Nothing beats a bowl of chilled soup to refresh you on a sweltering summer day. Cold soup can be as varied as the produce at your local market. Venture beyond gazpacho, possibly the most familiar, and explore chilled soups made with fruits as well as vegetables. Using just one type, especially with fruit, produces rich, intense flavor. Mixing a variety of fruits or vegetables creates an intriguing, complex taste that also refreshes.

Cold summer soups can start a meal or make a snack. Poured into a portable mug, they make a great grab-and-go alternative to a smoothie. If you're serving an elegant dinner, ladle it into glass bowls for an appetizer. And if you're bringing the soup to a potluck picnic, store it in a thermos to keep it cold.

Once chilled, soup loses some of its flavor, so check the taste before serving and add more seasonings if it is bland. Cold soup also tastes best when consumed within two days. If the mixture separates during refrigeration, whirl the soup in a blender before serving.

Capitalize on the current flood of summer harvests with a cold vegetable soup. Simmer zucchini, green pepper and onion in just enough water to allow the vegetables to soften. Drain and place the vegetable mixture in a blender. Puree with a touch of parsley and dill, plus enough chicken broth to achieve a smooth soup. Chill and garnish with chopped dill and low-fat sour cream.

Who said gazpacho must be made with tomatoes? The following green gazpacho makes use of leafy greens and other vegetables in a tangy combination.

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Easy-to-Be Green Gazpacho

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Makes 5-2/3 cups or 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can (28 oz.) tomatillos, drained
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed baby spinach leaves
  • 12 cups packed romaine or other dark green lettuce leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 mild white onion, like Bermuda or Vidalia, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. canned diced green chilies
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 2 slices bread (crusts removed), cubed*
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Hot sauce to taste, if desired
  • 1/4 cup finely minced chives, for garnish

Directions

  1. Place first 10 ingredients in blender and pure until smooth. Add oil, lime juice, cumin, sugar and bread. Blend until smooth. Let mixture stand 2 minutes to allow bread to absorb liquid. Pure again until smooth. Season to taste with salt, hot sauce and more chilies and lime juice, if desired.
  2. Transfer to bowl or pitcher and chill until very cold.
  3. Before serving, check seasoning and add more, as desired. Garnish with chives, if desired, and serve.

    *Either white or soft whole-wheat bread can be used.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
97 calories,
4 g. fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat),
12 g. carbohydrate,
4 g. protein,
5 g. dietary fiber,
324 mg. sodium.
Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 Bread, 1 Vegetable, 1 Fat


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