Every summer when farm markets and stores are full to the brim with in-season fresh fruits and vegetables, I go crazy – in a good way. Visions of sugarplums don’t dance in my head. Instead, I dream of delicious salads and scrumptious cold soups. This Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup is my latest day dream. It’s light and refreshing, yet satisfying.
My favorite part of this soup is how easy it is to put together. You can do it the night before and it will sit, chilled and ready, in the refrigerator. Or make it after you get home as you change clothes and set the table. The only piece of “special” equipment required is a blender. I don’t have a fancy one. I simply use an immersion blender and it works beautifully for this and many other recipes.
The ingredients in this chilled avocado cucumber soup are simple. With only two vegetables – avocado and cucumber (duh!) – and a few herbs, you turn a simple buttermilk and yogurt base into a flavorful and refreshing summer delight.
Because the buttermilk and yogurt are already refrigerated and nothing is cooked, the soup chills quickly. Everything gets blended together in seconds. No carefully calibrated slicing or chopping required. Nor do you have to be concerned about finely mincing the herbs.
You may notice that there are three types of fresh herbs: mint, dill, and parsley. Are you dubious about combining dill and mint? I was. Although both go well with parsley individually, I don’t typically mix them. Give the combination a chance. I’m betting that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well they go together in this Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup.
Whether you serve it as a light meal, an appetizer or a first course, Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup is perfect in the summer.
Of course, how you define summer is up to you. A warm spell moths before the official start to summer could mean that this soup becomes your jump start to the season. And if you get a warm spell months after the season officially ends, no reason that this soup can’t make a return to the lunch or dinner table. Unlike a track event, summer chilled soup season doesn’t begin with a starter’s “pistol” or end with a brightly marked finish line.
Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup
- 1 English cucumber About 14-16 ounces. Can substitute the same amount by weight of "regular" cucumbers.
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- 1/2-1 avocado roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallot About 1/2 ounce.
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, fresh mint, & fresh dill - all chopped I used about equal amounts, pressed firmly into cup for measurement. If you do not have fresh dill, substitute 1 teaspoon dried dill.
- 1/4 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
- 8 ounces buttermilk
- 1/2 lemon 1-2 tablespoons of the juice + grated zest (zest optional)
- kosher or sea salt + freshly ground pepper optional
- additional small amount of chopped fresh herbs for garnish
Peel cucumber, slice it open and remove the center portion with seeds, using a small spoon. Chop into small chunks and mix with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 20-30 minutes.
While the cucumber is resting with the salt (which will draw water out from the cucumber, intensifying its taste and texture), chop the avocado, shallot, and herbs.
In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk, the Greek yogurt, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, plus the lemon zest if you are using it.
After the cucumber releases its water, rinse the chopped pieces and press them in a colander, pushing out as much of the water as possible. The chunks will begin to soften as you do that.
Once all of the vegetables and herbs are ready, mix them withe the butttermilk, yogurt, and lemon. Blend the mixture, until the soup is velvety. Tiny specks of the herbs will remain, but the vegetables will be thoroughly pulverized.
Refrigerate the soup for at least 30 minutes, then taste. Add more lemon juice, salt and/or pepper to taste.
If you have regular yogurt, you can turn it into Greek-style yogurt by straining it through cheesecloth (or even several sheets of paper towel if you are careful.)