Dream of Zucchini Soup

Are you lactose intolerant and miss eating cream of this-or-that soup?  Are you able to have dairy products and enjoy them but want to cut down on the fat and calories?  If you fall into either of the previous two categories, I have the soup of your dreams!

Not only am I lactose intolerant, I, like so many others try to avoid unnecessary calories where I can.  When I spotted a story in the Chicago Tribune some years ago about how to make a creamy soup without the cream, I was all ears (or, actually, eyes).  Basically, you take a pot and throw in a potato with whatever your choice of vegetable is along with some leeks and onions.  Sauté them in a little olive oil until they are soft and golden; then add chicken broth and simmer until all the vegetables are tender.

At that point I take out what is for me one of my favorite kitchen tools of all time, my immersion blender.  Place it in the pot and whir away until the soup is creamy and dreamy.  A little white pepper, a pat of butter, some fresh parsley, and a sprinkling of cheese and you will be singing this soup’s praises as I do every time I make it.  The soup is deliciously savory and has the most wonderful mouthfeel without a spoonful of cream.

I have substituted cauliflower for zucchini, and it was outstanding.  I’ve also tried it with carrots but prefer either the zucchini or the cauliflower.  Fresh asparagus season is right around the corner—that will be next up for me to try!

One year ago:  Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

Dream of Zucchini Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbl. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, quartered lengthwise, washed, sliced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. salt (will depend on sodium content of chicken broth and your taste preference)
  • 4 cups zucchini, sliced and cut into quarters
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cups chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth to make soup vegetarian)
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 tbl. chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese for sprinkling
  • Croutons, optional

Directions

Heat oil in soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes.  Add leeks and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften and begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add zucchini and potato; cook stirring often, until zucchini begins to soften, 5 to 7 minutes.  (If vegetables start to stick, add a little water.)

Stir in broth and heat to simmer.  Cover; simmer over low heat until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Purée soup in pot with an immersion blender (if you don’t have one, run—don’t walk—to buy one!).

Alternatively, purée soup in  batches in blender or food processor fitted with metal blade.  Return soup to clean pot (see—you won’t have to wash the pot if you’ve used an immersion blender and there won’t be any blender to clean either!) and heat through.  Season with salt and pepper.  If soup seems too thick, add hot water or more chicken broth to achieve desired consistency.  Stir in butter; sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan cheese and croutons if using.

Fran’s Notes

Skip the croutons, and this soup is gluten free!

This soup is creamy, but it is not stand-your-spoon-up-in-it thick.  If you prefer a really thick soup, then I would double the amount of potato.

Also, please note—this is not a hearty, rib-sticking entrée type of soup.  I usually serve it with a sandwich and/or salad.

Source:  A recipe I cut out of the Chicago Tribune many years ago.

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