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This is the kind of meal I could eat every day for lunch and never tire of. Cold summer soups welcome the addition of chewy whole grains. On a hot day in early summer, a soup like this one is both refreshing and substantial.


  • 1 ½

    cups finely diced cucumber (2 Persian cucumbers)

  • Salt to taste

  • 1

    quart plain low-fat yogurt (free of gums and stabilizers) or buttermilk, or a mixture of the two

  • 1

    cup finely diced celery

  • 1

    garlic clove, finely minced or puréed with a little salt in a mortar and pestle

  • 2

    tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2

    tablespoons chopped chives (optional)

  • 1

    cup cooked spelt, kamut or farro

  • 1

    cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)

  • ½

    teaspoon sumac

  • 2

    tablespoons chopped cilantro or mint, plus additional leaves for garnish

  • Dukkah for sprinkling (optional)


    1. Place the cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Toss and place in a strainer set over the bowl. Allow to drain for 15 minutes. Rinse if desired and drain on paper towels.
    2. Combine all of the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for one hour or longer. Serve, garnishing each bowl with cilantro or mint leaves.


    • Advance preparation: You can make this several hours before serving. It keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator.
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