Whenever I visit my parents at this time of year, I raid their backyard garden. I’m always astonished at the bounty that such a small space can provide. Tomatoes, beans, onions, carrots, and zucchini are just a small sampling of what it offers. This year the cucumbers are also doing extremely well, and we are definitely getting our fill.
Although tasty sliced up in a salad, or even added to water for a refreshing drink, cucumbers are equally delicious when blended with spinach and some herbs for a cold summer soup.
Cucumbers offer a variety of health benefits.
- They are about 96% water, so they are an excellent source of hydration with the added bonus of being a low calorie food
- They have vitamin A, B vitamins, and vitamin C
- They lower uric acid levels in your system, keeping the kidneys happy
- A compound called sterols in cucumbers helps reduce bad cholesterol.
Cold Cucumber Soup
- 1 large unpeeled English cucumber
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 3/4 cup parsley
- 4 green onions, including tops, trimmed and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (or water)
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- salt (optional)
- 2 grated radishes
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh chives
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Coarsely chop 3/4 of the cucumber and place in blender or food processor. Set aside the remaining 1/4 for garnish. Add blanched, spinach, parsley and green onions to the cucumber in the blender. (To blanch, place veggies in strainer and plunge into pot of hot water until slightly wilted, approximately 1 minute.) Add vegetable stock, 3/4 cup yogurt, and lemon juice to the blender and puree until smooth. Add a little more vegetable stock, if needed.
2. Add salt to taste, if you wish.
3. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. You can eat it plain, but I find that a little garnish really adds a nice flavor, and it also offers a nice presentation.
4. To make garnish, grate remaining cucumber, and squeeze dry. Place it in a small bowl, along with grated radishes and minced chives. Toss lightly with fork.
5. To serve, spoon chilled soup into small bowls. Top with 1 tsp yogurt and garnish of grated cucumber mixture. Sprinkle lightly with black pepper.
Image from here, with thanks.