It’s chilled summer soup time! Gazpacho, Vichyssoise and Borscht are the most common. And for that reason, summer soups can be polarizing. Sad. Instead, try chilled zucchini soup. Cool, light, healthy and so, so refreshing. Happy!
Even one of British comedienne Catherine Tate’s sketch show characters (From the BBC’s The Catherine Tate Show) has something to say about gazpacho (“Cold. Tomato. Soup…” I laugh every time.). I’m convinced that the reason for some chilled soup’s poor reputation is in the execution, not the idea. Let’s correct that.
Take the lowly, common zucchini for example. With a handful of other ingredients, plus the magic of technique, it’s time to give bland zucchini and chilled soup another chance. Especially if you live in a hot climate, this is a great one to add to your repertoire.
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Chilled Zucchini Summer Soup
- 2 pounds zucchini (3 large or 4 medium)
- 1 medium sweet or yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely minced
- Juice of one lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (for my vegetarian friends, this recipe also works with a vegetable broth)
- 1 cup water
- 3 sprigs roughly chopped mint (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, or sour cream (optional)
- Heat a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and butter, diced onion, and garlic. Stirring occasionally, sauté the onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
- While the onion is cooking, wash and dice zucchini.
- Raise the heat to medium and add the zucchini to the pan along with the lemon juice and black pepper and cook until the zucchini is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. To test for softness, pinch a piece of zucchini after five minutes. If there’s no “give,” sauté for another minute. Once zucchini is softened, but not fully cooked through, proceed to the next step.
- Add broth and water. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 3 minutes until zucchini is tender. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the zucchini and broth to a blender* or food processor. Purée zucchini mixture, including mint, until your desired consistency (from chunky to smooth). Blend in batches, if needed.
- Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 30 minutes. Then cover and transfer the bowl to your refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Choices! A) Serve “as is,” B) Serve with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, or sour cream in each bowl, or C) Fully whisk plain Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, or sour cream into the soup.
*Don’t have a blender (or food processor)? No worries. Use the recipe above with the following changes: Finely mince the onion, hand grate the zucchini before sautéing, and finely mince the mint. Otherwise, it’s the same process.