Recipes for cold soups: Thai green pea, cucumber avocado, gazpacho, parsnip pear

Here are four diverse recipes for delicious chilled soups, perfect for summertime entertaining.

Thai Green Pea Soup

Green curry sauce gives a spicy lift to this soup and the arugula balances the sweetness of the peas. A blender works best because it breaks down the pea skins, making a smooth puree.

30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped onions

5 ml (1 tsp) chopped ginger

125 ml (1/2 cup) diced Yukon gold potatoes

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) Thai green curry paste

1 l (4 cups) chicken stock

750 ml (3 cups) fresh or frozen peas

250 ml (1 cup) arugula

75 ml (1/3 cup) whipping cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Mint, for garnish

In a pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes or until softened. Add ginger and potatoes and saute for another 2 minutes or until potatoes are coated with oil. Add green curry paste and stir together.

Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until potatoes are softened. Add peas and arugula and cook until peas are softened, about 3 minutes. Add cream and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat, puree in batches in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Chill.

Serve in chilled mugs, garnished with mint.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: "The Flavour Principle: Enticing Your Senses With Food and Drink" by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol (HarperCollins Canada, 2013).


Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup

This soup is perfect for a hot summer day and the avocado gives it a wonderful creaminess. It requires no cooking and is vegetarian and gluten-free.

2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut in large chunks

1 small cucumber, cut in large chunks, reserving some thin slices for garnish

1 clove garlic

250 ml (1 cup) plain yogurt or coconut milk yogurt for a dairy-free option (approx)

50 ml (1/4 cup) fresh dill

50 ml (1/4 cup) cilantro

Juice of 2 limes

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. If you prefer a creamier texture, add more yogurt. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with cucumber slices.

Makes 3 or 4 servings.

Source: "Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting" by Joy McCarthy (Penguin Canada Books Inc., 2014).


Summer Lovin' Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a classic chilled soup, and although many variations have been developed, traditional Spanish gazpacho is made with tomatoes. This "raw" soup is vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.

5 or 6 ripe tomatoes, cut in chunks, or 1 can (796 ml/28 oz) whole tomatoes

1 sweet red pepper, cut in chunks

1/2 red onion

1/2 English cucumber, cut in chunks

2 cloves garlic

125 ml (1/2 cup) cilantro

50 ml (1/4 cup) fresh basil

50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

Parsley leaves, for garnish

50 ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped cucumber and red pepper, for garnish

Place all ingredients except garnishes in a blender or food processor. Process to your desired consistency (a few soft chunks are nice). Refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

Serve chilled with a garnish of parsley and a touch of finely chopped cucumber and red pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: "Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting" by Joy McCarthy (Penguin Canada Books Inc., 2014).


Cardamom Parsnip Pear Soup

Vegetable and fruit combine in this delicious soup and the garnish of hemp seeds adds a splash of protein. This soup can be served cold or hot. It is vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.

2 or 3 medium parsnips, peeled if not organic, cut in chunks

2 Bosc pears, peeled if not organic, cored and cut in chunks

750 ml to 1 l (3 to 4 cups) almond milk or water

5 to 10 ml (1 to 2 tsp) ground cardamom

Lots of freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt, to taste

175 ml (3/4 cup) hemp seeds, for garnish

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Place parsnips in a covered baking dish with 1 cm (1/2 inch) of water. Do the same in a separate dish with the pears. Bake, covered, until parsnips and pears are fork-tender. The pears will take about 35 minutes and the parsnips may take up to 1 hour.

Transfer pears, parsnips and any liquid from dish to a food processor or blender. Add almond milk and cardamom. Process until smooth. (Or transfer to a large saucepan and blend with an immersion blender.)

Transfer to a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat. Season with pepper and salt and chill for at least 2 hours. Garnish with hemp seeds.

Quick Method: If you are crunched for time and have a super-high-powered blender, place all ingredients except salt, pepper and hemp seeds in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with pepper and salt. Chill for at least 2 hours if you want cold soup or garnish with hemp seeds and serve immediately if you want hot soup.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: "Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting" by Joy McCarthy (Penguin Canada Books Inc., 2014).