You’ll see, it’s surprising how you can taste both flavors of beetroot and cucumber! This soup’s sweetness and smooth texture are balanced by a homemade baby spinach pesto (that may be replaced by classic basil pesto).
And the vibrant color! In French, we would say that this gazpacho is “a real sunshine ray in the plates” (un rayon de soleil dans l’assiette)!
Don’t ask me where this recipe comes from. I just felt like mixing those ingredients while wandering at the farmer’s market. My local vegetable monger (his fields are actually in the western suburbs of Paris) looked so fresh and tasty that all I wanted on my way back home was a light vegetarian dinner, enhancing vegetable flavors.
Parisian region/area is called Ile de France (lit. “French island”). It is composed of Paris city itself with its 20 arrondissements (districts) and the banlieue Parisienne (Parisian suburb) composed with 7 departments. we say that there is the petite couronne (small crown with cities located all around Paris,) and the grande couronne (large crown) for those far away.
Information on the recipe
- Serve this soup chilled, like a gazpacho (although I should not use the term as I was told that gazpacho should only concern red chilled soups).
- You’ll see that the recipe is quite easy as it only consists in mixing peeled beetroot and peeled and seeded cucumber with a little bit of chicken stock, yoghurt or cream cheese and a dash of lemon juice. Don’t forget to taste and adjust seasoning as the taste of beetroot may varies from one to the other (more or less sweet for example). It is therefore difficult to give you exact proportions in the recipe.
- I used soy yoghurt (initially imagined with Greek yogurt but my kids had finished the pot!). You can, in my opinion, make several variations with, for example, also ewe’s yoghurt … The idea is to add creaminess without too much heavy cream.
- As for the chicken broth, I made it quite dense full-bodied because I did not want to dilute the soup too much. Here a cube of Maggi poultry stock diluted in 100 ml of hot water. I used only half and used the rest in the cooking water of pasta for the kid’s dinner.
- I propose to balance the smoothness of the soup with pesto. And it works well. Here baby leaves of spinach mixed with olive oil and lemon. Feel free to use basil pesto you bought.
Chilled Beetroot and Cucumber Soup, served with Pesto
- 200 gr beetroot (pre-cooked) peeled weight
- 280 gr cucumber about 1 cucumber not too big, peeled weight, center removed
- 200 gr yoghurt such as Greek yoghurt or soy yoghurt
- +/- 5 cl chicken broth see above, ½ cube of Maggi chicken stock with 100 ml hot water
- +/- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pesto sauce basil pesto as pesto alla Genovese
- 60 gr spinach baby spinach leaves about 2 large handles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 2 according to your taste
For the soup
- Peel the pre-cooked beetroot and cut it coarsely. Peel and seed cucumber and cut it into large pieces.
- Prepare chicken stock with only a little bit of water. Let it cool down.
- Place beetroot, cucumber and yoghurt in your blender. Mix until smooth. Gradually add the lemon juice and the chicken stock to adjust the quantities according to your taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Rest in the refrigerator
For the pesto
- Mix together the baby spinach leaves, basil pesto, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Taste, adjust seasonning and conistancy (more olive oil if the texture is not liquid enough for example).
Bon appétit !