Cucumber & Green Grape Gazpacho | Quinoa Salad with Mango, Lime & Ginger

Cucumber and grape gazpacho

I arrived at the Albany airport to find my auntie Marcy waiting at baggage claim ready to snatch Wren from my arms and to feed me, as always, immediately.

She led me to her car, and before I could even buckle my seatbelt, she had pulled a ball jar filled with cucumber and green grape gazpacho — one of my favorites — from a cooler and handed me a Lifefactory water bottle — I want one! — filled with ginger-mint-and-orange-flavored water.

Feeling nourished and ready to face the task of the day — find me a place to live — we zoomed off in Marcy’s mobile spa, equipped with coolers holding bowls of quinoa and mango salad, a brown paper bag sheathing a loaf of Shelburne Farms chili cheese ciabatta, and a little baggy holding rice crispy treats for dessert. My auntie spoils me.

I returned home to a heat wave craving nothing more than this cool summery meal. As I mentioned, this white gazpacho, loaded with dill, is one of my favorites. I find nothing more refreshing this time of year, and had I not been so worried about disappointing some of you, I would have shared this recipe ages ago. You see, some of you may be turned off by the zing of the raw garlic. One clove imparts an amazing amount of bite, and while you certainly could leave it out, I fear something would be lost without it. While variations of white gazpacho can be found all over Spain (so I’m told), raw garlic (along with the stale bread) seems to be a constant. This soup makes a wonderful first course, especially when every sip is accompanied by slivers of toasted almonds and sweet grapes.

I have few worries about this quinoa salad, seasoned with fresh ginger and lime, a mixture of slivered snap peas, toasted cashews, minced serranos, diced mango, and sliced scallions. This spicy-crunchy-sweet combination benefits from a brief rest in the fridge, which helps the ginger permeate the salad, and if you feel like being extra fussy, I suggest folding in the diced mango just before serving to keep the salad as crisp and bright as possible.

Friends, the weekend in the Albany area proved a success. I found a house owned by a botanist who, over the years, has managed to grow a peach tree, a pear tree, an apple tree, and rhubarb all in her backyard. I returned home unable to answer any questions about the house itself — Number of bedrooms or bathrooms? Was there a dishwasher? A place for tools? Bathtub for the children? — responding to every question with: “But it has a peach tree in the backyard.” How could I possibly have passed it up? Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m the one who should have been tasked with the house-hunting, but we’ll make it work, right? Hope you all are staying cool.

picnic

grapes

gazpacho ingredients

Breadcrumbs soaking in water:
breadcrumbs

Cucumber and grape gazpacho

White Grape and Cucumber Gazpacho

Serves 4 as a first course
Source: Fine Cooking

Note: If you like cool summer soups, another favorite of mine is this watermelon gazpacho.

1/2 lb. plus a handful for garnish seedless white (green) grapes, rinsed
2 slices white sandwich bread
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 seedless cucumber*
2 scallions (white and light green parts)
1 clove garlic**
3 Tbs. fresh dill (or more)
2 Tbs. cream cheese (I used mascarpone because I had it on hand.)
1/4 cup milk
1 to 2 Tbs. white-wine vinegar (I used 3 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar.)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

*The half English cucumber that I used measured about 6-inches in length.

**Some people find even just one clove of garlic to be too biting. So, you might want to start with 1/2 a clove or omit it altogether if you are garlic averse. Update: July 19th: Made a batch this morning without the garlic — I don’t think anything was really lost without it, and Ben actually preferred it without the garlic. I don’t mind the bite of the raw garlic, but if I were serving this to company, I would probably omit it to be safe. I’m also dying to try adding a minced hot chili to this soup…will report back.

1. Place grapes in a bowl and put it in the freezer. Tear the bread into chunks and chop it in a food processor until it’s reduced to fine crumbs. Put the crumbs in a small bowl, stir in 1/3 cup cool water, and set aside. Toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients: Cut off and discard the cucumber ends. Thickly slice the cucumber. Roughly chop the scallions, garlic and dill.

3. In a food processor, chop the garlic and 1/4 cup of the almonds until very fine. Add the breadcrumbs and cream cheese and process until well blended. Add the cucumber, scallions, dill, milk, vinegar, and the grapes from the freezer. Process until puréed as finely as possible, 1 to 2 minutes. With the machine running, pour in the oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. I ended up adding a teaspoon of kosher salt and an extra tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar. Chill until ready to serve.

4. Garnish with a few halved grapes and the remaining toasted almonds.

quinoa salad with snap peas, mango, lime & ginger

quinoa salad ingredients

This was my first go with red quinoa — I love it. It’s got a nice crunch and lovely nutty flavor:
red quinoa

Slivered snap peas:
snap peas

Grated ginger:
grated ginger

chopped

ingredients

Peeling the mango:
peeling the mango

quinoa salad, mixed

Quinoa Salad with Mango, Snap Peas, Ginger & Lime

Note: An essential piece of equipment for cooking quinoa is a fine-meshed sieve. You need this piece of gear for both rinsing the quinoa before you cook it, and for draining the quinoa after you cook it.

Also: More on cooking quinoa properly and a few notes on Fair Trade quinoa can be found here.

