Strawberry-Orange Soup

A lot of people don’t really associate soup with summer. But cold soups can make for a wonderful summer meal, or at least a good compliment. Many don’t require any cooking at all… those that do can be pretty minimal and can be done on a (slightly) cooler day and saved for when it heats up again later.

When you talk about cold soups, most people think gazpacho – which is a good soup, but there’s all sorts of other things you can do… and why not take advantage of a great summer-time food, strawberries.

Strawberry-Orange Soup

This recipe is modified from one I found on the New York Times website… not that I think I can do it better, it was more because I was trying to make a smaller batch and was going from memory because I couldn’t find my link to the original recipe. I think it turned out great… and is just another example of how being flexible in the kitchen can really pay off.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4-1/2 orange juice
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar – divided
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, orange juice, mint leaves and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Set in the fridge to chill… the goal here is infuse the mint flavor in to the yogurt. Start with 1/4 cup of the orange juice unless you are using a thick yogurt like a Greek style (see notes below).

Put the sliced strawberries in another small bowl, add the lime juice, the other 2 teaspoons of sugar, and the cayenne pepper. Stir and put in the fridge. The sugar will help draw some of the juice out of the strawberries and soften them up a bit.

Let both bowls chill for a couple hours, giving them both a stir once or twice. Strain the yogurt mixture to remove the mint leaves and then mix in with the strawberry mixture. Garnish with some more fresh strawberries and/or mint leaves before serving.

This makes a decent side-dish for two or a nice accompaniment for four.

A few additional notes…

For the yogurt, you want a fairly thick yogurt – preferably a Greek one. Now the really good brands of Greek yogurt, like Chobani for example, may even be a bit too thick for something like this and will likely need an additional 1/4 cup or so of orange juice. Start with the 1/4 cup and see what it is like after adding the strawberries, adding more if desired.

The yogurt I used in this batch is a regional brand (Old Home) and is 13g of protein in a 1-cup serving. By comparison, Chobani is 23. It accomplishes this in part by removing more of the whey which is the liquid part of yogurt.

Make sure you don’t chop your mint too much, you want to release the essential oils, but you need to be able to strain them out later. You’ll need to use a strainer with large enough holes for the yogurt to get through, but not the mint – if you get a few stray pieces that’s fine, but you don’t want much. You may also need to press the yogurt through using the back of a spoon or a rubber scraper. Another option is to pull them out with a fork.

You’re probably thinking… “cayenne pepper?” Well, the original recipe called for chili powder – which has cayenne in it. I don’t keep chili powder on hand, I mix my own when needed. I didn’t feel like adding other stuff to it so I thought I would try just some straight cayenne.. and it worked great. Just a hint of the pepperiness (is that a word?) without really any heat – or if there was the coolness of the yogurt squelched it well enough.

This was a very refreshing side item with my dinner tonight, but I could also see serving this at the end of a meal, almost as a dessert. Just top with a dollop of whipped cream for that desserty touch.

I mentioned gazpacho at the start of this post… well stick around, because I’ll be sharing a recipe for a very easy to make version where all you need is a blender or food processor – no cooking required.

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