While I personally didn’t manage to coax a single squash out of my insect-infested garden this summer, some of you are lucky enough to be reaping in piles of the stuff. So the zucchini part of this recipe is for you. The basil part of it is for me: next to okra, it’s the most prolific crop I managed to grow this year. Combined, the two summery ingredients seem made for each other, the basil lending its pungent pepperiness to the bland zucchini.
Basil may provide the predominant flavor in this lively soup, but zucchini is the main ingredient. After cooking, it’s blended until smooth with the basil and other seasonings, and then the soup is served with strands of raw, shredded zucchini. The thin shreds soften in the hot soup but still retain some crunch.
We loved this creamy zucchini soup. Even E, who usually avoids zucchini, finished her first bowl and went back for seconds. She described it as “like pesto in soup form,” and she’s right. We ate it as a starter course, but add some white beans and you’ve got a heartier, main dish soup. Give it a try before zucchini and basil go out of season.
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup
- 2 pounds zucchini (about 5 small to medium)
- 1 large Vidalia onion , chopped
- 4 cloves garlic , crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 cups vegetable broth (I used Imagine No-Chicken)
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves , packed
- 3 tablespoons raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- additional salt & pepper , to taste
- Set aside one of the zucchini; trim and coarsely chop the rest.
- Cook onion in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chopped zucchini, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Pour into a blender (in 2 batches, if necessary) taking care to avoid burns by not filling the blender more than halfway. Add the basil, cashews, and nutritional yeast and blend until smooth.
- Return soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm. Shred the remaining zucchini with a spiral slicer, mandolin, or grater. Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle grated zucchini over top.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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KathleenJuly 14, 2012 at 11:33 am
Just made the zucchini basil soup….deliciously creamy! Thank you fir this wonderful fat free recipe!
LeahJuly 25, 2012 at 5:31 pm
I love this soup! Thank you so much! I’ve been looking for a great recipes that I can make with my homegrown foods (squash, cucumber and tomatos mostly). Can’t wait to surf around your site and pull up other yummy recipes!!
SarahJuly 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm
Just made it and it is AMAZING!!!! I did add lentils and sprouts on top to make it a little more hearty to eat as a main dish.
mimiAugust 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm
This is a fantastic recipe. I made it as written, adding a bit more garlic, Ms. Dash (garlic herb), a bit of cayenne, T of cajun browning liquid, 2 T lemon juice and doubled the cashews and nutritional yeast. Fantastically easy and soooo soooo good. Thank you!
JenniferAugust 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm
A-MAZING! I searched your site looking for something to do with my zucchinis and this soup was it. This was SO delicious and CREAMY!! A real winner. Thank you so much for your fantastic recipes!!
ClaudiaAugust 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm
Thanks Susan for posting this delicious recipe! I made it a few nights ago and it was beyond delicious! I didn’t blend the soup long enough, though, because it wasn’t as smooth as yours is in the pictures. Also, mine was way lighter in color than yours is in the pictures. I skipped the cashews, but ended up putting it over whole wheat pasta as a pasta sauce of sorts. My hubby LOVED it! 🙂
Radhika SarohiaDecember 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm
I like both basil and zucchini:)
debalou3May 5, 2013 at 12:43 pm
This soup was wonderful….and so easy!! Plus another chance to make “noodles” with my new toy..
BrendaJuly 6, 2013 at 11:01 am
WOW!! I didn’t expect this soup to have as much flavor as it does!! REALLY tasty and satisfying!!
I’m not much of a zucchini fan, but our CSA just delivered the hugest zucchini I’ve ever seen, plus a batch of basil and onions (and lots of other goodies). A search on your site, Susan, for “zucchini” brought up this tasty recipe!! Thanks again for another great (and EASY!!) recipe.
Picture here (sans the cute zucchini swirls on top!!):
TanyaJuly 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm
Hi! Just wanted you to know that I made this raw. I just put it all in the Vitamix and puréed it. Maybe next time I’ll use less onion (a little over powering) and start with 2 cups of broth and build from there but overall it is a winner. I served it cold. Thanks for the inspiration!
Laura PowellSeptember 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm
Wow, looks tasty! We cannot eat any dairy or gluten, plus we are vegans, so I am finding and inventing as many great recipes as possible. I am growing a couple kinds of basil indoors. I found freezing directions for basil and also zucchini, so it would be wonderful to enjoy this soup any time of year. I love your blog! Easy to follow. These dietary changes are fairly recent. At first I was stumped, bummed, and hungry, but now I wish everyone could enjoy all these scrumptious recipes! I will stay tuned to FatFree Vegan for more ideas. Thank you for the recipe to help us eat all this basil!
clareSeptember 10, 2013 at 1:32 am
I made this last week and loved it. I’d tried to recreate the taste of my old version of courgette soup from the days when I used oil and dairy and hadn’t been able to make anything I was happy with …….until now. The addition of the cashews is inspired ! It makes the soup so creamy and full bodied with an acceptable amount of fat per portion. Our fresh basil here in Cyprus is very strong so I had to use less but it is a wonderful combination. Thanks Susan.
