Make Ahead

Yogurt Soup with Cucumbers and Walnuts (Tarator)

July 17, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

Lightly adapted from Anne Mendelson's Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages. —Nicholas Day

What You'll Need
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 slices of country bread (soak briefly in water and then wring out the water)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups yogurt (whole)
  • 4 small Persian cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber, peeled and seeded)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 small bunches dill or mint
  1. Crush the garlic and salt to a pulp, using either a mortar and pestle or the side of a large knife. Reserve a few walnuts. Using a food processor (or a mortar and pestle, if you want), briefly pulse the rest of the walnuts and then the bread. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the paste and then all the yogurt, whisking well. Add the lemon juice. Grate and add the cucumbers.
  3. Let cool in the fridge for an hour or more, if you have it, and then add enough very cold water to make it into a spoonable soup. Chop the reserved walnuts and use for a garnish, along with the dill or mint, some lemon wedges and the olive oil.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Anmari
  • Zensister
  • John Brandt
    John Brandt
  • Marina
I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.

5 Reviews

Marina December 11, 2017
Bread is never used when making tarator. For some reason I feel very strongly about this. Also lemon juice is never added, provided you use tart yogurt. This is a summer cold soup and the idea is to make it as light as possible.
Traditionally it is prepared with dill, not mint, but I like to use mint or spearmint. Walnuts can be replaced with pistachio (it adds extra green colour).
Anmari July 7, 2014
I have never heard of tarator made with bread, but I am willing to try it. The original recipe uses high quality full fat milk, cucumbers, garlic , dill, walnuts... Olive oil to garnish. You need no more! Great with a shot of ouzo or grape brandy! Nazdrave as we say in Bulgaria!
John B. July 7, 2017
Yes I remember it well. It was chilled almost to the point of freezing. Had many a bowl in Sofia!
Zensister April 13, 2014
When I was in high school, my best friend and I would go to her nearby home for lunch because her grandmother was visiting from Iran and would feed us. In the last months of school, when the SoCal heat was ratcheting up, she would make a soup very much like this and serve it with pita bread. I think she used both mint and dill, and she put a couple of ice cubes in it. More than twenty years later, this recipe invokes some wonderful memories of that friend.
aimeebama July 20, 2012
I fixed this last night with almonds instead of walnuts, and while my husband really liked it (he's a mint fanatic), I found it lacking something in the umami family. A splash of fish sauce and some smoked paprika helped, but for me it felt more like starter territory versus main course in terms of sustenance if that makes sense.