Summers are warm and depending on where you live, they can be excruciatingly hot and sometimes, even worse, accompanied by the dreaded "H" word............. humidity! And as much as I like hot weather, humidity is another story, I'll happily avoid it! But even in a hot and humid day, things can be fun and cool, especially if you can indulge in a bowl of this chilled walnut cucumber soup.
I've made a chilled mint yogurt soup in the past but this time I wanted to make the soup full of earthy flavors yet every bit cooling so you feel refreshed with every spoonful. By adding a few toasted walnuts to the yogurt, the soup acquires a rich and creamy texture which makes it delicious. I couldn't resist adding a little chili pepper but that is completely optional, if you don't want a little hot, skip it or remove the seeds from the pepper.
Note: Here's some geeky biochemical science for you! Cucumbers can be slightly bitter and there a couple of ways to get rid of the naturally occurring compound called cucurbitacin that causes this taste. The amount of cucurbitacin can vary within cucumbers picked from the same plant, however in general, the bitter compound is present in the peels and green parts and it will be less in the center. To get rid of cucurbitacin, I use the method I learned at home, slice the ends of the cucumber off and keep the tips aside, then with the pointed tip of a knife prick a few random holes into the cut ends of the cucumbers. Now rub the exposed cut ends of the cucumber with the cut tips for a minute or two, a slight white foam will form. Rinse the foam off under cold running tap water, repeat this on the opposite exposed side. Once you're done with this, peel and discard the skin and tips.
chilled cucumber walnut yogurt soup
yields: 2 servings
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
1 cup peeled cucumber, diced (see note above on how to remove cucumber bitterness)
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 green thai chili pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon/lime juice, freshly squeezed (I used lime)
2 cups plain low-fat (non-fat) Stonyfield yogurt, chilled
a few chopped toasted walnuts for garnish
a little fresh dill/tarragon for garnish
a little walnut oil/extra virgin olive oil for garnish
1. Place all the ingredients from the walnuts to the yogurt in a blender and pulse until completely smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the amount of salt and pepper if needed. You can also add a little water to the soup to adjust the consistency if needed.
2. Remove from blender, pour into chilled serving bowls. Garnish with a few toasted walnuts, dill/tarragon and a light drizzle of walnut/olive oil. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: I am honored to be a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. I received product or coupons for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.