1 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa, Alter Eco brand)
1 cup snap peas, stem removed
1/2 cup cashews, (I used roasted unsalted cashews)
4 to 5 scallions or spring onions, rinsed and trimmed
2 mangoes, peeled
1-2 serrano chilies (or Thai bird chilies or jalapenos — whatever hot chilies you like best)
an inch-long (or slightly bigger) knob of ginger, peeled
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 limes, juiced

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, place quinoa in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse under cold water. When the water comes to a boil, add the quinoa and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain in a fine-meshed sieve and run under cold water until cool. Set aside to dry.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients: Slice the snap peas on a bias and set aside. Roughly chop the cashews. Slice the scallions (white and light green portions) thinly. Slice down around the pit of the mango to remove, then dice the flesh. Remove the seeds from the chilies, then finely dice. Grate the ginger on a box grater or finely dice with a knife or purée in a food processor. You need about a tablespoon (or more or less to taste) of minced ginger flesh/juice.

3. Place the drained and dried quinoa into a large mixing bowl. Season all over with salt (I used one teaspoon kosher salt to start) and pepper to taste. Add the snap peas, cashews, scallions, chilies, mangoes (or not if you have time to let the salad marinate in the fridge for a bit), minced ginger, olive oil and about two tablespoons of lime juice to the bowl. Toss and taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary. I added two more tablespoons of lime juice and a pinch more salt. Let salad marinate in the fridge for an hour (if you have the time). Fold in mangoes just before serving.

tossed quinoa

22 Comments

  1. The soup and salad look refreshing and perfect for this time of year. And the features you describe in the house you found have ME sold!

    Reply
  2. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before but that table is soooooo beautiful! When I take photos of veggies from the garden before we eat them I always do it on my old beat up wooden kitchen table….it just adds so much to the photograph….the gazpacho looks yummo! and I’ve got a ton of cucumbers right now…they aren’t seedless but that won’t bother me!

    Reply
    • Laurie, I know, I love an old beat up wooden table — I picked up another one from my parents’ basement this past winter, and I use it for my desk…never mind that it gives me splinters! I think you’ll like the gazpacho. I made another batch this morning sans garlic just to experiment, and I don’t actually think too much is lost from it, though I happen to love the garlic. I’m thinking about adding a chopped serrano, because I have one but also because I think a little heat might be nice. Ill report back!

      Reply
    • Thanks, Trish! We’re renting, and there weren’t many options, so I couldn’t be too picky, but I am really excited about the house! I hope we get there when the peaches are still ripe :)

      Reply
  3. Hi. These recipes look amazing. Any suggestions for a substitution for the bread in the gazpacho for this gluten free girl? Thanks:)

    Reply
    • Caroline, hi! Ok, let’s see, you could buy gluten-free breadcrumbs, but I’ve never tasted them, so I can’t say for sure how they would work. Another thought is to just omit them altogether — the almonds and cucumber and grapes provide enough body. I would still add the 1/3 cup water, but maybe not till the very end — use it to thin the soup to the right consistency. You might not need all of it. Another thought is to maybe use almond flour? I am curious as to how it would transform after being soaked with water. I have some on hand and am tempted to try this out. I just made another batch of the soup this morning without the garlic, and it was delicious, but I am out of ingredients to experiment further. I’ll have to report back if I try this. If you do, I would start with maybe 1/4 cup of almond flour. One final thought is to use something like cooked quinoa. It might add some nice body. Hope that helps!

      Reply
    • So happy to hear this! I find it so refreshing. I made another batch yesterday without the garlic, and honestly, it was still really good, and today I added a minced serrano to the remaining half batch. I liked the added heat. Next time I am going to puree a small amount of a hot pepper in the food processor with all of the other ingredients. I think I need to make another batch tomorrow :)

      Reply
  4. This looks incredibly delicious! I love gazpacho and can’t wait to try this white version… the grapes, cukes and dill sounds like the most summery-fresh flavors ever! Thank you for sharing. The quinoa salad, too — I want to try both! There can never be enough salad combinations in my life.

    Finding a new house is tough work — happy to hear you found one with such backyard abundance! Oh…. someday I will have a backyard :)

    Reply
  5. Ali, can you recommend a food processor? *spelling? I need to get one, it’s on my ‘buy next’ list and I was wondering if there were any you found were better than others? I need a bigger one, the one I have is teeny and I’m tired of trying to substitute!

    Reply
  6. Bonjour Alexandra !
    Your blog never fails to inspire me. I have my eye on this recipe and the soba noodle/tofu salad, which you might discover on my Instagram soon… :)
    Thank you for sharing your craft. Cooking brings me such joy, and your blog is one of my favorites.
    Kathryn
    PS : I think it’s really cool that someone I admire follows me back on Instagram. Merci beaucoup.

    Reply
  7. Welcome to the Capital Region! I just love your blog, and was jumping up and down to hear you were moving to town. Stone fruit season is still in full swing out here so I hope you can snag a few peaches. It has been a great year for them!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Katie! I am so happy to be here. It honestly already feels like home. I love it. We are heading to the Niskayuna farmers’ market on Sunday. Will definitely pick up some peaches!

      Reply

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