Meatless Mondays: Cucumber-Zucchini Soup

A quick spin in the blender is the only ‘cooking’ this dish requires.

(Photo: Ian Knauer)

Ian Knauer is a regular contributor to TakePart. He worked for ‘Gourmet’ and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook ‘The Farm.’

Why meatless on Mondays? Not only is eating less animal protein a healthy diet choice, but curbing your meat consumption can have a significant environmental impact too. In 2006 the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that animal agriculture accounted for a full 19 percent of greenhouse gases—more than the transportation sector. Best of all, with recipes like these, going meatless can be a delicious weekly habit.

For most of the year, vegetarian eating requires a bit of ingenuity and creativity. In, say, November, combining grains with what vegetables are available in the garden or farmers market or root cellar to make dinner can be a bit of a challenge. Not during summer. It seems I waited and waited for my garden to produce. Now, all of a sudden, I turn around in the garden and everything is just busting out of the ground.

I spend hours weeding in and around the vegetable plants. The tomatoes and herbs require near constant attention. They grow vertically, offering plenty of space at their feet for weeds. But some plants grow out and shade the ground, helping to control the weed population. I tend to overlook these plants, even forget about them, and they always catch me off guard.

Recently, I turned around after weeding the fledgling asparagus bed to see an ocean of cucumber leaves. I pushed a few back to see what they were hiding: no weeds but bushels and bushels of cucumbers, all ripe and ready to go. I’ll spend the next few days brining them into all kinds of pickles, but for lunch today, I’ll pick a couple and whiz them together with a zucchini to make a dead simple and shockingly delicious summer soup.

Cucumber-Zucchini Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 pound zucchini, chopped

3/4 pound cucumbers, peeled

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 small fresh green chile

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Zucchini flowers for garnish

Directions

Puree the zucchini, cucumbers, onion, vinegar, water, chile, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste; then serve topped with the torn zucchini flowers.

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