Soup probably isn’t the first dish you think of when someone mentions warm weather foods, but chilled soups are a great way to cool off when the temperatures heat up. “Chilled soups also are the perfect dish for using up wilting fruits and vegetables that might otherwise go to waste,” says Brandon Fortener, product development chef at Kroger.
Making Cold Soups
Summer brings an abundance of fruits and vegetables, but with people more on-the-go in the warmer months, some of that great produce can start to look a little sad. But for chilled soup lovers, wilted truly is wonderful. “Not only do these fruits and vegetables puree better, but they also tend to have more flavor, which is important because the ingredients won’t have the opportunity meld through the heat of cooking,” says Brandon.
To serve the perfect chilled soup, be sure to allow it to sit in the fridge for a few days to allow the flavors to continue to naturally mix together. And, consider chilling the bowls before serving so the soup stays nice and cool throughout eating. If you are including any cream or extra acid (like lime juice?), add it right before serving.
Savory or Fruity?
Whether you prefer something more deep and savory or light and fruity, there are plenty of chilled soup options. Gazpacho (see recipe below) is a great and easy pick when it’s warm and uses a good amount of produce. It’s typically made with a tomato base but it’s also easy to add in other vegetables or even fruits you have lying around.
Some other vegetables that work great for cold soups are cucumbers, avocados, corn and English peas. Using fresh herbs you may have purchased for a different dish and extra seasoning can add some punch to a cold soup so it doesn’t just taste like a thin version of the vegetable. Seafood, such as shrimp or crab, can add some additional texture and taste in cold soup.
Stale bread makes a good thickener, so if you have bread lying around that is a little too tough, use it for this soup.
“Simply add the bread to your soup mixture before pureeing your soup. This works well for juicy fruits and vegetables and the extra body from the bread prevents a watery mouth feel”
Fruit also makes a surprisingly good chilled soup. Honeydew yogurt soup (see recipe below) combines unexpected ingredients that yield a sweet and spicy summer satisfier. Watermelon, peaches, cantaloupe, strawberries and mango are also great choices to add a bit of sweetness and to balance out the spicy flavors in soup.
Chilled Tomato Gazpacho
2 cups stale bread, diced (about 1 sub roll or 3-4 slices of bread)
20 – 25 grape tomatoes
2 Roma tomatoes
2 cups crushed tomatoes or tomato juice
1 English cucumber
1/2 red onion
2 red bell peppers
2-3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Dice and leave bread out overnight to become stale if you do not have stale bread.
2. Place stale bread in food processor and pulse until crumbled. Remove ¼ cup of the breadcrumbs and reserve for later.
3. Add vegetables to bread crumbs remaining in the food processor and pulse until mostly broken down, but still a little chunky. Season with 1/2 tsp. of salt and chill for several hours or even overnight.
4. Toast the reserved 2 tbsp. of breadcrumbs in 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Cook until golden brown, season with paprika and salt to taste.
5. Season gazpacho prior to service with the vinegar adding 1 Tbsp. at a time until the flavors begin to brighten. Typically, this is between 1-3 Tbsp depending on desired consistency.
6. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Plate gazpacho into four refrigerated soup bowls, then garnish with the toasted breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
Honeydew and Yogurt Soup with Pickled Honeydew Rind
1 honeydew melon
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 jalapeno pepper
2 tbsp. mint, finely chopped
1 Persian or English cucumber
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1. Split and remove seeds from honeydew. Remove peel, then separate juicy flesh from harder rind.
2. Combine rice vinegar with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a sauce pot. Bring to a boil and ensure all sugar dissolves. Slice honeydew rind into thin strips and place into a glass or other non-reactive bowl or jar along with seeds from jalapeno. Pour vinegar over rind and store overnight in the refrigerator. Store for up to a week.
3. Chop honeydew into small pieces with most of the mint, saving some pinches for garnish, and puree in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. Stir in yogurt and season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to let flavors meld.
4. Slice jalapenos and cucumbers very thin—use a mandolin if available. Remove rinds from pickling liquid and toss with jalapeno and cucumber slices using some of the pickling liquid to dress the salad.
5. Plate soup among four refrigerated bowls, garnish with the pickled honeydew, jalapeno and cucumber salad. Finish with a pinch of fresh mint.