Here are two different cold soups: a smoky red pepper soup with Moroccan spices and a tangy yogurt soup with finely chopped cucumbers and tomatoes.
Chilled Moroccan Red Pepper Soup
This makes 5 cups of soup (40 ounces), which is all I need and, frankly, all my blender can handle. If you need more, you will next to make another batch (or use a larger capacity blender). How many does this serve? According to the Cheat Sheet from Cooking for Crowds for Dummies, a first course serving of soup is one cup (8 ounces) and an entree serving is 1 1/2-2 cups (12-16 ounces). Going by that, this recipe is enough for three entree servings or 5 first course servings. If you serve this in small chilled glasses as a “soup shooter” (Trendy! Take a look at these pictures . . .), then you will get many more servings, the amount depending of course on the size of the glass. If you serve the soup in 2 ounce shot glasses, you should get 20 servings. If you serve it in 6 ounce cups, you will get about 7 servings.
- 24 ounce jar roasted red bell peppers (or 3 red bell peppers, roasted, seeded and peeled)
- 1 Tbl. tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained (to cut down on the saltiness, rinse them well, too)
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper (or more, to taste)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp. coriander, optional
- juice 1 lemon, or juice half lemon plus juice of 1 lime (might need more if desire a tangier taste)
- 1 clove garlic, mashed to paste with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 Tbl. olive oil
Puree everything in the blender until super smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish, if desired (this is entirely optional), with a drizzle of chermoula and roasted chickpeas.
This is the recipe I used for my Chermoula Roasted Salmon. Leftovers are good with fish, roasted vegetables or Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers (upcoming post).
- 1 tsp. cumin seed (or 1 tsp ground cumin)
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 Tbl. cilantro
- 3 Tbl. parsley (or half a Swiss chard leaf or a handful of baby spinach–something green to give a nice color)
- juice half lemon or 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. green z’chug or a little hot sauce, to taste
- 3 Tbl. olive oil
Process everything in a small food processor (or grind in a mortar and pestle) until you have a smooth green sauce.
- 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained well
- salt, pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp. olive oil
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss chickpeas with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast the chickpeas at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
Variation: Add a tsp. or so of chermoula to the chickpeas before roasting.
Chilled Cucumber and Tomato Soup
This is basically Israeli Salad fused with with Chilled Cucumber Soup (Tarator). The original inspiration was a Tarator recipe in Michael Natkin’s Herbivoracious, but I took the soup in a different (and more low fat) direction. Michael’s Tarator (a Bulgarian recipe which came from his wife’s Israeli cousin Sabi) calls for yogurt, sour cream, cucumbers, white vinegar, olive oil, garlic, chives, mint and dill. I used just -free fat Greek yogurt–no sour cream–plus lemon juice, garlic, minced chives and finely diced cucumbers and tomatoes.
- 1 English cucumber, peeled and finely chopped into 1/8″ cubes (Michael’s recipe calls for leaving on the skin and removing the seeds, but I did the opposite, keeping the seeds and removing the skin. You can do whatever you like, depending on how you prefer your cucumber)
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped into 1/8″ cubes (in a small bowl, reserve the tomato juice and the gelatinous goo around the tomato seeds, using a fine mesh strainer to strain out the juice from the seeds–you will add this tomato juice to the soup later)
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 small garlic clove, finely minced and then mashed to a paste with a little bit of salt (use the knife blade to mash the salt into the minced garlic and thereby grind it to a paste: if you aren’t familiar with this technique, see this how-to on BBC Good Food)
- juice half lemon (or more, to taste)
- 2 Tbl. minced chives, plus extra for garnish, if desired
- 3 cups 0% Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbl. olive oil, optional
In a medium bowl, combine the minced cucumber, tomato, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice, chives. Stir in the yogurt and reserved tomato juice. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish servings of soup with minced chives, plus, if desired, a drizzle of olive oil.
Variation: I also tried this garnished with crumbled feta and a sprinkle of za’atar, which I liked very much. If you want to use the herbs in Michael’s recipe for Tarator, you can add minced dill and/or mint.
This month is Cold Soup!