BobbiJuly 15, 2014 at 6:25 pm
This soup was fabulous! Thank you!
EileenJuly 15, 2014 at 7:54 pm
Thank you so much for this amazing recipe. My husband brought in 5 large zucchini from his garden tonight and I was in a panic figuring out what to do with them all before they spoil. I sent him back out for Basil and Scallions. I made this wonderful soup and the zucchini fritters from your website and both were absolutely delicious! Two zucchini down and three to go 🙂
Tomorrow will be your zucchini muffins and your farro grilled zucchini salad.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Esther JJuly 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm
This was so simple, quick, and full of flavor.
I made it as is, except I added more pepper at the end.
Thanks again, Susan! 🙂
JulieAugust 8, 2014 at 11:29 pm
The first time I made this soup a few weeks ago I nearly swooned because it tasted so delicious! We have had some bowling pin sized zucchini’s that seem to hide from us while they are “medium” sized and then suddenly, bam, they are huge. If the peel seems rather tough we just cut it all off and run the zucchini through the kitchenaid shredder before cooking it, rather than chopping it. The sweet onions are available this time of year too and seem to go perfectly with zucchini. We like to serve this soup over cold quinoa, which helps cool it down and makes the soup so filling it is almost a meal in itself. Once I got carried away and probably doubled the basil, don’t do this, it ruined the subtlety of the flavors. I leave out the salt and pepper as well, finding Seitenbacher Vegetarian Vegetable Broth flavorful enough. You’ve outdone yourself on this one Susan!
CarrieAugust 22, 2014 at 1:05 pm
I only discovered this recipe a few weeks ago. It’s absolutely delicious! I add a little more basil and use less broth but otherwise the same. Today I used patty pan squash since I had so much. Outstanding! I now have both zucchini and patty in the freezer for cold winter days.
AinsleySeptember 26, 2014 at 5:03 pm
OK. I think this might be THE best soup I’ve ever eaten. I made a double batch, and it’s awesome.
Is there any chance that you are thinking of writing a cookbook? I would loooooove that.
Jessica SSeptember 15, 2016 at 7:51 pm
I had some similar soup at a Sweet Tomatoes restaurant. After looking around for similar recipes I made this Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup today and I really enjoy it. Thanks for the recipe!
NancyJuly 23, 2017 at 7:54 pm
I just devoured 2 bowls of Creamy Zucchini Basil Soup. I was not sure as to what to expect because I never added that much basil to a dish before. But, OMG! this is a great soup. I need to raid my mom’s garden for more zucchini and basil now.
DesireeSeptember 3, 2017 at 7:07 pm
I cube and simmer some of the zucchini off to the side in broth, and add it back in after I purée the rest, to make it more of a bisque, rather than doing the raw zucchini on top. I add more basil, and a lot of vegan Parmesan. I love this recipe!
JulieSeptember 9, 2017 at 6:59 am
best soup I’ve had in a long time! Superb with toastd flaked almonds on top of spiralised courgette adding even more crunch and depth of flavour
JacquiNovember 27, 2017 at 2:44 pm
This was really good. My husband loved it. Thank you.
KayJune 9, 2019 at 5:10 pm
Fantastic, creamy, rich, full of flavor and green ish! I have my first summer garden in six years and could not find my zucchini soup recipe, copies from a dentist’s office magazine 15 years ago. Susan, I knew you would have one, I didn’t know it would be exceptional! Basil grows like weeds here and I love it, and I love zucchini and I love summer food and I love your soups! It’s a love fest. 🙂 Thank you for another quick and easy delicious recipe.
KayJune 9, 2019 at 5:11 pm
SusanSeptember 18, 2020 at 2:52 pm
Another wonderful recipe that I have made multiple times. We found a huge zucchini under all the foliage and I thought of this recipe immediately. I also had just made chick peas in my instapot so I used the bean liquid in the soup. So delicious! I will add some chick peas to my soup tonight. Thank you Susan.
CindyOctober 17, 2020 at 1:52 am
I made an amazing variation of this soup because I was out of fresh basil:
– I subbed 1 tsp garam masala (for the fresh basil)
– I PEELED my zucchini & pureed all of it at the end (no shreds in the soup).
– Blended in 1/2 cup cooked carrots to improve the color.
The end product was so tasty & comforting. & the Mid-Eastern flavors were lovely. My husband thought it was the best ever! I’m sure the original recipe with fresh basil is outstanding . . . & will be making it soon. Thank you so much!
Susan VoisinOctober 17, 2020 at 9:10 am
Mmmmmm, that sounds so good! Thanks for sharing!