While the grill has become your summertime best friend, your number one cooking companion on hot, muggy nights, there’s a world of laid-back recipes beyond those that require marinades, jerk rubs, and glazes. Besides, with so much summer fun going on – such as a relaxing dip in the pool or a pick-up game of backyard croquet – you might not have time to give the grill the attention it needs.
Don’t sweat it! Chilled soup recipes are as simple as it gets. Unlike hot soups, they don’t need to be served immediately and therefore fit in perfectly with the delightful atmosphere of a summer barbecue.
Plus, the vegetables in your summer garden are popping with all the colors of the local farmers’ market. You can put your own spin on farm-to-table dinning by using the veggies, fruits, and fresh herbs found in your summer garden to make chilled soups.
From your garden to your bowl, here are five great chilled soup recipes:
Originating in Andalucia, the southern-most province of Spain, gazpacho is probably the most popular chilled soup. It’s said that white gazpacho is older than the red soup widely known today, and that it was only when conquistadors brought tomatoes back from the Americas that the coloring changed. Gazpacho is a lot like a pureed salad, which makes it the perfect soup when the vegetables are weighing down the vines. The best part? A bowl of gazpacho is low in calories and high in flavor.
Summer Borscht (Cold Beet Soup)
Talk about color! This pinkish-red soup has a summery hue that won’t be forgotten. Originally from the Ukraine, Borscht is not only popular all over eastern Europe, but a staple at summer lunch parties. Borscht is better if it’s made well ahead – the sweet, earthy flavors from the beets have a greater depth the longer it’s chilled.
When you say you’re whipping up vichyssoise, chances are guests imagine a Great Gatsby-like party. The silky, elegant mixture of potatoes, leeks, onions and cream will send your taste buds on a delicious journey. While vichyssoise is traditionally served cold, it can also be eaten hot, so you can serve this recipe all year long.
Avocado, Radish, and Basil Soup
Most chilled soups are easy to make. You don’t need to be a Michelin-star chef to whip up a soup that goes from the blender to the bowl. It’s that simple elegance that makes avocado, radish, and basil soup such a special treat on a hot day. This healthy, no-cook soup is low in sodium and sugar and filled with healthy fats and vitamin C.
Chilled Zucchini Soup
If you have a vegetable garden, chances are it’s overflowing with fresh zucchini. Zucchini is nothing if not prolific, and unless you set up a roadside farmers’ market, you’re going to have a surplus by the end of the summer. The best way to use excess zucchini is to make a potluck-sized batch of chilled zucchini soup. Full of fresh flavors, the smooth, creamy soup is a summer favorite.