Refreshing, juicy cucumbers take the starring role in this chilled soup, perfect for a hot summer’s lunch al fresco.
Bright green and fragrant with fresh herbs and sweet shallot, this light lunch is like a jolt of nutrients in a bowl; pair with a salad of carrot ribbons in vinaigrette and a crisp white wine.
Once you’ve mastered the recipe and technique, swap a few ingredients out and give it a try as a morning smoothie: Sub the shallot and jalapeño for a chopped apple and a dribble of local honey; double the mint and ditch the more savory herbs and you’ve got a mellow summer breakfast in a glass.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 30-60 minutes
- 6 small thin-skinned cucumbers
- 1 lemon or lime—your choice!
- 1 shallot
- ½ jalapeño chile optional
- 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
- 1½ cups whole-milk Greek yogurt divided
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- ¼ cup cilantro
- ½ cup basil leaves
- ½ cup dill fronds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 slices country-style bread
- 1 small bunch chives or 2 scallions for garnish
- Herb fronds for garnish
- 1 cup edible flowers or chive blossoms for garnish
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice for garnish
- Prep the ingredients for blending: Slice off the little stem end of each cucumber and coarsely chop them. Juice the lemon or lime; measure out 2 tablespoons and set aside for later. Peel and chop the shallot. Seed and dice the optional jalapeño. Mince the chives or scallions for garnish.
- In a high-speed blender combine the cucumbers, lemon juice, shallot, jalapeño (if using), spinach, 1 cup of the yogurt, herbs, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of the olive oil and blend until smooth, then chill until very cold, at least 30 minutes to an hour.
- While the soup chills, toast the two slices of bread, then cut them into ½-inch cubes. Fry in a skillet tossed with 2 tablespoons olive oil until browned and crispy; transfer to a kitchen towel to drain and set aside.
- Stir together the remaining Greek yogurt and lemon juice to thin it out (adding a tablespoon of water if needed; it should be the consistency of thick heavy cream).
- Serve the chilled soup in shallow bowls garnished with croutons, minced chives or scallions, herbs, edible flowers, a drizzle of thinned yogurt, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.