A light, vibrant chilled soup fit for spring

Alison Ladman
Associated Press

Soup can be an unusual choice for a spring dinner. We’re supposed to be celebrating light, bright flavors and a return of fresh produce. Heavy and hearty are out of place.

Except that spring sous can be bright, light and a delicious blend of fresh — rather than long-simmered — flavors. Ready for spring to begin, we created this rich, creamy chilled soup that is simple and refreshing. It blends blanched peas, cucumber and avocados with mint and basil for a rush of beautiful green flavors.

This soup and pesto are easily prepared up to a day ahead, then refrigerated. Let warm slightly to room temperature before serving.

Chilled Cucumber, Avocado and Pea Soup with Mint Pesto

Serves 6.

1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves

6 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

2 avocados, pitted and peeled

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

To make the pesto, in a food processor combine the mint, basil and olive oil. Process until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lime juice, then set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of water. Once the water is simmering, add the peas and cook until tender, but still bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain the peas and cool completely.

Shortly before serving, in a blender combine the avocados, cucumber, peas and buttermilk. Process until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the soup into serving bowls and drizzle with the pesto. Top each with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

Per serving: 300 calories; 25 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 73 percent calories from fat); 15 g carbohydrates; 6 g sugar; 5 mg cholesterol; 250 mg sodium; 7 g protein; 7 g fiber.