This refreshing cucumber soup will help you to keep your cool on a hot day. And it’s low in calories, too.
As for chilled soups, if you haven’t tried one before (or if you just need a little more encouragement to get started with your first batch this season) they make a wonderful addition to any summertime menu.
As writer Louis P. DeGouy said in The Soup Book, published in 1949, “The refreshing chill and tang of these as a first course or as a “starter” is a wonderful nudge to one’s appetite.”
Perhaps truer words have never been spoken!
Sure, you could add a few slices of cucumber to your water with a wedge of lemon, and a sprig or two of mint. You could place a few more slices over your tired eyes. But we think the best way to take advantage of the cooling factor inherent to this fresh garden vegetable in the warm weather is to blend it up with yogurt and fresh herbs, to make a refreshing summertime soup.
Lemon juice, a little bit of garlic, and a bunch of fresh dill is all you’ll need to add refreshing flavor to this tasty dish. Like tzatziki dip in many ways, it has a lovely smooth texture that’s perfect for sipping.
Because all of the ingredients in this soup are raw, you also retain more of the nutrients than you might in your standard cooked soup.
Packed with vitamins A and C, and silica from the cucumber, potassium, protein, calcium, and B vitamins from the yogurt, healthy phytonutrients, selenium, and phosphorus from the garlic, iron and magnesium from the dill, and vitamin C from the lemon juice, as well as a bit of healthy fiber from all of that fresh produce, this dish is both delicious and nutrient dense!
It’s also a low-calorie vegetarian option, the perfect light dish to serve when that sluggish feeling starts to set in after a long day spent outside in the sunshine.
Of course, the operative word when it comes to chilled soups is “chilled.” Blending tends to generate at least a little bit of heat, even when done quickly, so you’ll want to do what you can to fully cool the dish off before serving it to your parched and sun-beaten guests.
Here’s a tip from Louis DeGouy: “The main thing to remember is that cold soup must be really cold, just as hot soup must be really hot, to be good. No betwixt-and-between stuff here. Have the plates or bouillon cups chilled too. The beading of moisture that usually forms on the cups adds to the illusion of coolness.
“A quick way to get soup very cold is to pour it into the ice tray of the refrigerator. Watch it carefully from time to time so that it does not freeze. When it is just at the point of forming ice crystals, or in the case of jellied soup, has just jellied, take out the tray, and let it stand in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the soup in cups or plates.”
We love these serving suggestions, and we know you will too!
If you’ve been fully converted to the train of chilled soups this summer, check out our 20 other chilled soup recipes to try, enjoy, and cool down with (as well as match any taste!).
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step One – Prep The Vegetables
Reserve about a third of one of the cucumbers for garnish.
Peel and chop the rest. Since they will be blended, there is no need to concern yourself with a uniform chop.
Want to make your life even easier? Check out our guide to the top vegetable peelers.
Peel your garlic as well, and place this with the cucumber in a blender.
Step Two – Blend
Blend the cucumber, garlic, oil, and yogurt with a splash of water.
If using the immersion type, make sure your vegetables are chopped small enough that they don’t get caught up in the blades.
Either regular yogurt or Greek style will work for this, however, if you are using the thicker Greek style (it’s really regular yogurt, with more of the water strained out), keep in mind that you will likely need to add more water to make it thin enough to blend!
Step Three – Season
Season to taste with salt, pepper, sugar, and lemon juice.
The balance of lemon and salt here is the key ingredient to success. Without the balance of acid from the lemon and the flavor enhancement of salt, this dish would be fairly one-dimensional.
When properly seasoned, however, the brightness of the yogurt and the coolness of the cucumber harmonize beautifully on the tongue.
Store in the fridge to keep cool until serving.
Step Four – Prep the Garnish
Wash and chop the dill for garnish. This is not just to look nice – the herbs add a delicious flavor and freshness to the dish.
Slice the reserved cucumber into thinly, and garnish each bowl of soup with a few slices as well. The added crunch that it provides will enhance your eating experience.
Step Five – Garnish with Dill & Cucumber
When you are ready to serve, garnish each bowl with the dill and cucumber slices. This pairs nicely with our sour barley pita!
What’s your favorite chilled soup to serve in the summertime? Share your recipes with us in the comments!
DeGouy, Louis. The Soup Book. Facsimile, 1949 edition. Dover Publications: New York, 1974. P. 73. http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodsoups.html
Contributing writer and editor: Kendall Vanderslice. Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Allison Sidhu
Allison M. Sidhu is a culinary enthusiast from southeastern Pennsylvania who has returned to Philly after a seven-year sojourn to sunny LA. She loves exploring the local restaurant and bar scene with her best buds. She holds a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College and an MA in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen whipping up something tasty (or listening to the latest food podcasts while she does the dishes!) you’ll probably find Allison tapping away at her keyboard, chilling in the garden, curled up with a good book (or ready to dominate with controller in hand in front of the latest video game) on the couch, or devouring a dollar dog and crab fries at the Phillies game.