You are here

Cucumber Soup with Mint Pesto and Feta Cheese

Cucumber Soup with Mint Pesto and Feta Cheese

This soup, while excellent to take on a picnic on a warm summer day, is equally good eaten right at home. No matter where you are, you'll enjoy the cool flavors punched up by the tart, refreshing mint pesto. Both the soup and the pesto can be made in advance. Make the soup the day before and prepare the pesto up to a week ahead. Drizzle the pesto with a thin film of olive oil before refrigerating it.

You'll see I've suggested a few picnic take-alongs. These are mostly items that can be purchased so that you don't have to spend a lot of time preparing for the picnic.

For the soup
3 medium cucumbers (about 2 pounds) peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
1 2/3 cups sour cream
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 medium jalapeño chili, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
Kosher salt

For the pesto
3 cups mint leaves (about half a large bunch)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 small (about 6 ounces) red onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt

For garnish
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
To make the soup: In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients except the salt. (If using a blender, cut the cucumber into 1/4 inch dice before blending). Process until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Taste and add a small amount of salt. Process again just until salt is mixed in. Put in a thermos and refrigerate.

To make the pesto: Combine all the pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add just enough salt to bring out the flavors in the pesto. (Don't forget that both the soup and the cheese have salt.) Mix and taste. Process again. You will still have flecks of mint, but the pesto should be fairly runny. (Makes about 2/3 cup; save any extra for another use. It will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.)

To serve, pour the soup into bowls or cups. Place a large dollop of pesto in the center of the the soup and sprinkle with a generous portion of cheese.

Serves 4