Chilled Summer Soups

On a hot summer night, there is nothing more refreshing than a bowl of soup.

If that statement made you think, “Huh?” then clearly you haven’t discovered the delicious and refreshing world of chilled soup. Just as hot soups provide a comforting buffer from winter, chilled soups are a refreshing respite from the heat of summer. While chilled soups are often too light to be a full meal, we love them as a summer starter or side dish.

The most well-known chilled soup is gazpacho, a tomato-based blend of peppers, onions, cucumbers and a long list of other vegetables blended together and spiked with the vibrant acidity of vinegar or lemon. We love a spicy bowl of gazpacho, but when we’re the ones in charge of making a chilled soup we like to keep the recipe as simple as possible and the ingredient list short. It’s summer, after all, a season better spent relaxing outdoors than cooking elaborate meals inside.

Chilled Beet Soup is all about celebrating the sweet, earthy flavor and deep, vibrant color of beets. We use just a few other ingredients to perk up the flavor, including apple cider vinegar and dill, then let the beets speak for themselves. It’s a simpler version of borscht, minus the potatoes and long cooking time. Chilled Red Pepper Soup is a little more subtle, with the red pepper sneaking up on you along with a hint of cumin. Creamy yet light with amazing flavor, we’re often tempted to slurp this soup with a straw rather than bother with a spoon.

When there’s a pork tenderloin or steak on the grill, we like a bowl of chilled beet soup on the side. We serve the chilled red pepper soup with everything from a whole grilled chicken to grilled flank steak to seafood. Instead of serving the seafood on the side, try grilling shrimp or scallops and then throw them right into the bowl after the soup is served.

Chilled soups are most refreshing when chilled completely in the refrigerator (not just at room temperature) so plan to make them a few hours before serving.

Chilled Beet Soup Spiked with Dill and Vinegar

4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil**
  • 4 cups grated beets (peel the beets and cut off the top greens)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 3 cups water, or enough to just cover the grated beets
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns or 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, or more to taste


Heat olive oil in a pot then sauté grated beets and carrots for 3-5 minutes.

Add water and bring to boil. Add salt and pepper and bay leaf. Cover and reduce heat slightly and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat.

Remove the bay leaf. Add dill and vinegar. Chill completely before serving.

**For a variation, fry a few slices of bacon and use the bacon fat to sauté the beets and carrots instead of olive oil. Crumble the bacon on top of the soup as a garnish.

Chilled Creamy Red Pepper Soup


2 servings

  • 2 roasted red bell peppers
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup chilled chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Sea salt to taste


You can buy roasted red peppers or buy raw red peppers and roast them yourself.

To roast the red peppers: If you have a gas stove, place the whole pepper over the flame. The peppers can also be blackened on a grill or under a broiler. Turn as each side of the pepper blackens. Place the blackened pepper in a plastic bag or a covered container to steam briefly (so the skin is easier to remove) then rub off the blackened skin. Cut the pepper open and run under water to remove all the remaining skin and seeds.

Puree the roasted peppers in the blender with the coconut milk, chicken stock and cumin until smooth. Add sea salt to taste. Chill completely before serving.

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29 thoughts on “Chilled Summer Soups”

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  1. I don’t believe I have ever enjoyed a chilled soup. That may change oh so soon! Neat way to roast a red bell pepper too. I may have to try that down the road whenI have access to a gas stove.

  2. I so LOVE gazpacho – and you almost can’t make it wrong! Use just about any veggies in your house. Too yummy. And I’m also looking forward to making that red pepper soup.

    1. I would love gazpacho too if there weren’t so many peppers in it. So not a fan. Amazingly, many of the soups I have come across that are served chilled have some pepper in them.

  3. looks delicious! Anybody have an idea of how many average sized beats go into 4 cups shredded?

  4. Make sure if you prepare your own chicken stock to strain out the fat because it will make some nasty hard blobs in your chilled pepper soup. I love making chicken soup with loads of fat when it is hot, but a chilled soup wouldn’t work so well with homemade fatty chicken broth.

    1. Couldn’t you heat it up to get it properly blended and then cool it?

  5. Mark:

    Great recipes. Will try.

    Counting carbs as I am these days, I looked on Fitday for the numbers. There’s something there I don’t quite understand. It says that in 1 cup of RAW beets, there are 13g carb and 59 calories, and that in 1 cup of COOKED beets, there are 17g carbs and 108 calories.

    I looked on another site – Daily Burn. I saw two different entries for 1 cup of fresh, cooked beets. One says 8g carb/39 calories; the other says 17g carb/74 calories.

    Bizarre. I’m guessing some of the discrepancy comes from how tightly packed the beets are in the 1 cup measure. Seems like shredded beats would pack more tightly than diced or chunks. The more tightly packed, the more beets, and the higher the count.

