Gaspacho de Aguacates El Bambú

Avocado Gaspacho El Bambú

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes about 6 cups ; Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Interest in vegetarian cooking is a relatively new development in Cuba. Though fruits and vegetables thrive in the island’s rich soil and temperate climate, fresh green salads are rare in traditional Cuban cooking and lush tropical fruits like guava, mango, and papaya are often poached in sugar syrups or used to make jams and sugary desserts. We had heard that some interesting vegetarian restaurants had opened in and around Havana and were fortunate to meet Madelaine Vázquez Gálvez, author of an interesting and innovative vegetarian cookbook titled Cocina Ecológica en Cuba. Eco-Restoránte El Bambú, the restaurant she manages at the National Botanical Gardens, located on the outskirts of Havana, has become a culinary destination for both Cubans and visitors from abroad. The kitchen, including the oven, is powered by solar energy, and the lighting in the restaurant is entirely natural. The menu features soups, entrées, and numerous salads and light desserts made from fresh, locally grown ingredients. This refreshing avocado-based cold soup is adapted from Madelaine’s version that we enjoyed at El Bambú.

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Ingredients

  • 2 large, ripe Florida avocados, or 5 ripe Hass avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 medium-sized cucumbers
  • 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 3 cups vegetable broth, fresh or canned
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup diced red radish
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion (green part only)

Method

Peel, pit, and dice the avocados and toss them with the lime juice. Peel, seed, and dice the cucumbers, reserving ¼ cup for garnish. Place the avocado, cucumbers, onion, and broth in a blender or food processor. Pulse until pureed. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper and chill until ready to serve. To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls, top with a dollop of yogurt, and sprinkle with the reserved cucumber, the cilantro, radish, bell pepper, and green onion.