Robin's Healthy Take: Cold Soups for Hot Days


By the end of summer, I start to crave soup. But hot soup doesn’t sound appealing on a sweltering August afternoon. Check out my three favorite, and refreshing, cold soups. The first is my gazpacho, crammed with nutritious vegetables with an extra sweet flavor because I make it with grape tomatoes and canned fire-roasted tomatoes. The Mexican-inspired ceviche is a seafood soup that requires no stove-top cooking because the acid in the fresh lime juice actually cooks the shrimp and tilapia. It’s “Mexican-inspired” because I added jalapeno pepper, green chilies, chili powder, cumin and tortilla chips. It's a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. The last soup is a lightened-up version of vichyssoise. It’s lighter because I skip the step where you sauté leeks and garlic in butter or olive oil (or a combination) and I used half and half instead of heavy cream. The soup is still creamy and rich but isn't artery-clogging like the original.

Gazpacho with Fresh Basil

You can certainly make this soup with ripe beefsteak tomatoes – just make sure they’re vine-ripened so they boast their true sweetness. Classic gazpacho has cucumber but I love the flavor zucchini adds to my version.

Serves 4
20 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
2 (14.5-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium zucchini, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup minced white onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or garlic-flavored red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine grape tomatoes and fire-roasted tomatoes in a food processor and process until finely minced.  Transfer tomatoes to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes (and up to 24 hours).

Mexican Ceviche

Originally, I was going to make this soup with shrimp and crab but fresh lump crab meat was too expensive. Tilapia is a mild, white-fleshed fish and it works just as well for a fraction of the price.

Serves 4
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tilapia fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 3/4 cups Clamato juice or vegetable juice (like V-8)
4-ounce can minced green chilies
5 green onions, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup finely diced radishes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup tortilla chip pieces

Combine all ingredients but the tortilla chips in a large bowl.  Stir gently to combine.  Cover with plastic and chill 8 to 12 hours, until shrimp and tilapia are opaque.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with tortilla chips.

Vichyssoise With Yukons and Chives

Since this creamy potato soup needs to be chilled before serving, make sure you plan ahead. In fact, I like to make this soup up to 24 hours in advance and store it in the fridge until I’m ready. Add a quick side salad and dinner is served!

Serves 4
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 7 medium potatoes)

2 leeks, rinsed well and chopped (white and light green parts only)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine broth, potatoes, leeks, garlic and thyme in a large saucepan.  Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil.  Partially cover and boil 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.  Puree with an immersion blender or regular blender (when using a regular blender, work in batches to prevent spillover).  Remove from heat and stir in half and half and chives.  Transfer soup to a bowl and refrigerate until cold (at least 30 minutes).  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at

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