It sounds like a contradiction in itself: cold soups. Be that as it may, they are a savior on hot summer days and an opportunity to play with sweet, hearty and creamy flavors—not to mention all the crispy toppings you can add!

We chose 10 fresh ingredients that fit perfectly as a base of summer soups—with plenty of vegan options. They just so happen to be appropriately colored for summer, making them a great activity for cooking with kids on long holidays—and the perfect opportunity to introduce them to new, delicious produce and seemingly wacky combinations. Be prepared for chaos, hustle and bustle...and a lot of fun.

Cold soups are especially refreshing when they have a fruity element such as watermelon or nectarines. If you are worried about not filling up enough, serve the soup with a salad and grilled halloumi or grilled skewers with feta. Enjoy!

Are you a fan of cold soups? Do you have a particular recipe that you love? Share it with us, and our community, in the comments below!

1. WATERMELON

Most cold soups follow the same procedure: Chop all the ingredients into small pieces and mix in a blender till smooth. Watermelon, with its high water content, is a winning choice and cucumber provides extra freshness. If the ingredients are straight from the fridge, you can start eating straight away. If not: Put the soup back in the fridge and let cool. And of course, don't forget the crunchy (roasted nuts, garlic croutons, ...), creamy (lemony yoghurt) or fresh (mint or other herbs) extras on top!

Tomato-melon gazpacho with coconut croutons

Tomato-melon gazpacho with coconut croutons

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2. CANTALOUPE MELONE

Cantaloupe melon has not only a firmer and juicier consistency than watermelon, it's also the sweetest melon you can find. So if you are searching for a sweet summer soup—this combination is exactly what you are looking for.

Cantaloupe gazpacho

Cantaloupe gazpacho

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3. CORN

I love corn the most fresh from the grill. As soon as it's ready, I always add too much butter on top, watch it melt and make its way through the gaps between the grains. Before the first bite, I sprinkle coarse salt all over.
Corn is also a great base for—surprise surprise—cold soups. If you have a look at this article again later in the week, you'll find a great recipe for a cold, golden summer soup!

Sweet corn gazpacho

Sweet corn gazpacho

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4. BELL PEPPERS

The classic gazpacho done in a different way: Grill the bell peppers first so they develop a little char, plus smoky flavor, before you mix them to a cooling and flavorful soup.

Roasted bell pepper gazpacho

Roasted bell pepper gazpacho

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5. CHICKPEAS

I love hummus, so naturally I just had to try the following easy recipe:

Mix canned chickpeas with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, cold water, some ground cumin, salt and pepper. I put diced tomatoes, cucumbers and finely chopped shallots on the plate before filling up with the soup. Last but not least, I sprinkled fresh parsley and crumbled feta on top.

Or, try out a chilled version of the following soup:

Hummus soup with spinach

Hummus soup with spinach

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6. TOMATOES

Tomatoes—just like cucumbers—are always a good choice for cold, refreshing soups given their high water content. Gazpacho is probably THE best-known cold soup of all and is made from a base of red tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. A slightly different version with yellow tomatoes is perfect as a starter on hot days. You can make it like this:

Mix peeled canned yellow tomatoes (available for example from the Italian supermarket of your choice) with basil stalks, onions, a little garlic and vegetable stock until smooth. Season with sugar, olive oil and pepper, and serve with burrata, basil leaves, and a little olive oil. Enjoy!

Quick tomato soup

Quick tomato soup

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7. PEACHES

For this article, I've been looking for soup inspiration on the web that offers more than the simple gazpacho mentioned above. Thisrecipe made me curious:

Marinate peaches, apricots, yellow bell peppers and cucumbers overnight in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh goat cheese and mix everything to a cold soup the next day. Sounds good!

A variation of this recipe: Use peaches instead of pears. This could be your new favorite summer soup!

Carrot and pear soup

Carrot and pear soup

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8. CUCUMBER

A cucumber soup does not necessarily mean a watery soup if you mix it smart with other, creamy ingredients. But how does a soup get creamy if you do not want to use any animal products like crème fraîche or sour cream?

It's easy! Use canned white beans or soaked cashews and simply puree them with all the other ingredients. For example with cucumbers, mint, peas, shallots, lemon juice and vegetable broth.

Hot and cold cucumber soup

Hot and cold cucumber soup

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9. ZUCCHINI

Sometimes it's worth looking at recipes from a different angle. I recently had this experience with this pasta salad: wondering which dinner pasta recipe I could take in cold for lunch to the office on the next day? This is similar with soups. I don't want to eat hearty potato soups at this time of year, but cold soups with light ingredients instead just like zucchinis. One recipe goes like this:

Sauté leek in olive oil and salt and add a little garlic. Mix leeks with zucchinis, hemp seeds, lemon juice, miso paste and water (or vegetable broth), basil and pepper. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and serve with garlic croutons and olive oil.

Or simply replace romanesco with zucchini in this recipe. Even cold, the soup tastes fresh and fragrant:

Romanesco soup with walnut-mint pesto

Romanesco soup with walnut-mint pesto

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10. PEAS

So that your summer soup not only tastes good but also looks great, make sure you garnish the soup with toppings in contrasting colors. Black sesame looks great on yellow soups, candied bacon on a green soup background, or rather on an intense green pea soup with a steamed mix of celery, leek and onions, snap peas, young peas and parsley.

Minty pea soup with bacon

Minty pea soup with bacon

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More delicious ideas for you