Last Updated on August 26, 2021 by Chef Mireille
Tarator is a Bulgarian Cucumber Soup made with different variations throughout the Balkans. Many cultures have some combination of yogurt and cucumber to cool you off from Indian Raita to Greek Tzatziki.
Both yogurt and cucumber are naturally cooling so whether it is to battle the hot temperatures or the spicy food, anything made with these two ingredients will cool you off.
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India has cucumber raita. Greece has Tzatziki and the Balkans have Tarator – Bulgarian Cucumber Soup. Cucumber and yogurt is such a cooling combination and many cultures have condiments with these two ingredients to cool the body, when the temperatures are hot.
Instead of a condiment, in Bulgaria, it is made into a soup. It is believed that Tarator was adapted from Greek Tzatziki.
Not only in Bulgaria, but this chilled soup is popular throughout the Balkan states. During the summer, most meals will start with a bowl of Tarator – Bulgarian Cucumber Soup.
Yogurt is consumed a lot in the Balkan States. In NYC, a lot of Balkan restaurants have popped up, especially in Brooklyn and Queens. Many of them serve house made yogurt with their kebabs. Once you taste their freshly made yogurt, store brands pale in comparison.
However, even with store bought yogurt, this is a great soup to beat the summer heat!
Most of the ingredients are subjective. You can make it with more or less dill, depending how much you like the herb. You can use more or less water, depending how thick you prefer your Tarator.
This is my version, but feel free to adjust the quantity of ingredients, according to your personal palate. With just a few simple ingredients, this no cook soup comes together so quickly and easily.
Don’t forget to try Pogacha – Balkan Yogurt Bread to further explore the cuisine of this region more!
The toasted walnuts give this simple soup a mild, smoky taste which puts it a step above tzatziki.
It is the perfect way to start any meal when it’s hot outside!
Tarator – Bulgarian Cucumber Soup
- 3 tablespoons walnut pieces
- 3 Persian cucumbers peeled and chopped (about 10 oz.)
- 2 cups strained yogurt or Greek yogurt
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
- Finely chopped cucumber and dill for garnish
- In a dry skillet, toast walnuts for a few minutes until they become fragrant.
- In a food processor combine walnuts, cucumbers, yogurt, garlic, olive oil, salt, dill and 1 cup water.
- Blend until thoroughly combined.
- Garnish with chopped cucumber and dill.
- Serve chilled.
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