Warm weather doesn’t mean you put comforting foods like soup on the back burner. There are a variety of soups that are hearty, healthy, and refreshing. Summer soups are especially great for vegetarians, since they usually don’t involve any meat (you can substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock in any recipe). Two brands of store bought vegetable broth, I find full of flavor are Imagine and Pacific.

Soups are very easy to digest and a large pot of soup is a very affordable way to feed a family or a group of people. Soup stretches a little meat a long way.

Soup is easy to make and it is a complete one-pot meal with minimal effort and minimal clean up.
It is a quick meal for any time of the day. Simply heat and eat. Soup is also an easy lunch to take to work.

Here are some suggestions to try and they are probably soups you have eaten in the past.
1) Gazpacho
Gazpacho is a chunky vegetable soup popular in Spain. You can make it with tomato, which is the most common, or with radishes or watermelon.
2) Sweet Fruit Soups
Using yogurt, you can create a chilled melon soup or a strawberry orange soup. Using lemon juice and sparkling wine, you can create sparkling pineapple soup.
3) Vegetable soups
Avocados, potatoes, spinach, carrots, asparagus, and fennel can all be the star ingredient of a summer soup. Many can be chilled and served that way.

The abundance of summer local vegetables are perfect for soups and are a delicious way to use up this bounty. Whether you’re using fruits, vegetables, or a combination of both, you’re likely to come across some interesting flavors you haven’t experienced before. Spicing your summer soups up with cayenne, cinnamon, pepper, and garlic will add to the number of unique combinations you have available to enjoy.

Following are some summertime soup recipes that you might not have had before.

Golden Summer Squash & Corn Soup      

4 servings, scant 1 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 medium summer squash, (about 1 pound), diced
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme or oregano, divided
  • 1- 14-15 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels, (from 1 large ear; see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add squash and 1 teaspoon herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash starts to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add broth and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft and mostly translucent, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return the soup to the pan and stir in corn. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice. Serve garnished with the remaining 2 teaspoons herbs and cheese.

Tip: To remove corn from the cob, stand an uncooked ear of corn on its stem end in a shallow bowl and slice the kernels off with a sharp, thin-bladed knife. If making a soup, after cutting off the kernels, you can reverse the knife and use the dull side to press down the length of the ear to push out the rest of the corn and its milk.

Cold Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until almost smooth, or until desired consistency is reached.
Transfer to a large saucepan and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
This quick and easy tomato soup is delicious hot or cold. Makes four servings.

Meatball and Zucchini Soup

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-32 oz carton low sodium chicken or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons long grain rice
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • Meatballs, recipe below
Directions:
 

In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil and brown meatballs on all sides. Add onion, oregano, broth, and rice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until rice is tender (about 25 minutes).Add zucchini and cook, uncovered, until just tender (4 to 6 minutes). Season to taste with salt and serve.

Meatballs

  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 pound ground lean beef or turkey or chicken
  • fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

In a medium bowl, beat egg. Mix in salt, garlic, pepper, and bread crumbs. Lightly mix in meat. Shape into 3/4-inch meatballs.

Fresh Summer Minestrone

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried white beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 pound new or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 small carrots, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from about 1 medium ear of corn)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 ounces spinach leaves, trimmed and sliced into thin strips (2 cups)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 heaping tablespoons mixed minced herbs such as basil, marjoram or oregano, thyme and flat-leaf parsley
  • dash of crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Bring 3 cups water to boil. in a saucepan or kettle

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add beans and boiling water; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes.

Add potato and carrot; continue to cook, covered, until beans are tender, about 40 minutes more.

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop tomatoes into water and boil 30 seconds; drain, peel, seed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

When beans are tender, add tomato, corn, peas and spinach; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or room temperature, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with herbs and extra pepper.

Chicken & Barley Soup          

Makes 4 servings, about 2 cups each

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large bone-in chicken breast (10-12 ounces), skin removed, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups diced plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup trimmed and diagonally sliced asparagus (¼ inch thick)
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1 strip orange zest (1/2 by 2 inches)

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Grate or finely chop 1 clove garlic; add to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, chicken and barley. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. Return the broth to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, shred the chicken or cut into bite-size pieces; discard the bone.

3. When the barley is done, add the chicken, tomatoes,, asparagus, peas, salt and a grinding of pepper; return to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes more.

4. Coarsely chop the remaining garlic clove. Gather basil, orange zest and the garlic and finely chop together. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with a generous pinch of the basil mixture.

Seafood Chowder                                                                                                                 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound white fish ( ex. haddock, cod, grouper), cut into small pieces
  • 1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp, cut into thirds
  • 1 1/2 cups water or fish stock or clam broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 pound peeled, diced Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons flour (Wondra is good for sauces)
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Chopped parsley and basil

Directions:

Heat oil in a soup pot and add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook gently. Add the garlic, potato, corn and coat in the fat.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir well, simply stir Wondra into the cold broth and whisk into the soup.
Gradually add the fish stock, stirring all the time until flour is dissolved. Cook at a simmer for about 25 minutes.
Add the fish and shrimp and cook for 5 mins.
Warm the milk and butter  in a glass measuring cup in the microwave and pour very slowly into the soup when the potatoes are soft. Top each bowl with some chopped herbs.

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