Sunday, August 18, 2013
Cold Cucumber-Avocado Soup (with Watercress) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays
On-sale Haas avocados 5 for $5 at Whole Foods on Friday were too good to pass up. I started looking around for a soup recipe and took out my "soup bible"--Love Soup by Anna Thomas. With 160 vegetarian soup recipes, it never fails to turn up a great recipe. In this case a creamy and refreshing Cold Cucumber-Avocado Soup--made from just a few healthy ingredients.
Thomas says, "This lovely and refreshing cold soup earns raves in the hot days of late summer. Serve it in small bowls, each cool green pool scattered with drops of olive oil, bright red cubes of tomato, and a few crisp croutons."
Cold Cucumber-Avocado Soup (with Watercress)
From Love Soup by Anna Thomas
2 lbs (900 g) soft-skinned cucumbers
6 oz (170 g) watercress
3/4 cup (180 ml) fresh lemon juice (or to taste--see notes below)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small jalapeno pepper (use more if mild)
1 large Haas avocado (about 7 oz; 200 g)
1-2 tsp sea salt
-fruity green olive oil
-1 ripe red tomato, finely diced
Trim the ends off the cucumbers, taste each end, and trim off any bitter part. Cut the cucumbers into cubes. Wash the watercress, remove any heavy stems, and chop it roughly. You should have about 2 cups.
Combine half the cucumbers and most of the lemon juice in the container of a blender and puree. The cucumbers will soon be a liquid, and then you can easily add the remaining cucumbers, the watercress, garlic, and jalapeno. Puree until everything is smooth, working in batches if you need to. (Thomas notes: I find that my immersion blender does not work well with this raw soup.)
Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, peel the avocado, and cut the flesh into cubes; you should have not quite 1 cup of diced avocado. Add the avocado to the cucumber puree, along with a teaspoon of sea salt, and process again. This mixture will become thicker and creamier. Stir everything together in a bowl and taste. Add more lemon juice and more salt, a bit at a time and stirring thoroughly each time, until the balance feels right to you. (Thomas notes, "I like to feel the citrus edge against the creaminess of the avocado, and while I don't want a distinctly salty taste, the various flavors become clear only when the right amount of salt is added. Use your taste buds--it's fun.)
Chill the soup well. Serve it in small bowls, and drizzle each serving with a little fresh fruity olive oil, then scatter a few tomato cubes and croutons on top.
Notes/Results: I like this one. It has a lot of flavor for just a few ingredients and it is a good combination of cooling, creamy, tangy and a bit peppery from the watercress. Watercress is one of the most nutrient-dense greens, so this is a healthy vegan (leave off the croutons if you want to keep it raw) bowl of soup that even with the avocado, only clocks in at about 85 calories a serving. I did end up using only about a scant half cup of the lemon juice and it was plenty. I would recommend starting with the smaller amount and working your way up until you get it to your flavor preference. Nice and cooling on a humid day. I would make it again.
We have soups and salads waiting in the Soupers Sundays kitchen--let's take a look.
Joyce of Kitchen Flavours is here with Thai Chicken Noodle Soup and says, "Overall, I'm very happy with this bowl of noodles, especially the kids, they love it, mild enough for them to enjoy and very tasty too. Though I would advise to add on some prawns and fishballs like I did! I would not mind cooking this again, though the next time, I'll make some sambal belachan (a chili condiment paste) to go along with it, with a squeeze of lime! Enjoy!"
Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shares refreshing Cold Yogurt Cucumber Soup and says, "Yogurt and Cucumbers are two of my favorites on a hot summer's day. However, blended together with herbs and spices the duo makes a sensational soup that is extremely refreshing . Ordinarily, I am not a big fan of cold soup; I prefer my soup hot, but the temperature has been so ridiculously high and humid that I haven't felt like cooking. This easy soup was made in my blender, chilled for a minimum of 2 hours, and served ice cold. It really hits the spot on a 95 degree day."
Janet from The Taste Space brought this Peach & Hazelnut Kale Salad with Maple Miso Vinaigrette to a raw vegan potluck and says, "As we each introduced the meal we brought, I felt a bit sheepish because I ended up picking a dressing with maple syrup, which is technically not raw. This is not a problem for me, and I think most people still tried it because there wasn’t much left by the end of the night. In any case, I thought it was delicious. I usually eat my kale salads with a citrus dressing, but the maple-miso dressing worked really well with the sweet peaches, earthy kale and crunchy hazelnuts."
Spencer of Live2EatEat2Live Blog is back with a new trick--soaking onions and an Onion and Tomato Salad inspired by them. He says, "Recently learned that soaking onions in water for a little while (about 30 minutes) takes away the tears and “harsh” flavor. I’m not sure how this works, whether some compound is removed or what. ... Made an onion and tomato salad, topped with a tin of sardines. Simply dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and white balsamic vinegar."
Finally a salad/wrap combination from Tigerfish of Teczcape - An Escape to Food, these Pea, Corn, Pumpkin Seed Lettuce Wraps. She says, "This is the kind of warm salad that I enjoy, minimal dressing required. It also keeps well and can be prepared in advanced. All you have to do before serving is to warm up the salt and black pepper pea and corn combo, sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds."
Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.
Have a happy, healthy week!