This post was originally published here August 4, 2016. I’ve since adjusted the recipe slightly. And updated the photographs and text to reflect those changes.
It’s been REALLY HOT this past week. Which means I haven’t had much interest in cooking or baking. I’ve basically been existing on watermelon, ice cream and caprese salads.
But then I remembered the ease and simplicity of chilled soups. And my motivation to get back into the kitchen was temporarily restored!
But the extreme heat wasn’t the only thing that inspired me to make this Chilled Lettuce, Cucumber and Pea Soup with Corn Salsa. I was also inspired by all the beautiful Boston lettuce growing in our hydroponic greenhouse. Boston lettuce leaves are soft, tender and sweet. Which makes them an ideal ingredient for this chilled soup.
In addition to an entire head of Boston lettuce (you can also look for labels that say “Bibb” or “Butter” lettuce), this chilled soup contains cucumber, peas (I used frozen), scallions, mint, jalapeño pepper and lime juice. Just add everything to your blender and push the button. That’s it! But don’t be thinking that this Chilled Lettuce, Cucumber and Pea Soup with Corn Salsa is going to be all watery and thin. Nope. It has major body! Because I blend in buttermilk for creaminess, thickness and that unmistakable little bit of “tang”. It really elevates this chilled soup to the next level! But if you don’t enjoy the flavor of buttermilk, you can substitute it for regular heavy cream.
You all know by now that I can’t handle naked soups. Especially naked puréed soups. So I made a quick corn salsa with fresh corn kernels, jalapeño pepper and lime juice. This topping adds just the right amount of texture to each bite of this chilled soup. And it makes it extra pretty, too!
If you’re going to be enjoying this Chilled Lettuce, Cucumber and Pea Soup with Corn Salsa as a main dish, this recipe makes 2 servings. But I also LOVE the idea of serving small portions of this chilled soup as a starter for a Summertime meal. If you’re going to go that route, you can probably get 6-8 servings from this recipe.
Chilled Lettuce, Cucumber and Pea Soup with Corn Salsa
For the Soup:
- 1 small-medium head Boston lettuce, leaves separated and torn
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup peas (can be frozen or fresh)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 scallions, white and light green portions chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 tsp. diced jalapeño pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
For the Corn Salsa:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ear of corn, kernels sliced off
- 1 tsp. diced jalapeño pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- Add all the ingredients for the soup to your blender and blend on high until smooth. If there isn’t enough liquid, you can add a couple tablespoons of cold water. Transfer the soup to a clean container and place it in your refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- While the soup chills, make the corn salsa. Warm the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and diced jalapeño pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, salt and black pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the corn salsa to a small bowl to let it cool.
- To serve, divide the chilled soup between serving bowls. Top with some of the corn salsa. If desired, drizzle with additional buttermilk and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy immediately.
Liz, that is the prettiest Boston lettuce (and greenhouse!) I have ever seen!!!! I LOVE this soup! Gorgeous!
Aww…thanks, Alice! You are so sweet!
Can you believe that I’ve never had gazpacho before? What is wrong with me? Ina’s version sounds good, but I really like the flavors of this one. Definitely different and full of fresh flavors. Plus, I love the pretty green color. It’s been SO hot here lately, so I just want to dig into everything chilled!
Gazpacho is so great in the Summer. I couldn’t be easier to make and honestly, most vegetables will work. Kind of a great way to use excess from your garden or farmers market!
Oh my goodness I’m so glad I just got a blender because I’m dying to make this. The herbs, the spice… and all that wonderful color! The perfect summer lunch (with some bread and wine of course)
Oh of course we need bread, wine and maybe a couple oysters on the side. That’s how we roll!
That lettuce is amazing. I too forget about chilled soups, but they are so great and usually full of fresh veggies. The color of this soup is amazing!
Thanks, Kathy! I hope you try it out!
Your garden is amazing, Liz! So fun! I love the fresh green color of this soup! I’ve been missing soup lately – I just can’t eat hot soup in the summer – so I need to try this chilled version.
I know. I am a big soup lover, but this is the only way I can have it in the Summer (unless it’s like corn and seafood chowder). It’s too hot otherwise!
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen more beautiful lettuce! I love soups even in the summer, and yes, even hot soups (I’m crazy!) but I bet this would be so much more refreshing!
Definitely more refreshing that hot soup! 🙂
Oh that lettuce! It looks so perfect I want to just eat it all! I’m strange in that I still eat hot soups in the summer, but I really need to try eating it chilled. This looks so refreshing and I would definitely love that buttermilk tang!
I really can’t do hot soups in the Summer, unless it’s like corn or clam chowder – which I feel are Summer staples despite the heat!
Looks so giood!! Perfect for these hot summer days!!
Lettuce never looked so pretty! It’s been years since I last had gazpacho. This sounds like the perfect opportunity to change that.
I don’t know how I forgot about gazpacho for so long. I’m happy it’s back in my life!
Liz! I’ve never even considered putting lettuce in a chilled soup but love the idea. Butter lettuce is my absolute favorite kind of lettuce (it’s surprisingly hard to find in these parts though, no idea why) so this has my name written all over it. Love the 30 minute meal idea, too! Need more of those in my life these days LOL. xoxo
Yeah, I’m either eating cereal or something that takes 4 hours to prepare. Ugh. WHY!?!?!? Oh and I’ll ship you some lettuce. 🙂
I have never actually had a chilled soup before. Pretty sure I’m missing out because this sounds like the perfect meal for these hot summer days! And lettuce in soup is such a great idea! Can’t wait to try this out!
Let me know if you try it, Stacey!
Such a gorgeous and refreshing bowl of soup! I want to live with you in that greenhouse, k? And we can live off of chilled soup!!
I like this plan!
I wouldn’t mind moving into the greenhouse either. What a feast for the eyes, Liz! And this soup.. the buttermilk is a divine addition, yes please! Vibrant, and so in season. I adore chilled soups, but Rob, not so much. I just got a pile of shelling peas from the farm and this would be a delicious way to enjoy them! Thank you Liz!
Oh Rob is always giving us trouble. Lol. Just kidding. You are welcome to come and live with me in the greenhouse at any time! 🙂
Can you make this soup ahead of time and chill until serving?
It should be fine to make several hours in advance. Just make sure you stir it real well before serving to recombine anything that may have separated.
I made the soup for Easter, it was delicious and refreshing and a perfect alternate to a typical salad. I made it about a 2 hours before the party and it stayed perfect,. thanks for the great recipe!
That’s so great to hear, Meg! It’s definitely a nice refreshing Spring and Summer recipe!
Can I freeze this soup please
I have never tried freezing this soup before, so I can’t say for certain. Generally recipes with milk/cream/buttermilk don’t freeze well.
I loved this recipe so much . It’s really awesome
Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe. I would love to try this recipe.
I hope you do!