Summer is just getting started, which means there will be plenty of days and nights ahead when it is just too hot to cook. The solution? These delectable cold soups!
“Velvety cold soups are perfect for summertime entertaining!” says Candice Kumai, aka “The Stiletto Chef,” a former Top Chef contestant whose upcoming book Cook Yourself Sexy (Rodale) will be out next October. “You can also add all kinds of fresh summer veggies and get the best nutrient content from them as you are not cooking them down with heat,” she says. “You’re simply just blending ingredients together, seasoning and serving up cold.”
Natural foods chef and educator Andrea Beaman, another former Top Chef contestant, agrees. “I recommend serving cold soups in the middle of the day, at lunchtime, when the sweltering heat is at its highest,” she says.
We have some great recipes for you to try, including a delicious dessert soup, but first, a few tips from our chefs on preparing and serving healthy cold soups:
– Go for watery veggies and fruits. Kumai recommends cucumbers, celery and tomatoes. Beaman agrees: “The more watery the fruit or vegetable the better,” she says. “If the fruit or vegetable is filled with its own liquid, that means you don’t have to add extra water for preparing the soup. The liquid that comes from those fruits and veggies is bursting with flavor.”
– You don’t need cream or lots of oil for flavor! “For more flavor, add in roasted red peppers or your favorite fresh herbs like basil, dill or top off with a light and fresh finishing salt like Maldon,” says Beaman.
– Cold soups are perfect for summer entertaining. “Think about when your guests arrive at an outdoor BBQ or event,” says Kumai. “Pour the soup up into small mason jars with paper straws or even martini glasses garnished with a bit of fresh dill!”
Andrea Beaman’s Chillin’ Gazpacho Soup
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 pound tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup water, veggie stock or tomato juice
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine or sherry vinegar
Working in batches, pulse cucumbers, pepper, shallot, garlic and tomatoes in a food processor or blender until you reach desired consistency (smooth or chunky). Combine with water or tomato juice and olive oil.
Season with sea salt, black pepper and vinegar. Chill for at least 1-2 hours.
Andrea Beaman’s Creamy Corn Soup with Roasted Red Peppers
5-6 cups water
5-6 corn cobs with kernels
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 leek (white part only), or 1 small onion, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon cilantro minced
1 tablespoon roasted red peppers, diced
Place the corn cobs into a pot with 5-6 cups of water and one teaspoon sea salt. Cook on high heat for 10-15 minutes. Remove cobs from the water (reserve the water). After cobs cool, remove kernels from cob. Discard the cobs.
In a soup pot or deep frying pan, saute onion or leek 2-3 minutes. Add corn kernels and continue cooking 2-3 minutes. Remove onion and corn and puree in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Combine pureed onion and corn plus reserved corn cooking water (4 cups) in a soup pot. Season with salt if needed.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and chill in refrigerator. Before serving, garnish with roasted red peppers (below) and cilantro.
Roasted Red Pepper:
1 red bell pepper
Place pepper directly on top of the flame on the stovetop or outdoor grill. After a few moments it will begin to burn. Turn the pepper so it blackens on all sides. Remove the pepper from the heat and place inside a brown paper bag. Let it sit for a couple of hours inside the bag to infuse that smoky charred flavor into the flesh of the pepper.
After a few hours, peel off the charred skin and discard. Discard the seeds, too. Dice the pepper and combine with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and black pepper. Store in an airtight jar or container, and use to garnish your corn soup.
Candice Kumai’s Cold Cucumber Avocado Soup
1 Haas or English cucumber (seedless), chopped
1 ripe avocado, cubed
1/4 large red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh dill
4 teaspoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/4 cups cold water
In a large food processor, combine the chopped cucumber, avocado, red onion, Greek yogurt, dill, lime juice and sea salt for 30 seconds to combine.
Stream in the cold water and blend until smooth.
Chill for 30 minutes or serve immediately with a sprig of dill to garnish.
Hint: Get smarter about that cooking and leave the cucumber skin on. It gives you extra nutrients and your soup a vibrant green color!
Candice Kumai’s Blackberry Sweet Red Wine Granita
This simple, elegant dessert can be whipped together any time of year. The blackberries blend perfectly with the sweet red wine to make an easy, fresh frozen treat that’s much lower in fat than ice cream!
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1/2 cup water
1 cup sweet red wine
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice from half a lime
Place all the ingredients in the pitcher of a blender. Blend on high until well combined and strain through a fine strainer into a 8×8 or 9×9 pan.
Place the pan in the freezer and freeze for 2 hours. Take the pan out of the freezer and scrape with a fork to form light ice crystals (the texture will be a bit like a snow cone).
Place back in the freezer and scrape with a fork every hour until fully frozen. Cover with plastic when frozen until ready to serve.