Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Cucumber Soup (Vegan and non-Vegan options)

Summer hasn't officially started, but, boy, the heat sure has! In weather like this, we like to eat a lot of salads and raw foods. Not only because they help cool down our bodies, but also because they save me from having to stand in front of a hot stove.

To add variety to our summer meals, I like to make cold, no-cook soups. Here's one that serves as a great appetizer, as well as a wonderful main dish for hot summer evenings. I use fresh mint that I grow in my garden. If you don't grow your own mint, I'm telling you, you should. It's just about the easiest herb to grow, and you can use it fresh or dry it. If you don't have room for a garden, you can grow mint on your balcony or even on a sunny window ledge. Just get a starter plant, either from a nursery or pull out a rooted stem from a friend's garden, put it in a pot with some soil, give it water on a regular basis, and watch it grow. Seriously, it's that easy.

You can make this soup vegan by using almond milk yogurt, or, if you like cow's milk yogurt, use the good Greek kind, with active bacteria (don't worry, it's the beneficial kind of bacteria that keeps your digestive system healthy).

Summer Cucumber Soup
(serves 4 as an appetizer)

1 large cucumber
3-4 cloves garlic
2 cups almond milk yogurt or Greek yogurt
2 cups cold spring water
small bunch fresh mint
Sea salt to taste
powdered cayenne pepper (optional)

Cut the cucumber lengthwise, then slice thinly. Mince the garlic and chop the mint. In a pot (I use a pot even though I won't be cooking this soup, because it's easy to mix and store in), combine the yogurt and water and beat until completely mixed. The consistency should be just slightly thicker than milk, so adjust the proportions as necessary. Stir in the garlic, mint, cucumber and salt. Put the lid on the pot and refrigerate for at least an hour, to bring out the flavors of the ingredients.

Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with a bit of cayenne, if desired.

Do you have a favorite no-cook, warm weather soup? Share your recipe in the comments, I always love to try new dishes!

Enjoy in good health!

- Tamera

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