So much of summer cooking revolves around vegetables. And chilly blender soups, gazpacho in particular, take advantage of the absolute abundance at the farm market.

Relying on garden-fresh ingredients, the zesty, tomato-accented soup becomes a delicious base for the addition of steamed shellfish (especially shrimp or scallops), flavorful herbs, a roasted (or grilled) root vegetable and various legumes (white beans in particular).

Lightly thickened and appropriately chunky, these soups are full of character, easy to prepare and pretty on the table. Garnish the bowls of soup with long, slender chives; diced ripe avocado tossed in squirts of fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley; crunchy, homemade croutons; or garlic-rubbed sourdough toasts.

The best texture for these soups is somewhere between pureed and chunky. To achieve this consistency, blend together some of the solids (diced vegetables) with a portion of the tomato juice, then stir in the remainder of the diced vegetables and juice. To avoid a muddy-looking soup with a murky taste, add chopped, snipped or hand-torn fresh herbs during the final mixing of liquids and solids or just before serving.

One more tip: Garlic is an essential in gazpacho, but it can overwhelm. For a temperate garlic taste, mash the fresh cloves with a little salt to form a paste, then add it to the soup. And don't leave out the olive oil, which adds flavor and helps to emulsify the soup base.

Summer Corn Gazpacho With Shrimp

(6 servings)

A quick turn in a saute pan with olive oil renders the corn just tender and, when cooled, all ready to stir into the vegetable-based soup. At the last moment, the gazpacho is ladled over chilled shrimp; adding the shrimp just before serving preserves their texture.

1 small clove garlic

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 ears corn, preferably white, kernels shaved from the cob

1/3 cup chopped onions

1 1/4 cups diced red tomatoes

2 1/4 cups vegetable-tomato juice, such as V-8

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup diced cucumber

1/4 cup diced celery

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

24 large shrimp (about 1 pound)

On a cutting board, mash the garlic clove with the salt to create a paste. Set aside.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the corn and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Transfer the corn to a small bowl; set aside to cool.

In a blender, combine 1/2 of the onions, 1/2 of the tomatoes and 1/2 of the vegetable-tomato juice. Blend on high speed until the solids are pureed, about 1 minute.

Pour the contents of the blender into a nonreactive bowl; stir in the remaining onions, tomatoes and vegetable-tomato juice along with the red pepper, cucumber, celery, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, parsley and corn. Blend in the garlic-salt paste, mixing well. Season to taste with the pepper. Cover tightly and chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Steam the shrimp until cooked through but not rubbery, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside to cool. Peel and devein the shrimp. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours.

To serve, place 4 shrimp in each soup bowl and ladle the chilled soup over the shrimp.

Per serving: 188 calories, 18 gm protein, 17 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fat, 115 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 224 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho With Dill

(6 servings)

The fragrant flecks of dill are a good counterpoint to summery yellow tomatoes.

1 large clove garlic

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups diced yellow tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped onions

2 1/4 cups tomato juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

Large pinch sugar

1/4 cup diced celery

1/3 cup diced cucumber

1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper

Hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons minced dill (feathery portions only)

On a cutting board, mash the garlic clove with the salt to create a paste. Set aside.

In a blender, combine 1/2 of the tomatoes, 1/2 of the onions, 1/2 of the tomato juice and the oil and sugar. Cover and blend on high speed until the solids are pureed, about 1 minute.

Pour the contents of the blender into a nonreactive bowl; stir in the remaining tomatoes, onions and tomato juice along with the celery, cucumber, yellow peppers, hot pepper sauce and vinegar. Blend in the garlic-salt paste, mixing well. Season with pepper to taste. Cover tightly and chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

To serve, stir the dill into the chilled soup.

Per serving: 78 calories, 2 gm protein, 9 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 379 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

Victory Garden Gazpacho

(6 servings)

The melange of diced vegetables, along with a splash of red wine vinegar, creates a bright-tasting cold soup. For the fullest flavor, stir in the basil just before serving.

1 large clove garlic

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup chopped onions

1/3 cup diced celery

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons diced red tomatoes

2 1/3 cups vegetable-tomato juice, such as V-8

2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1/3 cup diced cucumber

1/3 cup diced green bell pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon celery seeds

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 basil leaves, torn into small pieces

On a cutting board, mash the garlic clove with the salt to create a paste. Set aside.

In a blender, combine 1/2 of the onions, 1/2 of the celery, 1/2 of the tomatoes, 1/2 of the vegetable-tomato juice and the oil. Process on high speed until the solids are pureed, about 1 minute.

Pour the contents of the blender into a nonreactive bowl; stir in the remaining onions, celery, tomatoes and vegetable-tomato juice along with the cucumber, green pepper, parsley and vinegar. Add the garlic-salt paste and celery seeds and mix well. Season with the pepper to taste. Cover tightly and chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

Stir the basil into the chilled soup just before serving.

