I know there are more than a few vegetarians amongst my readers and commenters. Unfortunately, despite my love for fruits and vegetables, my recipes for purely vegetarian dishes are few and far between. But here is a vegetarian soup that is so easy to make that The Kid did most of the work by herself and it tasted utterly brilliant. You may be wary of cold soups, I certainly was, but on a blisteringly hot day at the beach, this is a refreshing way to start a light and completely “heat-less” and “meat-less” meal.
This recipe comes from the Mustards Grill Cookbook. This well regarded restaurant in Napa Valley, California has been around for years and has consistently delivered superb food to a demanding clientele. For the soup, you will need: 2 pounds of seedless green grapes, 1 small cucumber (the thin Japanese kind without seeds, preferably) peeled and chopped, 1/4 cup of toasted almonds, 2 green onions, coarsely chopped, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 3 oz cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup buttermilk (or just milk), salt and white pepper to taste, several sprigs of dill and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper.
Stick everything in a blender and blitz until smooth-ish but it still retains some texture. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours. Serve in cold bowls (leave these in fridge for an hour or two before serving) and garnish with more chopped cucumber. I know, I know, it sounds bizarre, but oddly it tasted really good. I actually forgot to bring the recipe with me to the beach where we tried this out, so my version was a little less exact and I just tasted as we blended and it turned out just as good. Feel free to experiment a bit with the ingredients… but the grapes, nuts and dairy products are essential.
With this cold starter I served a simple green salad and had some fruit for dessert. Yes, there you have it. Marketman does a vegetarian meal. Oh, and I even garnished one of the soup bowls with some pomegranate seeds, but I wouldn’t recommend that you do that… it wasn’t such a good idea after all. This recipe serves 6 with a nice portion each. If you make several batches of these and chill them in a pitcher, you can easily stir them up and serve them in small glasses if you are having a crowd over for an outdoor barbecue or some other casual occasion. Total prep time, about 10 minutes!