Chilled summer soups are a great surprise for children asking for cool lunches as the days get warmer. “Anything that isn’t hot,” my children tell me, but enough salads already. Flavorful, cold soups from a variety of fresh vegetables are my answer.
You may already be familiar with traditional cold soups like gazpacho (tomato, onion, sweet peppers), borscht (beet), and vichyssoise (potato and leek). Don’t stick with traditional recipes, though. Beyond the traditional chilled soups, there is infinite variety. Use what you have. Clear out the vegetable drawer. Pull a few carrots from the garden.
Cold Soup Tips
- Add fats and proteins. To make your soup a hearty, filling meal, add beans or dairy for protein and nuts or avocado for fat.
- Get out the blender. A lot of cold soups are quite similar to smoothies. Cold soups don’t have to be smooth. I actually like smooth or slightly textured cold soups, but you can also leave the ingredients very chunky.
- Vegan or raw. Though a lot of traditional cold soups start with broth, you can easily make that vegetable broth or avoid the cooking altogether and create 100% raw cold soups by blending savory flavors as a base.
- Spice it up! I don’t particularly like sweet soup. I make sure that my cold soups are savory and flavorful. Even if you like fruit soups, spiking the flavors with hot spices can take the edge off too much sweet. Even radish or horseradish garnish can add a little kick to your soup.
- Make the soup in advance. I like to let the soup sit in the refrigerator overnight so the flavors develop.
- Chill the serving bowl. Keep the soup cool until the last spoonful.
- Don’t serve too much at once. This goes for most foods, but I find it especially so with chilled soups. A little bit is a tasty treat, but too much can get cloying very fast. Serve a cup of soup with half a sandwich, and you have a meal with variety.
- Freeze the extra. Rather than serving a cup of the same soup meal after meal, freeze it.
- Add garnishes. One of my secrets to avoiding separate meals to meet varying tastes is to create a fairly plain base meal and let everyone add their own garnishes. Create your own garlic croutons. Snip herbs from the garden. Add sour cream or yogurt and swirl it into a nice design before serving.
Cold Cucumber Soup
My favorite cool summer soup is cucumber. The way we make it is a bit like liquified tzatziki (Greek yogurt dip).
2 cups vegetable broth
3 medium cucumbers – peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tbs fresh mint
1 Tbs fresh dill
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 cups plain yogurt
Salt and white pepper to taste
Sometimes we saute the onions before blending, but you can also just put all ingredients in a blender and buzz until smooth.
Garnish with ground nuts, lemon zest, or fresh mint or dill.
Half serves a small bowl each for a family of four. Freeze the other half.