Chilled Poblano Soup in a white bowl

Chilled Poblano and Cilantro Soup

Amber Frazier Recipes

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A fresh take on a chilled summer soup! Move over gazpacho – this beautiful creamy Chilled Poblano and Cilantro Soup is delicious on a hot summer day.

Why we love it

Poblanos are likely not a weekly staple pepper in your household. You are probably dropping bell peppers into your shopping cart most often, maybe a jalapeno occasionally, or perhaps a habanero if you really love spiciness. This Chilled Poblano and Cilantro Soup recipe is a great way to get the health benefits of spicy peppers!

Measuring spiciness

Capsaicin is what gives peppers their heat. Luckily, capsaicin comes with numerous health benefits, including helping prevent cancer, improving blood sugar regulation, and even relieving pain. Nutrition Therapist Masters will often recommend adding peppers to the diet if tolerated!

The spiciness of peppers is determined by something called Scoville heat units (SHU). Interestingly, SHU is a measurement of sugar-water. More specifically, it’s the amount of sugar-water needed to dilute an equal part of pepper mash to get to a point where you no longer feel the heat at all.

Here are some examples: a gypsy pepper – a sweet pepper – has a SHU of zero. A poblano has a SHU of 1000 – this means you would need to mix 1 tsp of poblano with 1000 teaspoons of sugar-water to taste zero heat. Now even though that sounds like a lot, a ghost pepper has a SHU of 855,000! There are even peppers that go into the millions with their SHU level.

Although the poblano pepper ranks relatively low on the Scoville scale, it still contains a significant amount of capsaicin.

One thing to note is that bell peppers do not contain capsaicin due to a recessive gene. Although bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, they are still a nutritional powerhouse due to their high vitamin C and beta-carotene content.

What is the spiciest part of a pepper?

The highest concentration of capsaicin is actually in the pith portion of the flesh! This is the membrane that suspends the seeds inside of the pepper. It is often thought that pepper seeds are the spiciest part of a hot pepper. However, the seeds themselves do not contain any capsaicin.

Recipes will sometimes state to remove the seeds to reduce spiciness. This is because seeds often have residual capsaicin on their surface due to contact with the pith. If you truly want to reduce spiciness, make sure to remove the pith.

Expert recipe tip: make sure to taste your poblano when you make this soup! Although poblanos are usually mild, a pepper’s spiciness can change with varying soils, plant growing conditions and the ripeness at which it is picked.

Find more hot pepper recipes in NTI’s collection:

Shrimp Tacos

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini

Fresh Salmon Quinoa Burgers

Kale Guacamole

Heart-Healthy Hemp Seed Tabouli

Tippy’s Cranberry Salsa

Chilled Poblano and Cilantro Soup

Chilled Poblano Soup in a white bowl


5 poblano peppers

3 medium zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow or white onion, thinly sliced

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup corn, fresh or frozen

1 tsp salt

½ tsp white pepper

2 cups cilantro, coarsely chopped

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

1 cup sour cream or plain full-fat yogurt

1-2 limes, juiced


  1. Preheat the grill to high heat.
  2. Spray the zucchini lightly with oil. Place the halved zucchini on the grill; char one side, flip and char the other side. Remove from the grill, roughly chop, and set aside.
  3. Place the whole poblano peppers directly on the grill. Roast until the skin becomes charred, wrinkled and loosed, turning them frequently.
  4. Put the poblano peppers in a bowl and cover, let steam for 15 minutes to loosen skin.
  5. Remove the skins and seeds from the peppers and chop coarsely. Place in a bowl with zucchini.
  6. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  7. Add chicken stock, poblanos, zucchini, corn, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until zucchini and onion are completely soft, about 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and add cilantro and mint.
  9. Let cool to room temperature, add the sour cream or yogurt.
  10. Put mixture in a blender or food processor, puree until smooth.
  11. Season with lime juice to taste. Chill 2 hours before serving.
  12. Serve chilled. This soup may be served slightly warm if desired.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe by Chef Lynda Lacher

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Did you make this recipe?

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About the Author: Daina Rasutis is a graduate of NTI’s Nutrition Therapist Master Program. Her background in Environmental Engineering has allowed her to combine the best of science with a love for nutrition, sustainability & delicious food. Follow Daina’s nutrition practice, cooking creations and lifestyle tips on her website:

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