3 Cool Soups for Summer

Thursday, July 28, 2011 | 0 comments »

By Joe Wilkes

It's summer and the mercury is rising. The last thing any of us is in the mood for is a hot, steaming bowl of chicken noodle or miso soup—which is too bad, because for those of us who are keeping an eye on our calories, soup can be filling, nutritious, delicious, and most importantly, low in calories and fat. But cheer up, soup lovers—we don't have to wait for the first cold winds of autumn to bust out the soup bowls. By borrowing a couple of pages from the cookbooks of our friends across the Atlantic, we can keep a fridge full of refreshingly cool, healthy, soupy goodness.


Gazpacho is a traditional soup from the Andalusian area of Spain. It is generally made with a tomato base and can include onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and stale bread to thicken it. It was served memorably in the Spanish film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, where the suicidal heroine blended her gazpacho with a bottle of sleeping pills and accidentally served it with hilarious results. Gazpacho can be made in a blender (though we recommend omitting the sleeping pills), or for those with knife skills, it can be made chunky-style, with the vegetables diced into small pieces. The ingredient list can be as varied as both your imagination and your produce department allow. Try steering toward fresh vegetables and low-calorie ingredients. If you want to give yourself a protein boost, you can garnish the soup with some chopped boiled egg whites or diced lean ham.
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 6 whole tomatoes, fresh or canned, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup jicama, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Tabasco® Sauce (to taste)
  • Worcestershire sauce (a dash, to taste)
  • Chives, parsley, and/or cilantro, coarsely chopped (for garnish)
  • Bowl or pitcher
  • Blender (optional)
Combine all ingredients in bowl or pitcher, or whirl in blender first to desired consistency. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend. Serve with chives, parsley, and/or cilantro as a garnish. Makes 8 servings.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration Time: Overnight

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
91 3 g 3 g 14 g 3 g < 1 g


Borscht was a staple in my Russian grandmother's house. When I was a child, I was a little skeeved out by the fluorescent purple-white liquid with bits of egg floating in it, but as I got older, I learned to appreciate the great flavors and the health benefits of the soup. Now, you'll always find a pitcher in my fridge and a couple of bowls in my freezer filled with this tasty concoction. Borscht comes from Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine, and as with Spain's gazpacho, there are as many different ways to make it as there are cooks. Borscht generally uses beets as its base, and you can also add vegetables like onions, cabbage, and tomatoes to the mix. Beef broth makes for a heartier stock, and many chefs choose to garnish the soup with chopped egg. The coup de grace is usually a generous dollop of sour cream swirled into the dark violet broth, but come on—this is a Beachbody newsletter. We'll be swapping the sour cream out for nonfat or low-fat yogurt.
  • 5 to 6 medium-sized beets, julienned
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 16 cups low-sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (for garnish)
  • Fresh dill, chopped (for garnish)
  • 3/4 cup nonfat or low-fat yogurt, preferably Greek style (for garnish)
  • Large frying pan
  • Large stockpot
In large frying pan, heat olive oil, then sauté onion, carrot, and beets until softened. Stir in tomato paste and set aside. In large stockpot, bring broth to a simmer, then add cabbage and potatoes. Simmer for a few minutes, then add the beet/onion/carrot mixture. Add bell pepper, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper, and simmer for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Place each serving in soup bowl or mug; top each with half a chopped boiled egg, a pinch of dill, and a tablespoon of yogurt. Makes 12 servings.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 to 35 minutes
Refrigeration Time: Overnight

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
154 10 g 4 g 20 g 3 g 1 g


This rich, creamy soup made with potatoes, leeks, onions, and heavy cream is considered by many to be a French classic. Although some trace the soup's provenance to the Ritz Hotel in New York, where a French chef created a creamy, blended, cold version of his peasant mother's potato-leek soup, which he named after his hometown of Vichy, France. Wherever it comes from, it is the soup that renowned chef, Kitchen Confidential author, and Top Chef judge and haranguer Anthony Bourdain credits with launching his love for food. And it is the favorite cold soup for many a gourmand. Usually, it's off limits for those watching the bathroom scale, as the traditional incarnation contains loads of heavy cream. However, with a few adjustments and substitutions, a delicious variation can be made that is satisfying without being ruinous for your healthy diet. In fact, one of the main ingredients, the leek, is the vegetable that Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don't Get Fat, credits as an important part of her slimming regimen.
  • 4 large leeks, white and light-green parts
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 medium potatoes (Yukon Golds are good), peeled and finely diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups evaporated skim milk
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Ground white pepper (to taste)
  • Chopped chives (for garnish)
  • Food processor or blender
  • Large saucepan
Rinse leeks well, removing all sand and grit. In a food processor or blender, chop the leeks and onions finely. In a large saucepan, sauté the leek and onion mixture in olive oil until vegetables appear translucent. Add potatoes and chicken broth and simmer until potatoes are soft, to the point of dissolving. Pour contents of saucepan into food processor or blender and puree. Pour into bowl; cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove chilled soup from refrigerator, stir in evaporated milk, and add salt and pepper to taste (we specify white pepper because it makes for a more appealing-looking dish). Ladle each serving into bowl or mug, top each with a tablespoon of chopped chives and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 to 25 minutes
Refrigeration Time: Overnight

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
238 13 g 4 g 43 g 2 g < 1 g