Summer is in full swing and my little heart couldn’t be happier.
August is here already (where did July go?), and I can’t believe how amazing this summer has been so far, at least here in Toronto. We’ve had the most gorgeous sunny weather and very little rain. So much that the herbs, tomatoes and flowers I planted on my balcony are having a hard time. They’ve been craving a cool, heavy rain. Probably as much as I’m craving cold soups, smoothies and ice cream.
In summertime I tend to want lighter, refreshing meals. My appetite is a little more shy than usual and I often prefer having small meals and snacks throughout the day instead of having a big heavy meal.
This soup is the perfect answer to all my summer wishes. It’s light, refreshing, cooling and bursting with flavours. It’s like sunshine in a bowl.
The gorgeous Ontario peaches are finally popping up in the Farmers’ Markets and I couldn’t be happier! There’s nothing like biting in a juicy, sweet peach on a hot summer day, and those local organic peaches are just the best.
This salsa is one of my favorite things to make with peaches in season. I’ve made this salsa countless times before. I traditionally eat it with nachos and guacamole, or in tacos and tortillas. I’ve made it and just ate it straight from the bowl too. It’s that good.
I was craving a cold soup and thought my beloved salsa would pair incredibly well with the refreshing flavours of cucumber and basil. And I was right.
The soup is really good on its own but I wouldn’t skip the salsa here, as it really brings it to the next level. It’s slightly sweet, tangy and a little spicy, and it adds some nice texture too.
To me, there’s no herb that screams more summer than basil. It’s so fresh! And it’s incredibly versatile. I could basically incorporate a few leaves into pretty much all of my Summer meals.
There are more than 60 varieties of basil, although the most common is sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum). Basil is not only delicious, it has many medicinal effects. It contains an incredible amount of Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting. Just two tablespoons of basil provides 29% of the daily recommended value.
Basil also provides vitamin A through its concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene. Those are powerful antioxidants that protect epithelial cells (the cells that form the lining of numerous body structures including the blood vessels) from free radical damage. It also helps prevent cholesterol in blood from oxidizing, which helps to prevent atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), heart attacks, and stroke.
It is used as a digestive aid and for the treatment of headaches. The volatile oil of basil relaxes the smooth muscle of the intestines and is therefore useful for treating spasms of the intestinal tract. The volatile oil of basil also possess anti-bacterial and anthelmintic (antiworm) properties which makes it useful for treating intestinal parasites.
Cold Cucumber Basil Soup w/ Peach & Tomato Salsa
For the soup:
- Knob coconut oil or ghee
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 large cucumber cut into large chunks
- 1/2 cup cashews soaked for at least 4 hours
- 1 1/2 cup fresh basil
- Juice of 2 limes + keep some zest for topping
- 1/2 cup coconut water or water
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the salsa:
- 3 small or 2 large peaches diced
- 1 large or 2 small tomatoes diced
- 1 green onion minced
- 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh mint chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Pinch sea salt
- Dried chili pepper to taste (optional)
Start by making the salsa:
In a bowl, combine the diced tomatoes (remove excess water from the tomato if necessary), peaches, green onion, basil and mint. Drizzle with the olive oil and white wine vinegar and mix well. Season with sea salt and chill peppers to taste.
Let the salsa rest for at least 10 minutes to bring out the flavours.
Make the soup:
In a medium pan, heat the coconut oil of ghee over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until slightly soften (you don't want them to brown).
Transfer in a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. You might want to add water to adjust consistency if you prefer your soup thinner.
Let cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Serve in bowls or glasses and top with a generous portion of salsa. Garnish with lime zest.
Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive.