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Recipes for cold soups: Thai green pea, cucumber avocado, gazpacho, parsnip pear

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Here are four diverse recipes for delicious chilled soups, perfect for summertime entertaining.

Thai Green Pea Soup

Green curry sauce gives a spicy lift to this soup and the arugula balances the sweetness of the peas. A blender works best because it breaks down the pea skins, making a smooth puree.

30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped onions

5 ml (1 tsp) chopped ginger

125 ml (1/2 cup) diced Yukon gold potatoes

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) Thai green curry paste

1 l (4 cups) chicken stock

750 ml (3 cups) fresh or frozen peas

250 ml (1 cup) arugula

75 ml (1/3 cup) whipping cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Mint, for garnish

In a pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes or until softened. Add ginger and potatoes and saute for another 2 minutes or until potatoes are coated with oil. Add green curry paste and stir together.

Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until potatoes are softened. Add peas and arugula and cook until peas are softened, about 3 minutes. Add cream and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat, puree in batches in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Chill.

Serve in chilled mugs, garnished with mint.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: "The Flavour Principle: Enticing Your Senses With Food and Drink" by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol (HarperCollins Canada, 2013).

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Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup

This soup is perfect for a hot summer day and the avocado gives it a wonderful creaminess. It requires no cooking and is vegetarian and gluten-free.

2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut in large chunks

1 small cucumber, cut in large chunks, reserving some thin slices for garnish

1 clove garlic

250 ml (1 cup) plain yogurt or coconut milk yogurt for a dairy-free option (approx)

50 ml (1/4 cup) fresh dill

50 ml (1/4 cup) cilantro

Juice of 2 limes

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. If you prefer a creamier texture, add more yogurt. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with cucumber slices.

Makes 3 or 4 servings.

Source: "Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting" by Joy McCarthy (Penguin Canada Books Inc., 2014).

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Summer Lovin' Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a classic chilled soup, and although many variations have been developed, traditional Spanish gazpacho is made with tomatoes. This "raw" soup is vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.

5 or 6 ripe tomatoes, cut in chunks, or 1 can (796 ml/28 oz) whole tomatoes

1 sweet red pepper, cut in chunks

1/2 red onion

1/2 English cucumber, cut in chunks

2 cloves garlic

125 ml (1/2 cup) cilantro

50 ml (1/4 cup) fresh basil

50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

Parsley leaves, for garnish

50 ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped cucumber and red pepper, for garnish

Place all ingredients except garnishes in a blender or food processor. Process to your desired consistency (a few soft chunks are nice). Refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

Serve chilled with a garnish of parsley and a touch of finely chopped cucumber and red pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: "Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting" by Joy McCarthy (Penguin Canada Books Inc., 2014).

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Cardamom Parsnip Pear Soup

Vegetable and fruit combine in this delicious soup and the garnish of hemp seeds adds a splash of protein. This soup can be served cold or hot. It is vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.

2 or 3 medium parsnips, peeled if not organic, cut in chunks

2 Bosc pears, peeled if not organic, cored and cut in chunks

750 ml to 1 l (3 to 4 cups) almond milk or water

5 to 10 ml (1 to 2 tsp) ground cardamom

Lots of freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt, to taste

175 ml (3/4 cup) hemp seeds, for garnish

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Place parsnips in a covered baking dish with 1 cm (1/2 inch) of water. Do the same in a separate dish with the pears. Bake, covered, until parsnips and pears are fork-tender. The pears will take about 35 minutes and the parsnips may take up to 1 hour.

Transfer pears, parsnips and any liquid from dish to a food processor or blender. Add almond milk and cardamom. Process until smooth. (Or transfer to a large saucepan and blend with an immersion blender.)

Transfer to a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat. Season with pepper and salt and chill for at least 2 hours. Garnish with hemp seeds.

Quick Method: If you are crunched for time and have a super-high-powered blender, place all ingredients except salt, pepper and hemp seeds in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with pepper and salt. Chill for at least 2 hours if you want cold soup or garnish with hemp seeds and serve immediately if you want hot soup.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: "Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting" by Joy McCarthy (Penguin Canada Books Inc., 2014).

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