3 Chilled Soup Recipes for Hot Summer Nights
In the summertime my meals tend to revolve around bright flavors and cooling ingredients. The farmers markets are bursting with local produce that is so perfect and ripe, you want to enjoy the bounty just as it is – raw and ready.
The main benefit to whipping together a raw meal is the lack of any added heat in your kitchen. In my top floor apartment, this is crucial to my enjoyment of my summer meals. Chilled soups are not only a joy to make, but are also relieving after a long warm day outdoors!
They are perfect for serving up at a dinner party or potluck, as they can be made ahead of time and stored in the cooler. Or brought out on a picnic in an ice chest, to help you stay cool while lounging in the sun.
Here are a few of my favorite chilled soup recipes. Two are entirely raw. The third requires just one pot of boiling water, but the end result is both cooling and comforting.
A summer classic. I try to pick up the ‘second-time-around’ heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market – gently bruised or oddly shaped, but perfect for blending into a soup!
- 2-3 large ripe red heirloom tomatoes
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 banana peppers, or 1 1/2 bell pepper
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
- 1 pinch red chili flakes
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 bell pepper (I used a purple pepper for added color)
- 1/4 cucumber, peeled
- Prepare vegetables by washing and dicing into smaller bits.
- Using a food processor or blender, blend together tomatoes, cucumber, water and oil with garlic until juicy and fairly smooth.
- Add peppers, cilantro, red onions and pulse briefly. I like a bit of chunkiness. Season to taste.
- To garnish, top with slices of avocado or a mini 'salsa' of diced peppers & cucumber with avocado. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Cool, fresh and creamy – this is a wonderfully light first course or snack!
- 2 small to medium English cucumbers, peeled & diced
- 1 cup shelled fresh English peas
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted & peeled
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or to taste)
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion tops
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- small bunch mint
- salt & fresh cracked pepper
- olive oil & fresh peas for garnish
- Combine all ingredients into a blender adding just enough water to get things moving.
- Start with a smaller amount of mint and add more after tasting. You don't want the mint to overpower the flavor of the fresh peas, but let it present enough that it balances with the flavor of the parsley.
- Chill for at least one hour to let the flavors meld.
- Taste again and season to taste with salt & pepper.
- To serve, drizzle portions of soup with a teaspoon of olive oil and garnish with a few shelled peas and torn mint.
This soup is fully worth the added effort (and heat) of boiling a pot of water. Note: Harissa is a North African blend of spicy chilies. I use the ‘Le Cabanon’ brand harissa paste – which works best for adding to the soup without cooking (vs. a dried chili blend). I made a fairly spicy soup, which you may want to adjust for. Or if using a different brand of paste, just adjust for spiciness to taste.
- 1-pound carrots
- 1 red onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon harissa paste (or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 5 medjool dates, pitted
- 1 small bunch parsley
- 4 tablespoons crème fraiche
- pinch Aleppo chili flakes
- Soak almonds and dates in water for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain off water and replace with 4 cups fresh water. In high-speed blender, process until smooth.
- In a large saucepan bring a couple inches of water to a boil. Cut carrots into small 1/2-inch cubes and toss into boiling water.
- Cook over medium heat until fork tender - at least 10 minutes.
- In the mean time, peel and roughly chop red onion. In a separate pot or pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté slowly to caramelize but not too browned.
- Finally, strain cooked carrots and add carrots & sautéed onions to blender with ‘almond milk.’
- Add all other remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Chill for at least 3 hours.
- Top with parsley, a spoonful of crème fraiche (or omit if vegan) and a sprinkling of Aleppo chili flakes.
Aubrey Jenkins is an up-and-coming food blogger and photographer from Seattle who write to inspire home chefs to cook intuitively and eat mindfully with a focus on whole foods, seasonal eating and healthful alternatives. Check her out at www.drumbeets.com