Chill Out With Cold Soups This Summer

Take a break from salad and get your veggies in using one of these refreshing recipes

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A bowl of Cold Carrot Ginger Soup with Toasted Pepitas
Chilled Carrot Ginger Soup With Toasted Pepitas
Photo: Stephanie Clarke

We’ve probably all heard of gazpacho, but there’s a world of cold soups out there just waiting to excite your tastebuds this summer. These three recipes, which you can easily whip up in a blender, are not only nutrient-rich but also offer an alternative to salad as a way to get in a serving or two of veggies on a warm day.  

Each of these recipes has its own set of healthy perks and unique flavors.

• The carrot ginger soup, with its mildly sweet flavor and just the right kick of ginger, tastes great chilled, at room temperature, or even warm if you’re in the mood. Carrots are loaded with beta carotene, an important antioxidant, while ginger offers digestive benefits. Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) provide delicious crunch and healthy fats, and are a good source of magnesium and zinc.

More on Healthy Cooking

• The corn and crab soup is best made with summer fresh corn. Corn is more than just a starchy vegetable. Its nutritional highlights include fiber, B vitamins, and blood-pressure-lowering potassium. The yellow color comes from lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that play a role in healthy vision. And the crab is a lean source of protein.

• The combination of avocado and tangy yogurt makes the Green Goddess soup creamy and refreshing. It features summer herbs like mint, tarragon, and parsley in addition to cool cucumber, which provides digestion-aiding fiber along with vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and some antioxidants. Avocado is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and lutein and zeaxanthin, and the Greek yogurt offers protein and calcium.

The recipes all include substitutions to make them vegan. We tested both versions, and they are equally delicious. The recipes make about 3 cups of soup, enough for four people as an appetizer (¾-cup serving) or for two as a light meal.

Carrot Ginger Soup With Toasted Pepitas

(shown at top)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1½ pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, minced or pressed
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth 
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or agave  
2 tablespoons plain yogurt or nondairy yogurt
¼ cup pepitas
2 to 4 fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons for garnish

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring intermittently. Add the carrots and continue to cook until carrots are coated in oil and just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute more or until just fragrant. Add the broth. Bring the mixture to a low boil. Turn the heat down and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender.

3. Remove the soup from heat and let cool. Stir in the lemon juice and honey. Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender and pureé until it reaches your desired consistency; you can leave it a little bit chunky or blend until smooth. Alternatively, use a hand blender (immersion blender) to pureé the soup in the pot.

4. Refrigerate the soup in a covered container for 2 hours before serving cold, or up to 2 days. (The soup may separate a little in the refrigerator, but stirring it gently will combine it again.)

5. When ready to serve, toast the pepitas by heating them in a dry frying pan in an even layer over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until fragrant. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the yogurt and pepitas.

Makes 3 cups

Nutritional information per ¾ cup soup: 295 calories, 18 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 26 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 11 g sugars (5 g added), 12 g protein, 200 mg sodium

Sweet Corn Soup With Crab

Make this recipe vegan by using a vegan buttermilk and replacing the crab with sliced radishes or roasted chickpeas.

Cold Sweet Corn Soup with Crab in bowl

Photo: Stephanie Clarke Photo: Stephanie Clarke

4 cups fresh corn kernels, uncooked (about 5 ears of corn on the cob)
1½ cups buttermilk or vegan buttermilk (see note below)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, white and 1-inch of the green stem, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 ounces fresh cooked (or canned) lump or snow crab meat
1 avocado, chopped

Directions

1. Add 3 cups of the corn kernels, buttermilk, garlic, scallion, 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, salt, and chipotle pepper to a blender. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes.

2. Pour the soup into a covered container and stir in the remaining 1 cup corn kernels. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

3. When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with 1 ounce of crab meat, chopped avocado, and remaining cilantro.

Note: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand or don’t want to buy it for this one recipe, you can make it yourself: Mix 1½ cups milk (dairy or unflavored plant-based) with 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or lemon juice.

Makes 3 cups

Nutrition information per ¾ cup soup: 226 calories, 8 g fat, 1/5 g saturated fat, 31 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 12 g sugars (0 g added), 13 g protein, 370 mg sodium

Green Goddess Soup

The addition of garlic toast makes this dish a fun play on the ubiquitous avocado toast, but you can skip the bread if you prefer.

Cold Green Goddess Soup in bowl

Photo: Stephanie Clarke Photo: Stephanie Clarke

For the soup
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
⅔ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt or nondairy sour cream
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons parsley
1 tablespoon tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh mint
½ teaspoon salt

For the garlic toast 
4 5-inch slices fresh baguette or Italian bread
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch salt
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

1. Place all soup ingredients into a blender. Process until well-blended and smooth. Chill in a covered container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or up to 2 days.

2. Just before you’re ready to serve, toast the bread for the garlic toast. Mix the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper flakes (if using) in a small cup. Brush the oil mixture over each slice of toast. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the garlic toast.

Makes 3 cups

Nutrition information per ¾ cup soup: 106 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 7 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 5 g sugars (0 g added), 7 g protein, 190 mg sodium

Nutrition information per 1 slice garlic toast: 102 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugars (0 g added), 3 g protein, 180 mg sodium

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Stephanie Clarke RD

Stephanie Clarke

Stephanie Clarke, RD, is the founder of C&J Nutrition, a nutrition consulting, communications, and workplace wellness company. She lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs of Maryland with her husband and two young daughters.