Per serving: 89 calories, 1 gm protein, 8 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 104 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber

Charred Red Pepper Gazpacho With Cucumber-Cilantro Yogurt

(6 servings)

Charred red peppers add a mellow and sweet-smoky edge to the soup.

For the gazpacho:

2 small red bell peppers

2 small cloves garlic

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 thin slice firm, stale white bread, crusts trimmed, torn into small pieces

1 1/4 cups diced red tomatoes

2 1/3 cups tomato juice

2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1/3 cup diced celery

1/3 cup chopped red onions

1/3 cup diced cucumber

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the cucumber-cilantro yogurt:

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1/3 cup diced cucumber

Hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste

Salt to taste

To serve:

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To roast the peppers: Preheat the broiler. Broil the red peppers on all sides until the skins are charred and blistered. Using metal tongs, transfer the peppers to a large stainless-steel bowl. Cover with aluminum foil and seal tightly. Let cool completely. Peel and core the peppers, taking care to remove all of the seeds; coarsely chop the peppers. (The chopped, charred peppers can be made a day in advance; refrigerate in a covered storage container.)

For the gazpacho: On a cutting board, mash the garlic cloves with the salt to create a paste. Set aside.

In a blender, combine the red peppers, tomato paste, bread, 1/2 of the tomatoes, 1/2 of the tomato juice and the oil and process on high speed until the solids are pureed, about 1 minute.

Pour the contents of the blender into a nonreactive bowl; stir in the remaining tomatoes and tomato juice along with the celery, onions, cucumber, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and parsley. Blend in the garlic-salt paste, mixing well. Season to taste with the pepper. Cover tightly and chill thoroughly for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

For the cucumber-cilantro yogurt: In a medium nonreactive bowl, blend together the yogurt, cilantro, cucumber and hot pepper sauce. Season to taste with the salt. Chill the yogurt mixture for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

To serve: Stir the chopped cilantro into the chilled soup, ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of the cucumber-cilantro yogurt mixture.

Per serving: 120 calories, 3 gm protein, 13 gm carbohydrates, 7 gm fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 476 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber

White Bean Gazpacho With Mint

(6 servings)

Cooked white beans provide a texture that contrasts nicely with the fresh vegetables, which are bolstered by the bright taste of chopped mint.

1 small clove garlic

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup diced red tomatoes

1/3 cup diced cucumber

2 1/4 cups vegetable-tomato juice, such as V-8

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup diced green bell pepper

1/3 cup chopped red onions

1/4 cup diced celery

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cup cooked white beans, such as great northern or cannellini

2 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint leaves

On a cutting board, mash the garlic clove with the salt to create a paste. Set aside.

In a blender, combine 1/2 of the tomatoes, 1/2 of the cucumbers, 1/2 of the vegetable-tomato juice and the oil. Cover and blend on high speed until the solids are pureed, about 1 minute.

Pour the contents of the blender into a nonreactive bowl; stir in the remaining tomatoes, cucumbers and vegetable-tomato juice along with the green peppers, onions, celery, parsley, hot pepper sauce, vinegar and oregano. Blend in the garlic-salt paste, mixing well. Season with pepper to taste. Stir in the cooked beans. Cover tightly and chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

Stir the mint into the chilled soup just before serving.

Per serving: 104 calories, 3 gm protein, 12 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 101 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber

Roasted Onion Gazpacho

(6 servings)

If you have an outdoor barbecue, cook the onions on the grill. First peel the onions, leaving the root intact, then quarter them; brush the onion quarters with a little olive oil and set them on the perimeter of the grill. Turn the onions from time to time until they char lightly on the edges and are cooked through and softened; cool the onions, trim away the root and coarsely chop.

Vegetable oil spray

2 small sweet onions, such as Vidalia

1 1/4 cups diced tomatoes

2 1/4 cups vegetable-tomato juice, such as V-8

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup diced cucumber

1/4 cup diced celery

1/4 cup diced green bell pepper

Hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

If you are not grilling the onions as described above, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with the vegetable oil spray. Place the onions on the prepared baking sheet and roast until softened, about 45 minutes (depending on the size of the onions). Set aside to cool completely. Remove the outer peel and trim the root end; coarsely chop the onions.

In a blender, combine the onions, 1/2 of the tomatoes, 1/2 of the vegetable-tomato juice and the oil. Cover and blend on high speed until the solids are pureed, about 1 minute.

Pour the contents of the blender into a nonreactive bowl; stir in the remaining tomatoes and the vegetable-tomato juice along with the cucumbers, celery, green pepper, hot pepper sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and parsley. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Cover tightly and chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

Per serving: 87 calories, 2 gm protein, 10 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 111 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber

Lisa Yockelson is at work on a cookbook about developing flavor in baked goods, to be published by John Wiley & Sons Inc.