BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Play it Cool

18 Comments

One of life’s great ironies is that summer brings in the widest selection of the most tempting produce, but also oppressive heat that makes it a less than appealing proposition to turn on the stove or oven to cook with it. To get the most bang for your vegetative buck, chilled soups are the way to go. Little prep work yields lots of flavor and something that can be enjoyed even as the mercury pushes 100. Though easily the most recognizable cold starter on the block, there’s so much more to the category than the classic gazpacho.

That’s where my creamy cucumber concoction comes in. Featuring my favorite vegetable of all time, the saying “cool as a cucumber” has withstood the test of time, and truly makes this soup the best food for impossibly hot afternoons or evenings. Ideal for both parties or solo servings, it takes almost no effort to whip up, and will keep in the fridge for at least three days, gaining a more complex and harmoniously melded flavor in time. The balance between creamy, soothing yogurt and the sharp punch of horseradish makes each bowlful much more exciting than the pale appearance might let on. Taking inspiration form tzadziki, a generous handful of fresh dill lends a garden-fresh flavor that brightens the whole dish.

For a satisfying, no-cook summer soup, think beyond gazpacho- Save the tomatoes for garnish this time around.

Cucumber-Yogurt Soup

3 Pounds Cucumbers (About 4 Medium Cucumbers)
1/4 Cup Shelled Hemp Seeds
1 Clove Garlic
2 Cups Plain, Unsweetened Vegan Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 – 1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Prepared Horseradish
1/4 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Chives
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Dill
1 Cup Vegetable Stock
2 Medium Tomatoes, Seeded and Diced

Peel and slice the cucumbers in half, removing watery seeds if necessary. Finely dice 1 cucumber, and set aside. Chop the remaining cukes into medium-sized chunks, and toss them into your blender, along with hemp, garlic, “yogurt,” vinegar, olive oil, salt (starting with the lesser amount), horseradish, and pepper. Thoroughly puree until completely smooth. If using a low-powered blender, be patient and give it plenty of time to break down the seeds, straining if necessary. Add in the chopped herbs, and slowly begin to blend again. Incorporate the stock slowly while the motor runs, until it reaches your desired consistency.* Give it a taste, adding more salt if needed.

Stir in the reserved diced cucumber by hand, in addition to the seeded and diced tomatoes. Serve immediately or chill for up to three days. For best flavor, chill for at least three hours before enjoying. Stir in additional stock after chilling if needed, as it does tend to thicken as it sits.

*You could also keep it very thick, omitting the stock, to serve it as a dip.

Makes 6 – 7 Cups Soup

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

18 thoughts on “Play it Cool

  1. This sounds really good! And I have a lot of cucumbers in my garden! But I’m wondering what the purpose of the hemp seeds are and if there may be a substitute you could recommend for them. Thanks!

  2. Just reading this recipe makes my eyes roll back in my head in anticipation of pleasure…it has some of my favorite things in it and I LOVE horseradish–I can hardly wait!! I will definitely be having this for dinner tonight. I’ll be using coconut yogurt and I’ll have to use chia seeds or maybe the cashews or maybe make it 2 different ways and see which I like the best. ;) I am so excited. I’ll probably have to make it by the vat!

  3. This looks and sounds like something that I would totally be into. The horseradish aspect sounds super interesting, and like you, I like using hemp seeds to give things a creamier texture. Great photos!

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of cucumber gazpacho–but it sounds perfect for the hot hot summer 2/3 of the country has been suffering under. Love the horseradish kick in there!

  5. I love how beautiful this looks, it has an essence of summer no doubt – very refreshing and with lovely delicious flavours :)
    Of course stunning presentation too!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  6. its heating up out here.. and this is going to a refreshing addition to the the weekend fun!

  7. I find it funny that you love cucumber so much since I am SO not a fan. Maybe in this creamy refreshing soup though I could be convinced!

  8. I would most certainly eat this while standing in front of the heater. Horseradish brings out that kind of love in me.

  9. This sounds delicious, have to try it soon, thanks.

    You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here for entry details and current theme offering a new theme each month. All bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  10. Hi Hannah, Where do you ever find unsweetened vegan yogurt (unless you make it)? I have access to some really good grocery stores here in the Seattle area and I’ve never seen it.

  11. It’s been so hot, I’ve been trying to keep things cool around here too! This sounds like the perfect summer meal — it highlights the season’s gorgeous produce, and will fill you up without weighing you down. Gorgeous, Hannah!

  12. Oh, this looks delicious and refreshing! Thx for sharing!

  13. perfect! i have tons of cukes in my fridge!

  14. i can most certainly imagine eating a bowl of this for lunch! weather’s been too hot!

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