We are big fans of a soup, but naturally, over the summer months, even our most beloved recipes tend to get shelved in favour of lighter salads until the nip steals back into the air in early autumn. However, our dual passions – summer and soup – need not be uneasy bedfellows after all; an ice-cold seasonal soup can cool us down as reliably as an ice lolly, all while packing in health benefits that the humble Twister cannot, alas, claim. Plus, if you’re entertaining, they make a brilliant make-ahead starter that is both delicious and good for you. We’ve rounded up four absolute classics that we’ll never tire of slurping through the hotter months.

Macedonian Tarrator

Olive Magazine
Macedonian Tarrator Copy

Macedonian Tarrator – otherwise known as chilled cucumber soup – is a popular dish in throughout the summer months, the flavour of the veg light and delicate while the mint, lemon and yogurt is zingy and refreshing. All of which makes it the ideal soup to cool yourself down with on a hot day. Serve with some sourdough and a salad for a perfect heatwave lunch. Find the recipe here.

José Pizarro’s Strawberry Gazpacho

Delicious Magazine
Jose? Pizarro’s Strawberry Gazpacho

Gazpacho is the ultimate cold summer soup, its transporting flavours delivering us straight to Mediterranean climes in a mere spoonful. We defer to the great José Pizarro on most things, but never more so than here; there are a million variants on the perfect gazpacho, but we can testify to the fact he’s got it nailed here – not least thanks to the surprisingly but highly rewarding addition of strawberries. He says, ‘It is undeniable that gazpacho is one of the star dishes of Andalusia. When I travelled to Malaga, I discovered that they add fruits such as grapes and melon to make it more nutritious and complex in flavour. Strawberry gazpacho sounds like an unusual incarnation of the traditional recipe, but the berries are very popular in Huelva, and the result is just terrific.’ Find the recipe here.

Basil Zucchini Soup

Love And Lemons
Basil Zucchini Soup

The mere scent of basil is a powerful thing, taking us straight to languid days spent in the Italian idylls that seem to have haunted our dreams with increasing insistence since the start of the pandemic. In fact, so potent is its distinctive smell that some even claim that a whiff can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. We can’t confirm or deny that, but we do know that it certainly lifts our spirits – as does this dreamy soup on a hot day. With leeks, garlic, hemp seeds, zucchini, miso, lemons and basil, it’s a real booster for your gut health too, as well as being a taste of distilled summer in a soup. And, as Love and Lemons points out, as with all soups, it’s best on day two, so do ensure that you make enough and eke it out over a couple of days. Ideal for making ahead when you have guests coming too. Find the recipe here.

Asparagus Vichyssoise Soup

Asparagus Vichyssoise Soup

We are yet to come across an Ottolenghi recipe we didn’t love, so perfectly does he balance flavour and texture. We could mine his archives every day of the year, but in the summer we are especially devoted to the way of eating as prescribed by the great man. We could happily wolf down his Asparagus Vichyssoise Soup served chilled every day from now to October – plus, as he says, it’s an excellent way to make use of asparagus once it’s past its best. He advises throwing in samphire for texture and salt, all of which is perfectly balanced by the gentle yogurt and the cream. Divine. Find the recipe here.

By Nancy Alsop
Updated July 2023