Recipes: Turn vegetables from your garden into refreshing summer soups

Makes 4 servings

This creamy but creamless carrot soup is a riff on an Alice Waters recipe. The sweetness of carrots is grounded in onion shallot and herb cilantro, and boldly accented with fragrant cilantro, lemony lime and spicy chiles. For a colorful and aromatic twist, we make a simple relish-like garnish with some of the same ingredients in the soup, then drizzle individual bowls with olive oil to add fruity richness.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1½ pounds carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro stems, plus 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped, reserved separately

1 teaspoon grated lime zest, plus 2 teaspoons lime juice

1-2 Fresno or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced; shared use

1 large shallot, chopped; shared use

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Sour cream or Mexican cream, optional, for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat the oil until it simmers. Add the carrots, cilantro stems, lime zest, half the chili pepper(s), half the shallot, cilantro and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the shallot is translucent, 2 to 4 minutes. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil, then cook uncovered and stir occasionally, until carrots are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining chile, remaining shallot, cilantro leaves and lime juice; season with salt and pepper, then set aside until ready to serve.

Using a blender, purée the soup until smooth, then return it to the saucepan. Dilute to desired consistency with water, then season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, then garnish with the cilantro mixture, a drizzle of additional oil, and sour cream or Mexican cream, if using.

Polish chilled beetroot soup (chlodnik).Connie Miller/of CB Creatives

Polish cold beetroot soup (Chlodnik)

Makes 4 servings

For our version of chlodnik, we start by cooking raw beets, then add pickled beets later for a quick and easy kick of sweetness and tartness. To offset the earthy beet flavor and striking crimson hue, we top the soup with a mixture of grated radishes and cucumbers — which we’ve salted, for a firmer texture — along with pickled beets, dill and lemon juice.

Pureed with ice, the soup can be on the table in about an hour, but it can also be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a day before serving. The flavor improves as it rests.

Be sure to peel the beets before cooking. The skins can taste bitter and cloud the color of the soup.

1¾ pounds red beets, peeled and thinly sliced

¼ cup cider vinegar

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 bunch of radishes, grated on the large holes of a box grater (1½ cups)

1 small English cucumber, halved, seeded and grated on the large holes of a box grater (1½ cups)

¾ cup sliced ​​pickled beets, drained, finely chopped, plus ¼ cup pickled beet juice

3 tbsp plus ¼ cup fresh dill leaves, chopped

5 tablespoons lemon juice, divided

2 cups of ice cream

Plain whole milk yogurt or sour cream, for serving

¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 liters of water, the beets, vinegar, 2 tablespoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper to a boil. Cook, adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the beets are tender, 30 to 60 minutes (time depends on thickness of slices and age of beets). Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

While the beets cook, wrap the radishes and cucumber in a kitchen towel and squeeze out any moisture. In a medium bowl, combine radish and cucumber mixture, pickled beets, 3 tbsp dill, 2 tbsp lemon juice, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.

Using a slotted spoon, add half of the cooked beets to a blender, along with 1 cup of their cooking liquid, ½ cup of the pickled beet mixture and half of the ice. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining cooked beets, 1 cup of the cooking liquid, ½ cup of the remaining pickled beet mixture and the remaining ice.

To the mash, add 1 cup of the remaining beet cooking liquid (discard the rest), the pickled beet juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine, then taste and season with salt.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of yogurt and the rest of the pickled beet mixture. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup dill, chives and pepper.

Zucchini and green chili soup

Makes 4 servings

This simple pureed soup is rich and creamy but contains no dairy. Rather, the velvety consistency comes from zucchini cooked until completely tender and roasted pumpkin seeds simmered then pureed with the soup ingredients. To toast the pumpkin seeds, place them in a small skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant.

Don’t be afraid of the heat when cooking zucchini – putting the slices in steaming oil helps them brown quickly. The goal is to fully tenderize the vegetables so they turn into a smooth puree, and to do this as quickly as possible so they retain their fresh flavors.

While the soup is blended, be sure to finely chop the poblano pepper so the pieces are completely softened by the time the zucchini is tender. A conventional blender, not an immersion blender, is the best choice for pureeing this soup.

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other neutral oil

3 medium zucchini (about 1½ pounds), halved and thinly sliced

1 large poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh oregano

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Diced ripe avocado, to serve

Tortilla chips, crumbled, to serve

Lime wedges, for serving

Crumbled queso fresco or hot sauce or both, optional, for serving

In a large Dutch oven over high heat, heat oil until just smoking. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring once or twice, until beginning to brown. Add the poblano, oregano, ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, all but 2 tablespoons green onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until poblano is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon pepper, bring to a boil, then cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is just tender, about 4 minutes. Cool uncovered for about 5 minutes.

Using a blender, puree in batches until smooth. Return soup to saucepan and reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve sprinkled with remaining scallions, remaining pumpkin seeds, avocado, tortilla chips and, if using, queso fresco and/or hot sauce. Offer lime wedges on the side.


Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television broadcasts. Globe readers get 12 weeks of full digital access, plus two issues of the print magazine Milk Street, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send your comments to [email protected]

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