Coconut melon soup is served with a small scoop of coconut sorbet and a shower of fresh mint. (Photo by Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

Coconut melon soup is served with a small scoop of coconut sorbet and a shower of fresh mint. (Photo by Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

This dessert could be cooler than ice cream on a hot day

Once you have tried this coconut melon soup, you might find yourself craving it instead.

Here’s a creamy, sweet, chilled dessert that’s arguably more refreshing — and better for you — on a hot summer’s day than a bowl of ice cream.

This cool melon soup makes the most of juicy cantaloupe or honeydew by blending it with lime juice, coconut milk and a touch of honey, all of which provide subtle layers of flavor and add creaminess; when you use honeydew, the soup becomes a stunning, pale celadon color.

After chilling thoroughly in the refrigerator, the soup is served elegantly in bowls with a small scoop of coconut sorbet and a shower of fresh mint. It definitely tastes like dessert, but one that is exceptionally quenching because it is lighter than it is than rich.

I don’t mean to imply you need to forgo the occasional ice cream this summer — it’s just that once you have tried this dish, you might find yourself craving it instead.

Coconut melon soup

Here, juicy melon is blended with honey, lime juice and coconut milk then chilled and served elegantly with a small scoop of coconut sorbet and a shower of fresh mint. It makes a refreshing dessert on a hot summer’s day.

Make ahead: The soup needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days before serving.

5 cups packed cantaloupe or honeydew chunks (from a 3½-pound melon, peeled and seeded)

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

½ cup unsweetened light (low-fat) coconut milk

½ cup store-bought coconut sorbet

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, for garnish

Combine the melon, honey and lime juice in a food processor; puree until smooth. Add the coconut milk and pulse to incorporate. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

To serve, ladle the soup into individual shallow bowls. Place a scoop of sorbet at the center of each portion, then top with the chopped mint.

Makes 4 to 5 servings (about 4 cups). Nutrition per serving (based on 5): 120 calories, 2 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, no cholesterol, 35 milligrams sodium, 1 grams dietary fiber, 19 grams sugar.

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