Cold soups and gazpachos are maybe the most popular and sought after foods in the summer. After surviving two heatwaves in highly urban settings recently -one in France, other in Germany- I thought this healthy, refreshing and delicious soup was the perfect recipe to share with you on the blog.
Served cold, this recipe is perfect for summer months yet it’s far from a super light gazpacho. The soup originates from the eastern Anatolian part of Turkey, from the city of Erzurum. Usually made with barley, herbs and chickpeas which makes it super filling, hearty and a wholesome meal on its own.
Packed with fibre, protein and complex carbs, this soup is the definition of a perfectly balanced meal in one single bowl, guaranteed to keep you full for a long time. High temperatures can also mess with our appetites and lead to under-eating, so eating nutritious but refreshing meals can help us keep the energy levels up.
This recipe is traditionally vegetarian but I’ve included necessary ingredient swaps to the article so you can easily make a vegan or gluten-free version. My version uses a mixture of fresh and dried herbs, barley, chickpeas and cucumber. Even though cucumber is not in the traditional version, I believe it adds extra freshness, texture and fun!
For this recipe I'm recommending soaking the barley to minimize the cooking time. Since this soup is more suitable for summer months when you really don't want to turn on your stove for too long, soaking can be helpful yet by no means it is necessary. If you want to skip the soaking, you can simply cook your barley for about 40-45 minutes, the same way you would cook rice or even better, you can use bulgur wheat.
Bulgur wheat will give that same nutty flavour as barley and will require no soaking and it will be cooked in less than 15 minutes. So if you feel like you don't have enough time, I definitely recommend you try bulgur wheat instead of barley.
Tips and Tricks:
For a gluten-free version, switch barley with rice, quinoa or buckwheat.
Plant-based yogurts tend to be runnier than greek yogurt, depending on how thick you want your soup and which yogurt you're using, you can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water. Try to go for a thicker consistency if you're planning on serving it with ice cubes. The ice cubes will melt and make your soup more liquid over time.
For a vegan version, go for unsweetened plant-based yogurt options. If you can find thicker yogurts like Greek or Skyr, they would yield better results. If you're using Skyr, don't forget to add some extra olive oil because Skyr is naturally very low in fat.
If you're allergic or simply don't like the taste of one of the herbs I'm using here, simply omit or use more of the ones you like.
If soaking overnight or cooking the barley seems too time consuming for you, use bulgur, brown rice, white rice, quinoa. Basically any other grain you have prepared will work perfectly.
I believe the water used to cook the barley is liquid gold because it has more flavour compared plain water. So when I'm thinning out the yogurt, I prefer using the barley cooking water but you can use plain water if you like.
You can store this soup in an airtight container in the fridge up to 2 days.
PREP TIME: 20 MIN
TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
1½ cups or 300 grams of strained greek yogurt (or any unsweetened plant-based yogurt)
1 large or 3 small cucumbers
1½ cups or 260 grams of drained chickpeas
1/2 cup of pearled barley (or your grain of choice)
1½ tsp of dried mint
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of salt
3/4 cup or a handful of fresh mint
1. Soak 1/2 cup of barley in 2 cups of water for 12 hours.
2. Rinse and drain the barley. In a small pot, mix 3 cups of water and the drained barley. Cook for 15-20 minutes in high heat.
3. Don't drain the extra water from your barley and set the pot aside to cool.
4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the yogurt, drained chickpeas, fresh and dried herbs and cucumber cut in small cubes or ribbons.
5. After making sure the barley has cooled down, combine the yogurt mixture and the barley (and it's cooking water) in the mixing bowl. Give everything a final stir, add in some ice cubes, drizzle some olive oil on top before serving and enjoy!