Cold Cucumber Cream With Tomato Salsa 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Weeknight Vegetarian Jul 2, 2014

The "cream" in the recipe's title is a misnomer: There's no dairy in this simple, wonderfully refreshing cold soup. But the cucumber does lend a slightly gelatinous, almost creamy mouth feel. The salsa adds crunch and a punch of flavor against the cool mildness of the soup.

Make Ahead: The soup needs to chill for about 2 hours before serving. It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; makes about 4 cups

  • 2 1/2 pounds cucumbers (6 to 8 large or 16 to 20 Kirbys), peeled
  • 3 scallions, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Peel the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out/discard the seeds.

Cut enough of the cucumbers into 1/2-inch dice to yield 1/2 cup. Cover and refrigerate it for the salsa.

Cut the remaining cucumbers into 1-inch chunks. Chop 2 of the scallions.

Combine the larger cucumber chunks, chopped scallions, water, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a food processor or blender; puree until smooth. Taste, and add vinegar, salt and/or pepper as needed. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Just before serving, cut the tomato in half through the stem end. Discard the core and squeeze the halves to discard some of the gel/seeds and juice. Cut the remaining tomato into 1/2-inch dice and transfer to a small bowl.

Thinly slice the remaining scallion and add to the bowl, along with the reserved, diced cucumber and the basil. Toss with the oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Taste the soup again for seasoning (it will be more muted when cold), and add vinegar, salt or pepper as needed. Divide among chilled bowls, top each portion with some of the salsa, and serve.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Italian Vegetable Cookbook," by Michele Scicolone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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