May 20, 2009

Summer vegetable soup recipe

Soup is the primary comfort food, the product of cuisine and Nature combined to nourish the soul. Bisques, broths, vellutatas, chowders, bouillons – whatever.

I love to make and consume large quantities of soup. It's my weakness, perhaps more so than chocolate. My family and regular guest have been raised on my borscht, my Asian egg drop soups. I express myself at best equally on miso and barley Scotch broth. 

Over the years the people I cook for have demanded I constantly update my soup recipes, introducing new ideas and flavors in their bowls.

summer vegetable soup

I personally make soup year round, regardless of season and temperature. A ton of gold tortellini swimming in hot clear chicken consommé can restore peace and heal the deepest of wounds, whatever the climate.

Cold winter nights call for liquid nourishment, so a steaming cup of lentil zuppa can uplift spirits and turn a simple dinner gathering into a festival of laughter. By the same token in summer, a chilled bowl of minestrone or gazpacho, a mug of vichyssoise, or a room temperature cup of thick Pasta e Ceci can be of great solace in times of heat distress.

Here's the recipe for a summer remedy tested to replete perspired souls, the failsafe vellutata fredda, summer vegetable cream.

In Rome it can get fiercely hot in the summer. The humidity level is equal to a Turkish hammam and your brain feels (and therefore acts) like a gelatinous inert blob. This cool, refreshing and revitalizing soup is ideal when it's 40° C (104° F) out and sloth has completely overtaken control of limbs.

Do what you must to drag yourself to the kitchen and assemble:

100 g (1/2 cup) zucchini, roughly cut
30 g (1 oz) peas
50 g (1/4 cup) carrots, roughly cut
6 asparagus spears, tails removed
50 g (1/4 cup) whole wheat bread, crusts removed
200 g (1 cup) yogurt
Extra virgin olive oil
2 bunches of fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil all the vegetables until fork soft, save the asparagus tips and whir the rest in the blender with the yogurt. Stir in the oil, salt and pepper, and the basil leaves. Refrigerate and serve chilled in small bowls garnished with asparagus tips and whole wheat dry toasted croutons.

Save for the yogurt and croutons, this recipe works for both the vegan and the gluten intolerant. Yields 4 servings.


  1. Mmmmm - I'm going to make that cool soup. I actually have the ingredients, including fresh asparagus in my garden and some nice yogurt in the fridge. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Oh, this looks SPLENDID! I will have to make this pronto, because we're getting weather in the 80s this week, which for us in Michigan is HOT. I love cold vegetable soups in the summer.

    Like you, I find soup to be the world's best comfort food.

  3. This sounds quite easy too. I like the idea of chilling the soup.

    I bet children love soup and pasta dishes. It spells MOther.

  4. Whenever I eat soup I always feel as though I am taking special care of myself. Comfort.

  5. This is something I'll definitely try. We're big on soups in our house! I got myself a hand-held blender a few months ago. Best thing I ever did. :)

  6. Sounds and looks fabulous - must however get my wife to look at the recipe and we can takle it together- yummy!
    Best wishes ~ Eddie

  7. This looks wonderfully refreshing: a delicious spring tonic! Thanks for this inspired turn on pasta primavera.

  8. while i love soup, i have never had it cold. maybe we will try it yet. happy thursday!

  9. Mmmmm, Mz. Chica. This sounds very refreshing.

    I remember the first time I had Vichyssoise. I didn't know it was served cold and I almost spit it out. Hey, I was a hick kid in the big city for the first time.

  10. Lola soup is probably my favourite food too. I love all kinds.

    I love you deeply. Very deeply. I think you are stunning and I think that you have the best pictures of food and stories about food that I have ever read.

    Love Renee xoxo

  11. Very refreshing and healthy! Yummm :)

  12. soup glorious soup nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.... words stolen and only changed slightly to accomodate post!!

  13. Wonderful--I think everyone in my family, quirky food issues and all, would like this. I know I would. I like the basil and asparagus especially.

    You're such a good food writer, Lola. "Do what you must to drag yourself to the kitche..." !!

    Today I dreamed I was spending a year in Rome!! What do you think it means!

  14. I'll have to make this now rather than wait for summer. I don't think that I'll find asparagus in August in Positano. And my husband is a soup-a-holic too so he'd really appreciate this!

  15. Sounds incredible.

    I need to make some cold soups this summer. In the past I've only made soups during the winter.

  16. It looks absolutely gorgeous, I wonder if it can be eaten hot? It's pouring down here!

  17. Buon giorno! I will surely be trying out this soup recipe sometime this summer.

    By the way, the gnocchi went well. I still need to work on my flour:potato ratio, but that is personal. The sauteed basil gave the sauce this incredible pipe-tobacco taste and the smoked cheese added to the smokey/earthy flavor profile. Anyone can bake pasta, sauce and cheese together, but ever since Sorrento, I've been looking for that "something more". Thanks again for your insider Italian recipes!

  18. I am such a fan of soup BUT I have never had chilled soup. Never. It scares me.

  19. I triple love soup, but have never had chilled soup before. Just seems wrong. You make it look delicious though.

  20. I have been getting more into chilled soups this year, and this one is definitely going on my list of soups to try :)