Summertime is smoothie season. Fruits are ripe and juicy, and herbs grow aplenty — maybe in your own backyard or windowsill. This simple fruit shake combines yogurt with cantaloupe. A typical lassi might include a sprinkle of cinnamon, but I’ve added some crushed some fresh mint leaves for extra coolness.
Any fruit will work for this recipe, but cantaloupe’s soft, graceful flavor benefits from the tanginess of good yogurt. These melons can taste rather boring when not in season or underripe (which often goes hand in hand). I’d never thought much of them until I bit into a juicy, intensely flavorful melon a few summers ago. That single melon was a game-changer for me, bursting with tropical, floral and buttery nuances. Ever since, I crave cantaloupes in mid-to-late summer, when I can get my hands on the most fragrant specimens at the farmers’ market.
For this lassi, I pureed roughly equal portions of cut-up chunks with a local dairy farm’s yogurt, runny and perfect for lassi-making. Don’t be discouraged by the thinness of yogurt: it provides protein and active probiotics that aid your digestive system. Choose plain or vanilla yogurt, depending upon your sweet tooth. Pile it all into a blender or food processor along with a few snips of fresh mint leaves, and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Cantaloupe Lassi with Fresh Mint
(Makes 2 cups)
4-6 oz ripe cantaloupe, seeded, trimmed of rind, and chopped.
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (I prefer whole milk yogurt)
6-8 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 sprig fresh mint (for garnish, optional)
Blender or food processor
Combine all ingredients except for the optional mint sprig garnish in a blender or food processor. Blend well until smooth. Pour into a glass and top with the mint sprig.
There’s really nothing else to it. Since it was so hot the morning I made this, I plunked a couple of ice cubes into my lassi, though that’s not the traditional way to serve it. I left the house feeling fresh as a daisy and full enough until lunch.
All photographs by Cathy Erway.