Fresh, crisp salads are the perfect low-calorie, no-cook way to start off any healthy meal. But as the hot summer days roll on, that can get old fast. When you're bored of the old salad standby, why not try soup instead? We're not talking about piping hot broth when it's muggy out. We mean fresh chilled soups, because they're a great low-calorie way to fill up before a healthy meal. Check out these recipes, courtesy of Top Chef alum Carla Hall, owner of Alchemy Caterers, to tantalize your taste buds while keeping cool all summer long.
|Carla's Chilled Spicy Carrot Soup
We're really warming up to this carrot soup but the only heat in this dish comes from the fat-fighting cayenne pepper (new research shows that capsaicin, the stuff that gives chili peppers their kick, may help you lose weight). One bowl gives you more than 1,000 percent of the vitamin A you need in a day-for less than 200 calories! Sip this soup alongside any healthy meal for an added nutrition boost.
|Carla's Chilled English Pea Soup
This pea soup may be the coolest summer soup around. With fresh mint, parsley and a bit of fresh lemon zest, this brightly flavored dish is anything but warm and cozy. Using silken tofu rather than heavy cream to thicken the soup bumps up the protein, so it serves as a great starter or as a healthy meal on its own.
|Carla's Chilled Asparagus Soup
Kick off any healthy meal this summer with this asparagus soup. While the asparagus is high in vitamin C (you'll get nearly 50% of your daily needs in one bowl) this soup gets a nutrient boost for only 2 extra calories per serving from a cup of fresh spinach blended right in.
|Bonus side dish from Carla Hall: Asparagus, Zucchini and Parmesan Salad
We don't want you getting bored with soup either! Try this fresh and fast salad to accompany your favorite healthy meal or alongside any of the soups here. The tangy lemon tarragon vinaigrette adds a lot of flavor without a lot of calories thanks to the Dijon mustard (9 calories, 0g fat per teaspoon). Most of the fat in this recipe is the heart healthy monounsaturated kind from olive oil.