When you think about summer food, you think burgers; you think salads, skewers, and char-grilled corn. No matter how you list your ideal summer nosh, it’s highly unlikely that soup makes the cut.
Last week I was put onto a project where I had to create a compilation of different gazpachos and chilled soups. Now I’ll be honest – the first time I’d ever heard about cold soup I crinkled my nose. Soup, as I’d known it throughout my entire life, was to warm your body and heal your soul. Soup was made to curl up with on a chilly day while wearing wool socks and a flannel shirt. I couldn’t fathom the idea of eating it to cool myself down from the beating sun. The fact that I’ve always had a strange aversion to cold food that should be heated didn’t help, either. Unwrapping leftovers prior to reheating them has always made me squeamish.
However, while doing my research, I grew more and more intrigued with this whole “chilled soup” thing. There are some gorgeous recipes out there and those writing about them are pretty darn keen on them.
Low an behold, this past weekend, I decided to give it a whirl.
In the words of Cyril Figgis… Jeezy Petes. The result was a winner; a super nourishing crisp and cool soup that invigorates you and gives your body all of the nutrition it craves on a scorching summer day.
Most gazpachos have a tomato base, but I went green. I used up some zucchini, the leftovers of a bell pepper, some scallions and fresh mint. Even after the initial spoonful, squeamish me wasn’t weirded out at all. This just works.
Another element of the classic gazpacho that I decided to forego was the bread. Typically, a few chunks of bread are added during the blending process in order to help thicken the soup. I used chickpeas instead and they worked wonderfully! Why add carbs where they aren’t needed, right? Plus, chickpeas are a great source of protein. Win!
To add some texture to an otherwise smooth and velvety puree, I garnished the soup with some diced zucchini, sliced Easter egg radishes, toasted walnuts and microgreens.
I feel I must add that the toasted walnuts are a must – not because the soup is lacking without them, but because they are so friggin’ good.
- 1 lb zucchini, roughly chopped
- 1 oz of sliced scallions
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 oz sweet bell pepper red, orange or yellow, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1 radish, sliced thin then julienned
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
SOUPCombine all of the soup ingredients into a blender and blend until you have a smooth puree. If you prefer a chunkier soup, pulse until you reach your preferred consistency.
Transfer to a container and chill in the fridge for one hour.
When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish as desired.