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.
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