Okay, loves, here’s the soup. This is given loosey-goosey, imprecisely: I make it differently each and every time, and so should you. And it always comes out well! A vegan variation follows.
Combine in your food processor or blender:
- about two parts chunked cucumber *
- about one part green grapes, washed, picked over, and removed from the stem
Pulse, to make a chunky puree. Add the following ingredients:
- a handful of almonds or walnuts (raw, unsalted)
- a few coarsely chopped green onions;
- a couple cloves fresh garlic (or, in season, tender garlic scapes)
- a whole lot of fresh mint, stripped from the stem (or fresh dill, or a combination of the two, along with a little cilantro if you like)
- a little optional agave, maple syrup, or Swerve, to bring up the sweetness of the grapes
- salt to taste
Turn this puree into a large mixing or serving bowl, or a big refrigerator storage container with a lid.
Now, stir in enough liquid to make it the consistency of a not-too-thick, textured smoothie. Note on photograph to the left: because the ingredients and proportions vary slightly each time you make it, the exact shade of green varies, too. Sometimes it’s quite bright, sometimes more muted.
About half the liquid should be:
- unsweetened plain yogurt, buttermilk, Greek yogurt, or kefir
The other half should be
* water (I used to use vegetable stock but these days am using water.)
Whisk well, and taste. Refrigerate.
Eat/ drink / sip your way down. If you want to fancy it up, scatter some minced herbs over the top, some sliced cukes in half-rounds. Bliss on a hot afternoon.
* The quality of the cukes is one element that can make or break this. You want unwaxed; preferably Persian or Euro, but any variety will do as long as you’ve tasted it and ascertained that it is sweet, fresh, and crisp-crunchy, not bitter or sodt, and either seedless or young enough that the seeds are barely formed and tender. Generally, I leave part of the cuke unchunked, and dice it carefully, stirring it in at the end for texture.
VEGAN CHILLED CUCUMBER-SOUP WITH GREEN GRAPES, AVOCADO & FRESH MINT
To veganize this, you could use unsweetened, unflavored non-dairy yogurt, such as that made from coconut milk, but I think that substitution doesn’t really work with the flavors. Instead, when make it vegan, I simply omit that component, using all water for the liquid.
However, to give the creamy mouthfeel, I add a ripe avocado or two, blended up with the cukes and grapes. And to add the tang of the original, I squeeze in the juice of 1/2 to 1 1/2 fresh limes or lemons. These changes make a surprisingly large difference in the two finished soups, but dang — both versions are just so good.