Earlier this year, in the dead of winter, I spotted a great-looking recipe online for chilled zucchini soup–but I decided to save it for a warmer month. While I may have mastered hot soups, there’s something intimidating about chilled soup. Even Fran Lebowitz has taken note of this issue: “Cold soup is a very tricky thing and it is the rare hostess who can carry it off. More often than not the dinner guest is left with the impression that had he only come a little earlier he could have gotten it while it was still hot.”
Enter the indispensable Vitamix: the blender that seems to do everything from churn butter to make sorbet, and more. Below, I’ve adapted a recipe for zucchini and purslane soup by substituting watercress for purslane and replacing the whole stovetop process typical of chilled soups with the single flip of a switch.
N.B.: For more ideas, you can easily search the library of Vitamix-specific recipes by seasonality, dietary needs, and level of difficulty.
Written and photographed by Alexa Hotz for Gardenista.
Above: I used the Vitamix Professional Series 750 machine in black; $639 at Vitamix.com. Vitamix offers a wide range of Blenders starting at $399, as well as Certified Reconditioned machines from $279.
Ingredients for Chilled Zucchini Soup (serves 4):
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 very small onions or 1 small to medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 pounds zucchini, sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
- 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- A few sprigs of watercress (or purslane)
- Ice cubes for chilling
Step 1: Layer the ingredients into the Vitamix blender, starting with the olive oil and water and ending with salt and pepper (save the watercress or purslane and ice cubes for later). Secure the lid.
Step 2: Select Variable 1 on your blender and slowly increase the speed. Shown here is the soup half-blended at Variable 3.
Step 3: Purée the soup to your liking (some like it somewhat chunky; others prefer smooth). For a smooth purée, turn the knob slowly to Variable 10. Return the knob to the starting position and turn off the Vitamix.
Step 4: Ladle the soup into four individual bowls, and add a few ice cubes and a sprig of watercress or purslane to each bowl.
Above: Serve immediately, and enjoy on a summer afternoon.