Spicy Zucchini Soup

If you are using extra large zucchini, scoop out and discard the seeds first. And if the skin is thick or tough, peel it and discard the peels.

To make gluten-free: substitute the bread with 1 cup of chopped potatoes, cooked or uncooked, or cooked rice. If you use uncooked potatoes, you may need to simmer the soup a little longer. Or you can add a little cream at the end of cooking to help thicken it—just don't boil the soup.

Don't like mint or cilantro? Try substituting with basil or parsley.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile (or more to taste, depending on how spicy you would like the soup to be), seeds, stems and ribs removed and discarded, chopped
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 pounds chopped zucchini (skin on), about 5-6 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped day-old bread (or 1 cup rice or cooked or uncooked potatoes)
  • 3 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian or vegan option)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (spearmint), loosely packed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Lemon wedges (for garnish), optional

Method

1 Sauté the onions and jalapeño: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the chopped jalapeño, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions are translucent, but not browned.

2 Cook the garlic and zucchini. Add the garlic and zucchini to the pan and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle with salt.

3 Add the bread and liquids: Add the bread, broth, and water, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes. (Note: If you're using uncooked potatoes instead, you may need to simmer a little longer, depending on what kind of potatoes you use.)

4 Purée the soup: Remove the soup from the heat. Add the mint and cilantro (if using). Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, working in batches if necessary. (You can also use an immersion blender.)

5 Add lemon juice, salt, pepper: Return the soup to the pot. Add the lemon juice, along with salt and pepper to taste.

6 Garnish and serve: Garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of mint or cilantro. Serve hot or chilled. Keeps for up to a week in the fridge.