Spring recipe: chilled strawberry soup from Easy Bistro & Bar

Mackensy Lunsford
Nashville Tennessean

From Easy Bistro & Bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee comes this great spring recipe for chilled strawberry soup.

Chef and owner Erik Niel, a two-time James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef Southeast, use the Tennessee Valley's first local strawberries combined with garlic, thyme, diced sourdough, cucumbers and more to make a surprisingly savory but refreshing combination for those warm days of mid-spring. At the restaurant, the dish is garnished with sheep’s milk feta, marcona almonds, thyme and black pepper.

Here's how to bring it home.

Springy strawberry soup.


  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2.5 slices sourdough bread, medium dice, crust removed
  • 2.5 pints strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can tomato juice from San Marzano tomatoes (28-ounce can)
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnishes: sheep’s milk feta, marcona almonds, extra sliced strawberries, thyme and black pepper


In a large bowl combine two cloves of garlic, strawberries, cucumber, bell peppers, tomato juice, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

In a saute pan, heat one tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the remaining two cloves of garlic and sourdough. Toss occasionally until the bread begins to get color. Add thyme and toss with the bread until the bread turns golden brown and crusty. Transfer to the bowl with vegetables and strawberries, toss all together, season with salt and cover. Let marinate for 3 hours.

Puree the ingredients and juices in small batches in the Vitamix or blender on high until very smooth. Strain through a chinois, season appropriately with salt and red wine vinegar, then cool in the ice bath. Garnish as desired.