I seem to only use buttermilk in pancake batter or muffins. That’s unfortunate because buttermilk, like yogurt and kefir, is a cultured dairy product rich in calcium, protein and healthy probiotics. Since most of us are not going to start drinking buttermilk, I wanted to find another way to incorporate it into more recipes. Here, I’ve used buttermilk as the base for a refreshing, light cold soup. Cucumbers and fresh dill work well with the subtle flavor of buttermilk and finishing the soup with a drizzle of olive oil balances out the tartness of the buttermilk. This soup can be a wonderfully light, between meal snack.
Chilled Cucumber and Dill Buttermilk Soup
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped (before chopping, slice a few thin rounds of cucumber for garnish), 2 cups of buttermilk, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (plus extra for garnish), salt and pepper to taste and extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle on top
Place cucumbers in a blender with the buttermilk. Blend until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in the dill. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide soup among 4 bowls. Garnish with thin cucumber slices, dill and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 4.
Nutrition Note: Most buttermilk we use today is cultured buttermilk. It’s made by adding live cultures to milk to create the thick, tart milk we know as buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is made from the liquid that is leftover from churning butter (hence the name). This liquid is allowed to naturally ferment, producing a tart milk, thinner than today’s cultured buttermilk. Unlike its name, buttermilk contains no butter at all and is low in fat. Both cultured and traditional buttermilk are good sources of probiotics (healthy bacteria) and like yogurt, low in lactose.