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Chilled Watermelon, Red Pepper and Chilli Soup

by Jo Pratt from In the Mood for Food

Serve this chilled soup for a refreshing light lunch over the warm Summer months. It also makes for a striking starter too.

From the book


This refreshing soup makes a great starter or a light lunch for the summer. Don’t be put off by having to grill your own peppers, they take hardly any time at all, but if you are stretched, then buy a jar of some already done. They aren’t quite as flavourful, but they are a great speedy alternative.

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2 red peppers
1kg watermelon, cut into chunks (giving you about 600g flesh)
1 long red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1½ tbsp red wine vinegar
8 large basil leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
small basil leaves to garnish
cubes of feta cheese to garnish
olive oil


Preheat the grill to high.

Grill the peppers for 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally until they are charred all over. Put them in a plastic sandwich bag and seal or place in a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave the peppers for about 10 minutes until they are cool enough to handle, and then peel away the skins and seeds.

Place the grilled peppers into a food processor or blender with the watermelon, chilli, garlic, red wine vinegar, large basil leaves and some salt and pepper and blitz until you have a very smooth soup. Pass through a sieve to remove the watermelon pips and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours until it is totally chilled. To save time, you can place it in the freezer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve the soup, spoon it into bowls, add a twist of pepper and scatter over the small basil leaves and feta cheese. Finally, drizzle a little olive oil around the edge of each bowl.

PS… The soup is great as it is, but you can also replace the feta cheese with some of these tasty additions: Sliced black olives. Grilled prosciutto, Parma ham or serrano ham. A spoonful of low-fat crème fraîche.

In the mood for a drink? A chilled rosé packed with fruit and zip hits the spot every time.

Takes about 30 minutes to make, plus 2 hours to chill

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