A Different Kind of Cucumber Soup: White Gazpacho

There are a lot of cucumbers out there in the garden right now (and that goes twice for summer squash). We are picking every single day to keep ahead of them. Surely dill pickles will be in the offing but what to do when the year’s supply is assured? Well, cucumber sandwiches, big fat ones with mayo, salt and pepper, eaten over a plate to catch drips; cukes as snacks, wedges to dip in hummus, or pesto sauce, or what have you. Cucumber soup, cold, creamy with garlic and dill. Even traditional gazpacho with tomatoes can gobble up lots of ground cucumber.

Now I haven’t a clue when I first heard about White Gazpacho but the idea of another interesting way to use up lots of cucumbers really appealed to me. I turned to the internet and looked at a lot of White Gazpacho recipes and noticed that they had no milk, handy in case you have a lactose-intolerant family member; relied on ground almonds, handy in case you have a gluten-avoider in your life; and included green grapes. (Grapes??) Plus there was shallot or onion, garlic, dill, olive oil, stock of some sort, and something with snap, like vinegar or lemon juice, and sherry.

Our cucumbers are called Zagross, not too many spines, small-seeded and thin skinned. I also grow pickling cucumbers and peel them for soup and salad. If you are not growing your own, English cukes would work very well. I used ground almond meal, all handily packaged up which I have taken to keeping on hand for those occasional non-gluten baking excursions. I also used white miso instead of chicken stock in case there was a vegetarian in our midst, but chicken stock is just fine for the rest of us. The grapes provided sweetness which was offset by the vinegar, for a little sweet and sour action. And it all gets heaved into a food processor.

We really liked this soup. It is elegant and wicked wholesome. Perfect for a cucumber-rich household on a hot and muggy day, when you might need a slightly-dressier -than-usual soup for summer company or special occasion.

White Gazpacho
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 ½ cups almond meal
  • 2 cups chopped cucumbers
  • 2 cups seedless green grapes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion or shallot
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons dry sherry.
  • Salt and pepper.
  1. Process the almond meal and cucumbers together until they are fairly smooth.
  2. Add grapes and process them, too.
  3. Add garlic, onion or shallot, dill, broth, vinegar and sherry and process the whole mixture.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more vinegar if needed, and salt and pepper.
  5. Let stand for a few hours refrigerated before serving.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.