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While the first official day of summer is still a few weeks away, we’re already pulling out some of our favorite refreshing warm weather recipes to keep us cool, calm and collected in the summer heat—whether that means a cool cucumber sandwich for lunch, a watermelon smoothie in the morning or some cherry tomato skewers at snack time.
Related:Our 18 Best Cucumber Salads That Have Us Dreaming of Summer
And if you’re also on the hunt for some new summer recipes to add to your rotation, we have some tasty news for you: Padma Lakshmi just added a simple, gut-friendly recipe to this season’s bucket list.
Lakshmi took to Instagram on Monday to share her recipe for Chilled Cucumber Soup, which originally appeared in her cookbook, Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet (buy it: $17, bookshop.org). “I’m going to teach you one of the easiest recipes in the world,” Lakshmi says in the video. “I love making this recipe when the weather gets warmer. It’s a great source of protein, and it’s very refreshing. Sometimes I drink it as a shake… but sometimes I actually serve it as a first course.”
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Related:27 Cold Soups You’ll Want to Make All Summer Long
The soup has just three ingredients (plus a pinch of salt): cucumber, full-fat yogurt and some fresh mint or dill. To make it, peel and slice your cucumber—Lakshmi suggests using one English cucumber or four smaller Persian cucumbers. Add the cucumber to a blender along with two cups of yogurt, two tablespoons of fresh mint and a pinch of salt. Pop the lid on your blender and let it run until the soup is creamy. Padma pours a little into a mug for a refreshing midday sip, which sounds pretty tempting to us. If you’re not enjoying it right away, store it in the fridge (or let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes after blending to help it get extra cool and refreshing).
If you weren’t already compelled by the idea of drinking an ice-cold cucumber shake in the middle of a hot day, maybe the potential health benefits of this recipe will convince you to give it a try. Plain yogurt, which brings tangy flavor and creamy body to this soup, is a healthy staple that adds a little protein and a lot of healthy perks to this quick recipe. No matter what kind of yogurt you use—Lakshmi uses DAH! Indian yogurt in this video—you can count on yogurt as a strong source of calcium and potassium.
Related:What Padma Lakshmi Eats in a Day
Plus, since yogurt is a cultured product with lots of beneficial probiotics, it has the potential to help support and improve your digestive health. Probiotics are living microorganisms that add to the healthy bacteria in your gut, which can help you absorb more healthy nutrients and support digestion. And a healthy gut can do more than help with digestion—research has tied the health of your microbiome to weight loss, your heart health and even your state of mind.
To amp up the yogurt factor even further, you could swap out regular yogurt for plain Greek yogurt, which will result in a thicker, tangier, creamier soup. The downside is that the same amount of Greek yogurt will have a little bit less calcium and potassium, but it will have an added boost of protein. Greek yogurt will also be lower in sugar and sodium, which could be a win for folks who are trying to cut back on sodium or are trying to follow a heart-healthy eating pattern.
This creamy cucumber concoction sounds like a delicious light lunch for a busy day, but if you wanted to serve it as part of your evening meal, we think it would be pretty delicious paired with a bright, fresh salad (like our Cobb Salad with Herb-Rubbed Chicken) or a scrumptious sandwich (like our Chickpea Salad Sandwich). No matter how you serve it up, it’s bound to add a refreshing spark of summer flavor to your day.
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