    Which shows you that real accuracy comes from weight. I like knowing how many grams of carb are in 1 oz of something, so I can weigh the portion and multiply grams per oz by number of oz.

    Of course, stuff like this only matters when one is being meticulous, as I am now, but not forever.

    Wondering what you think of these differences.

    Thanks. Nice post.


    1. I think the differences are due to the amount of soft, mushy cooked beets are likely to fill a one cup measure vs. the raw shredded or diced … just as you guessed. When possible, I prefer to use weight as well.

      I used fitday numbers as a learning tool – the numbers as a guide, to help me learn the relative micro-nutrient breakdowns of my favorite foods – sometimes I was really surprised! At best you are using that data to approximate your caloric intake anyway – it’s not exact. Your best data comes from how your body responds to your diet.

    2. The difference between fresh and cooked produce is that the cooking process concentrates the vegetable or fruit so that the volume is smaller after being cooked. Fresh produce is mostly water and I suspect that some is removed during the cooking process. Spinach is an obvious example – it really cooks down a lot so a lot more spinach fits in a cup than when fresh and therefor more carbs for a cup of cooked spinach than for a cup of raw spinach.

  6. Both soups look fantastic. Can’t wait to try them out. Not today – it’s back to rain and chilly temps.

  7. This one is getting made tomorrow — perfect timing. I was craving something chilled and liquid, and never considered gazpacho. Just picked up a slew of great looking peppers at the market, too.

  8. That looks really good :). I love soups, summer or winter. It looks like it’s very easy to make, which is totally my kind of thing. Thank’s Mark

  9. Nooo don’t rinse roasted peppers. All that flavor is going down the drain.

    1. Right on! Sometimes getting the blackened, roasted skin completely off the peppers isn’t too easy, BUT there’s a lot of flavor in whatever little bits of roasted skin are left on. And there-in lies the PB secret to roasted peppers!

      I put the totally roasted pepper in a brown paper bag for 20 minutes or so (plastic bags work, too, but don’t know how Grok would have handled it) — the trick is to steam the pepper so the skin comes off easily. Then peel off what you can by hand and use a fork or dull knife to scrape off the rest of the bits of blackened skin – assuming you don’t want that in your recipe. The blackened skin can be tough and bitter.

      Good grief – don’t rinse the thing under water – all the flavor goes down the drain as was so wisely mentioned above! You’d be better off just wiping it down with a paper napkin if it’s that important.

      Leave some of those little bits in and if they give you trouble, just spit them out when eating them. I seriously think Grok would be spitting out anything like a bit of roasted pepper skin, but so be it—

  10. Although it’s not terribly Primal, I used to love when my dad made vichyssoise. I can still taste it…mmmm. Found a great recipe for sweet potato vichyssoise–can’t wait to try it!

  11. Here’s how I do roasted red peppers: set the o end to 400°. Put red peppers in a glass baking dish and pour in cold water 1/2 inch deep. Bake the peppers for 30 min, then turn over to expose the other side. Bake for another 30 min. The peppers will be blackened but not sorched. When they Coll down, peel the skin off, and save the juice in the pan.

  12. google “ajo blanco” chilled spanish almond/garlic soup.

    Bon Appetite! John

  13. Ah, I really thought I would like the latter recipe, but I made it and it had the consistency of orange juice with pulp, which isn’t a texture I care for. I also didn’t really like the “chilled” part of it. After trying it out the normal way, I compromised and ran it through a strainer and heated it up in a pot. After that, five stars! 😀 Haha, I guess it’s just not my cup of tea–err, soup.

  14. Ooooh! Butternut squash soup! Roast or steam the squash, blend it with chicken stock and half and half or real cream to a consistency you like, and a Tbsp or two of butter. Add a pinch of salt and white pepper, a little lemon or lime juice and blend again, helps to emulsify any fatty globs, add a dash of secret ingredient (nutmeg, very very sparingly…it’s SECRET). And chill. Blend it again before serving if you like, but I’ve never had it separate out. Can be frozen for storage. Good hot, lukewarm, room temp, or chilled.

  15. Oh, these sound good. But more importantly, they’ve reminded me that it’s time to make a batch of my favorite watermelon/cucumber soup!

  16. So, I made the roasted red pepper soup. Thanks for the recipe. It was really easy. I spiced it up with a little lime, ginger and cilantro for a brighter taste. I love how all of these recipes keep inspiring me to make my own. They can be so simple but so good.

  17. I just made the Red Pepper soup and added a grilled chicken breast after cooling it. AMAZING!!!!!!

  18. Just bought a beautiful bunch of beets from the farmer’s market – now I know what I’ll bet doing with them!