Cook: Some like it cold Summer soups taste best chilled

Want a tasty refresher after a hot, humid day? Instead of a cold beer, reach for a bowl of zesty, cooling, savory soup.

We’re all familiar with chilled gazpacho, but this Spanish soup is not the only one that can cool warm-weather appetites. A number of these delicious, refreshing and satisfyingly hearty cold soups require hardly a stop at the stove. All can be made easily and quickly, perfect for hot summer nights.

I particularly favor soups with roots in Eastern Europe and Israel, treasured recipes brought to this country and served in Jewish homes as a sustaining dinner in a bowl: borscht from Ukraine, schav from Poland and yogurt-based soups from the Middle East.



Serves 8

1 large head cabbage, shredded

4 large beets, peeled and sliced

2 large onions, thinly sliced

28-oz. can tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped

2 qts. water

1⁄4 cup brown sugar

1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar

1⁄4 cup fresh orange juice

2 tsp. caraway seed

salt and pepper

sour cream

orange or lemon slices

In a large, heavy pot, combine cabbage, beets, onions and tomatoes. Add 2 qts. water and simmer 1 hour. Stir in brown sugar, vinegar, orange juice and caraway seed and cook another 15 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream topped with an orange or lemon slice.



Serves 8

1⁄2 lb. chard, leaves chopped and stems cut into 1-inch pieces

1⁄2 lb. spinach leaves, chopped

1⁄2 lb. sorrel, chopped

6 scallions, trimmed and chopped

8 cups water

3 eggs

1 cup sour cream

salt and pepper

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh dill or parsley

1 pound boiled potatoes (optional)

In a large, heavy pot, combine chard, spinach, sorrel, scallions and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. In a food processor, combine eggs and sour cream. Process this mixture with about 2 ladlefuls of soup. Return to pot and stir well. Taste for salt and pepper. Refrigerate and serve cold with potatoes, if using. Garnish with dill or parsley before serving.


Middle Eastern Gazpacho

Serves 6

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1⁄2 small sweet onion, chopped

4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, deveined, and chopped

2 Tbs. fresh lime juice

1⁄4 cup olive oil

2 Tbs. cumin seed, toasted and crushed

1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

2 cups tomato juice

1 cup yogurt

salt and pepper

In a large bowl, combine garlic, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, peppers, lime juice, oil, cumin seed, red pepper and cilantro. Stir well and let stand about 1 hour. Purée half the mixture with tomato juice in a blender or food processor. Return to bowl with remaining half and stir well. Stir in yogurt. Chill. Just before serving, taste for salt and pepper.


Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to

Louise Fiszer