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Pea Soup
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Chilled soups are one of those perfect summer dishes. Savory and refreshing, they can be smooth and sippable to serve in a glass or cup, or chunky for serving in bowls. They can be an appetizer, a light lunch, or part of an elegant dinner party. They are great for serving a crowd and are a surprising little mid-afternoon pick me up instead of a cup of iced tea or coffee.

But when you say chilled soup in summer, you are bound to get gazpacho. And let's be clear: There is not one thing wrong with gazpacho. But it has become a bit, shall we say, ubiquitous. A little basic. Even different versions like strawberry and watermelon are all the teeniest bit expected by now.

Which is to say, let's go beyond gazpacho this summer! Here are 4 of my favorite chilled summer soups to get you thinking outside the bowl: 


This chilled creamy potato leek soup is probably the second most famous of the cold soups out there but seems to have fallen out of favor. Which is a shame because it is a perfect dish. Vegetarian and gluten free, vichyssoise is both hearty and refreshing. While people tend to think of it as fancy dinner party fare, I love to make a batch and serve for lunch with crusty grilled bread for dunking. Try this recipe if you don't have one you love. 

Sweet Pea Soup

One of my go-to recipes for years has been this insanely easy soup, made with frozen sweet peas. It is the one I am most likely to serve at a cocktail party in little espresso cups. To make, put a bag of thawed frozen sweet peas in your blender, and add just enough water to come to the level of the peas, with the top layer of peas peeking their little cheeks above the level of the water. Blend for 2 minutes until super smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chilled with a dollop of crème fraiche and chopped celery leaves or parsley.

Tomato Soup

If you are bored with gazpacho, but still want a use for all of those garden tomatoes, make this slow-roasted tomato recipe, use an immersion blender to blend to a chunky consistency, then chill. Serve cold or room temperature with a garnish of sour cream and chopped fresh mint. Mint and tomato are excellent pals, and the combo will surprise and delight you and your guests.

Corn Soup

Sweet corn season means all kinds of corn recipes, and a favorite for me is a chilled corn soup. You can make nearly any version of a creamy corn soup and serve chilled, but I like this recipe. I puree the soup smooth and serve cold with a garnish of butter-fried corn niblets, a swirl of cream, or even popcorn.