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What is Zucchini Soup
This delightful zucchini soup is the perfect complement to your summer dining experience. It offers a light and refreshing taste, boasts a luxurious creaminess without any dairy, and presents a delightful opportunity to savor the finest zucchini harvest of the season.
During zucchini season, crafting a zucchini soup becomes almost mandatory. While zucchini takes the spotlight, the harmonious blend of onions, garlic, lemon, and a medley of herbs is the secret to its incredible flavor. And when you introduce cashews into the mix, the result is an irresistibly creamy sensation that’s bound to leave you craving for more.
Origin of Zucchini Soup
Zucchini soup is a dish that people love, and it has its origins in the cooking traditions of the Mediterranean and Europe. While we can’t point to a single place where it was invented, it’s closely tied to the history and farming practices of these regions.
Zucchini, which is also called courgette in some countries, is a type of summer squash that’s been grown for a very long time. It became especially popular in Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece, where cooks started using it in various recipes. As zucchini became a common ingredient during the warm summer season, creative cooks came up with ways to make delicious dishes from the plentiful harvest.
Zucchini soup likely developed as a clever solution to make the most of all the extra zucchini. This simple vegetable was transformed into a tasty and comforting soup by adding ingredients like onions, garlic, herbs, and other seasonings, which made it even more delicious.
As time passed, the recipe for this humble yet flavorful soup spread to other parts of Europe and beyond. People in different places put their own spin on it, incorporating local flavors and ingredients. Today, zucchini soup is enjoyed all over the world during the summer months. It’s known for being light, creamy, and refreshing, and it often comes in various regional versions that reflect the different cooking styles and cultures it has encountered.
Ingredients of Zucchini Soup
Just like with any other pureed vegetable soup, the key to enhancing the flavor of your star ingredient lies in incorporating these bold elements into your otherwise straightforward zucchini soup:
- Utilize around 4 medium zucchinis, with a combined weight of roughly 1 1/2 to 2 pounds.
- Onion & Garlic
- Embrace the aromatic synergy of onion and garlic for an infusion of rich flavor.
- Harness the creamy texture of cashews, ideal for seamlessly blending into your soup.
- Opt for either vegetable broth or chicken broth, depending on your preference.
- Elevate your soup with the invigorating tang of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Fresh Herbs
- My preferred combination includes parsley and dill, but feel free to experiment with any herbs that tickle your taste buds.
- Salt & Pepper
- Round off your creation with a judicious seasoning of salt and pepper, ensuring an impeccably balanced flavor profile.
Variations of Zucchini Soup
1. Italian Zuppa di Zucchine
In Italy, zucchini soup, or “Zuppa di Zucchine,” is a classic summer favorite. Italians often accentuate the simplicity of the dish with the use of fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, lending a Mediterranean charm to the soup.
2. Greek Kolokithosoupa
Greece’s version of zucchini soup, “Kolokithosoupa,” features a Mediterranean flavor profile with the addition of olive oil, oregano, and feta cheese. It’s often served cold, making it a refreshing choice during hot summer days.
3. French Soupe de Courgette
In France, zucchini soup, or “Soupe de Courgette,” is elevated with the inclusion of tarragon, a popular herb in French cuisine. It’s typically garnished with crème fraîche or a dollop of yogurt.
4. Spanish Crema de Calabacín
Spaniards create “Crema de Calabacín,” a velvety zucchini soup with a hint of smokiness from the addition of Spanish paprika (pimentón). Almonds may also be added for extra richness.
5. Middle Eastern Kousa Soup
The Middle East presents its own take on zucchini soup, known as “Kousa Soup.” It is often seasoned with warm spices like cumin and coriander and garnished with fresh mint and a drizzle of olive oil.
6. Asian Zucchini and Coconut Soup
In Asia, zucchini is paired with coconut milk, lemongrass, and Thai basil to create a zesty and aromatic soup that’s both comforting and exotic.
7. American Zucchini Chowder
In the United States, zucchini chowder is a popular variation. It combines zucchini with corn, potatoes, and bacon, creating a heartier and more substantial soup, often enjoyed during the cooler months.
8. South American Caldo de Zapallo
South America offers “Caldo de Zapallo,” a zucchini soup enriched with squash and spices like aji amarillo, providing a touch of heat and a vibrant, golden color.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
Zucchini offers a diverse array of vitamins, minerals, and valuable plant compounds. When zucchini is cooked, it becomes a particularly potent source of vitamin A, although the raw variety contains slightly less of this nutrient. Notably, zucchini’s skin is where you’ll find the highest concentration of antioxidants.
One of the standout qualities of zucchini is its high water and fiber content. This duo can work wonders for your digestive system, reducing the risk of constipation and alleviating symptoms associated with various gastrointestinal disorders. Furthermore, the fiber in zucchini has the potential to enhance insulin sensitivity and maintain stable blood sugar levels, which could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Zucchini’s contribution to heart health should not be overlooked either. The combination of fiber, potassium, and carotenoids may effectively lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other risk factors associated with heart disease.
When it comes to eye health, zucchini is a superstar, thanks to its rich supply of nutrients such as manganese, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins A and C. These components contribute to maintaining healthy vision and reducing the risk of age-related eye conditions.
Zucchini’s low-calorie, high-water, and fiber-rich profile can also be beneficial for managing hunger and aiding weight loss efforts over time.
Additionally, zucchini shows promise in promoting bone health, supporting thyroid function, and potentially possessing anti-cancer properties. However, it’s important to note that more comprehensive research is needed to draw strong conclusions in these areas.
Zucchini’s versatility in the kitchen is another feather in its cap. Whether eaten raw or cooked, zucchini can be incorporated into an extensive range of dishes, from soups and stews to sandwiches, salads, and even baked goods. Its adaptability makes it an excellent addition to a diverse and healthy diet.
Storing Leftover Soup
If you find yourself with surplus zucchini soup, no worries! This soup is ideal for storage, whether you’re saving it for the week or planning ahead.
Pop your remaining soup into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
For longer-term storage, freezing is a fantastic option. You can use freezer-safe containers, such as the beloved Weck Jars, or opt for the convenient silicone Souper Cubes, which make portioning a breeze. Your zucchini soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. To enjoy it again, simply thaw and reheat in a pot or microwave, and you’ll have a taste of summer whenever you desire.
- 4 medium zucchinis about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh herbs e.g., parsley and dill, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the zucchinis thoroughly and chop them into small rounds. No need to peel the skin.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until they become soft and translucent.
- Add the chopped zucchinis and raw cashews to the pot. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the zucchinis to slightly soften.
- Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth, ensuring it covers the zucchinis and cashews. If needed, you can add a little more broth to cover the ingredients completely.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the zucchinis are very tender.
- Using an immersion blender or a regular blender (in batches if necessary), carefully blend the soup until it’s smooth and creamy. Be cautious when blending hot liquids.
- Return the blended soup to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and stir well.
- Ladle the zucchini soup into bowls. Sprinkle fresh herbs (e.g., parsley and dill) on top for a burst of flavor.
- You can serve this zucchini soup either hot or chilled, depending on your preference. If serving cold, refrigerate for a few hours before enjoying.
- If you like, you can garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a dollop of yogurt, or some grated Parmesan cheese for extra flavor.