You’re right, those aren’t all cold soups in the picture. In the Cafe, we used to serve two hot soups every day — Veggie Chili (upper left) and Red Lentil Soup (lower center). I tried and tried not to make them during the summer, but people still wanted them.
We also offered a Soup of the Day, and in the summer, it was often a cold soup. Two of our favorites were Cold Cucumber Soup and Cherry Soup. Here’s the Cold Cucumber Soup for those cucumbers that will soon start pouring in from the garden, and the Cold Cherry Soup follows.
VEGAN ALERT: These soups aren’t vegan. I haven’t yet found a happy replacement for *Labne, which is very thick. I’m sure vegan milk replacements would work, but I’ll have to redo the recipes one of these days to adjust for the thinner, sweeter milks.
COLD CUCUMBER SOUP
- Cucumbers, 8, peeled and seeded
- Onion, 1
- Labne or Greek Yogurt, 1-2 cups
- Salt, to taste
Boil the onion and cucumber until soft, puree and chill. When completely chilled, whisk in *Labne or Greek Yogurt, and salt to taste. When I made this soup, I preferred to use Labne and generally used the full two cups. Garnish with petite iced tomatoes, cucumber and chopped mint.
COLD CHERRY SOUP
- White Grape Juice, 1 can frozen
- Dried cherries, 1/2 cup
- Almonds, 1 cup blanched
- *Labne or Greek Yogurt, 1-2 cups
- Fresh sweet cherries, 1 lb.
Add twice the required amount of water to the grape concentrate (6 cans). Bring to a boil with the dried cherries. Boil the almonds separately in water for 10 minutes, and peel them (or start with blanched/peeled almonds). Puree the almonds with some of the soup, chill all, and whisk in the Labne or Greek yogurt.
You can strain out the dried cherries to make mixing in the yogurt easier, then add them back. You can also cook the dried cherries in just 2 cups of grape juice, which will make it easier to chill the soup.
Garnish with pitted Sweet Cherries, cut in pieces.
*Labne is a Middle Eastern Yogurt “Spread”. One of the brands most often available locally (in the dairy section) is Dana. It is thicker than Greek yogurt, rich and creamy.