingly cool soup in a blender – perfect lunch for a hot day. It’s light, healthful, quick and pretty.
- 2 cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber, or a few small cucumbers, such as Persian or kirby/pickling cucumbers)
- 1-2 ripe avocados, depending on size (more avocado makes for a creamer soup)
- Squeeze of lemon OR splash of vinegar (any kind)
- 1/4-1/2 cup water
- Ice cubes
Plus one or more of the following
- 1 clove garlic
- Dash cumin
- Dash cayenne pepper
- Fresh herbs, such as chives, parsley or dill
- Dollop of greek yogurt, sour cream or crÃ©me fraiche
- Sprinkle of feta or cojita cheese
- Chopped or slivered almonds
- Chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, parsley or dill
- Drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil
- Peel cucumber if desired (regular cucumbers have thicker skin than the large English or small Persian). Cut cucumber into large chunks and place in a blender or food processor.
- Halve the avocado around the pit and twist gently to separate halves. Make a quick hit with a sharp blade into the avocado pit and twist the knife to remove the pit. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh into the blender/food processor.
- Add garlic, spices, and/or herbs with a generous shake of salt and grind of pepper. Add lemon juice or vinegar along with 1/4 cup water and a few ice cubes. Blend thoroughly, adding another 1/4 cup water or additional ice cubes if needed.
- Pour in bowls and serve with your choice of garnish.
Serving size: Depending on your cucumbers, two cucumbers and one large avocado should serve two. One medium cucumber and one small avocado make a good lunch for one. Scale up as desired.
Here’s the link to a printable version.
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