Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup

by Chef Mark Tafoya

Post image for Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup

The combination of cucumbers and yogurt is a classic Balkan and Middle Eastern pairing. Here, we make use of the creaminess and soothing coolness in a chilled summer soup which requires no cooking. Take it along in a chilled thermos for a picnic pick-me-up, or serve it as we do in frosted glasses with springs of mint as a garnish.

This soup is featured in our Gilded Fork: Entertaining at Home cookbook.

4 servings


2 medium cucumbers
½ cup walnut pieces, toasted
1 garlic clove, very finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons water
Juice of 1 lemon
1½ cups thick Greek style yogurt (or 2 cups regular plain yogurt)
½ cup parsley
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
mint sprigs, for garnish


Strain the yogurt:
If using regular yogurt, place it in a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth set over a bowl to drain for 20 to 30 minutes. If using Greek style yogurt, omit this step.

Prepare the cucumber soup:
While the yogurt strains, toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until they become toasted and the oils begin to develop.

[Chef’s Note: You will notice an aroma when the walnuts are toasted. Be watchful, as they will go from toasted to burnt in a matter of a few moments.]

Peel the cucumbers, slice them in half and scrape out the seeds with a small spoon. Cut the flesh into 1-inch pieces. Place the garlic clove in a food processor and pulse briefly until puréed. Add half of the cucumber along with the walnuts, parsley and half the mint and pulse until the mixture becomes a smooth purée. Add the oil and a little water, and pulse again to incorporate. Scrape down the sides as necessary.

Add the remaining cucumber to the blender or processor with a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Pulse briefly. The soup should be relatively smooth, with a few remaining small pieces of cucumber for texture. Scrape the purée into a large bowl and stir in the yogurt to blend. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper and add a little more lemon juice, if desired.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until chilled. Taste and adjust for seasoning and consistency, if necessary.


Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Ladle into chilled bowls and garnish with mint leaves. For a more elegant presentation, we like to chill martini glasses in the freezer, then, just prior to service, pour the soup into the frosted glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint or a slice of cucumber on the rim of the glass.

Recipe by Mark Tafoya

Photo by Aniko Pasternak

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

My Persian Kitchen July 28, 2010 at 11:49 am

Us Persians have our very own version of this delicious soup!

My contribution to the Summer Fest is Cucumber, Feta, & Walnut. A very yummy and refreshing combination!

Kathleen July 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I love cucumber soup and this sounds delicious. Just made @kalofagas Cucumber and Yogurt chilled soup. Will be trying yours soon. Mint makes everything better

Stacey Ballis July 28, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Check out my post on Zucchini Pasta with Chicken…my favorite summer dinner!

Winnie July 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Hooray for Summer Fest! I’d like to submit these zucchini “noodles” with avocado garlic dressing:

As well as this refreshing cucumber sorbet:

And some good old reliable lacto-fermented pickles (a recipe that’s really adaptable; I just made a batch with garlic, tarragon and chile pepper)

I’m really looking forward to reading everyone’s recipes…and I’ll try to do a dedicated Summer Fest post next week 😉

todd and diane July 31, 2010 at 12:41 am

wow! this soup looks amazing and love how you served it. Love the photograph, beautiful!

Naseer August 1, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Mmm….this recipe reminds me an incredible appetizer that would be brought out to me in a demitasse as part of a fancy 9-course tasting menu at a Manhattan restaurant. Brilliant!

Over at our Green Thumb Geeks, my wife Emily just jumped into the Summer Fest fray with a great simple recipe for this week’s theme: Cucumber, Tomato, and Red Onion Salad:

Also, we have a recipe for Bread and Butter pickles from a few weeks back that any pickle-lover would enjoy:

Finally, there’s our take on grilled zucchini and summer squash:

Thanks for putting this together!

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