If someone asked me, “Do you like soup?” my answer would probably be a meh-ish, noncommittal shrug. (I don’t know why someone would ask me if I like soup. Just play along; I’m trying to make a point.)
Generally speaking, I’m not a soup-a- holic.
But then, if I think about it, there have been some memorably delicious bowls of soup in my life. Chicken soup with liver dumplings at the Cafe Savoy in Prague. A homemade Mulligatawny Soup I made with a McCall’s Cooking School recipe card. A green curry eggplant recently in Philadelphia.
So I guess it’s not so much that I don’t care about soup, I just need it to be something out of the ordinary.
I’m more surprised than anyone to find that I’m halfway obsessed with eating soup for breakfast right now. It’s an easy way to make sure I get a dose of veggies in the morning, and because it’s warm and cozy, it fills in for tea or coffee but I can eat it. Bonus! The soup-for-breakfast thing started with an attempt to recreate the eggplant soup from Philly, evolved through the experiments that produced Golden Cauliflower Soup, and have led to my most recent favorite: Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup.
This recipe was developed during my Whole30+Autoimmune Protocol, so it’s compliant with all of those rules, which means it’s free of dairy, grains, eggs, and spices. For what it’s worth, I’ve also kept the fat content reasonable. I’m not afraid of fat, but I’m on also not on the team that thinks paleo requires diving face-first into a vat of lard. There’s enough fat in the recipe to make it taste great, but it’s not overboard.
For those of you who must follow the paleo autoimmune protocol: good news! The ginger and garlic in this recipe give it a bite, so if you’ve been missing the heat of jalapeños or other hot peppers, this gets close. You can adjust the amount of ginger up or down to manage the heat, based on your taste buds. And you will be shocked at how creamy this soup is, without the benefit of dairy or coconut milk. I even tested it with some coco milk added, but it was overkill. It’s silky smooth without the added ingredient. (If you’re a tinkerer, you should also know I tried half broccoli, half zucchini, and it wasn’t nearly as good. I’m working a broccoli-only soup next, but trust me with this one: stick to the zucchini.)
Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup
Prep 10 min | Cook 60 min | Serves 4-6
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
4 medium zucchini, about 2 pounds, chopped*
4 cups high-quality chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon (mild) to 1 teaspoon (hotter) powdered ginger
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper, to taste (if you’re not on AIP)
*You can cut the zucchini however you like; see photo below for the safest way.
1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil in a large soup pot on medium heat, 2 minutes. Add onions, then smash garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife or the bottom of a glass and add to pan. Stir often and cook until the onions and garlic are soft and golden, but not browned, about 7 minutes.
2. Add the other 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil to the pan, then toss in the zucchini. Stir to coat the zucchini with fat, then cook ’til beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Let the zucchini cook 45 to 60 minutes until it’s very soft.
4. When the zucchini is soft, heat a small saucepan over low heat and add 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add the powdered ginger and stir to make a paste. Remove from heat.
5. VERY carefully, purée the zucchini and broth in a blender or food processor, or with an immersion blender. If you’re using a blender, work in batches, filling the canister only halfway and holding a towel over the lid while you purée. Pour the purée into the saucepan with the ginger paste, and stir to combine. Add the salt and pepper.
6. Cook on low heat, 5 minutes, just to combine the flavors. Eat immediately or store in a covered BPA-free container in the fridge.
Tasty garnishes: My favorite right now is dried or fresh chopped chives. The green tops of scallions are also yummy. You would not be remiss if you drizzled a little sesame oil across the top (but only if you’re not on the AIP).
Lesson Learned #1
It doesn’t matter how you cut the zucchini since you’re cooking it until it’s very soft and then puréeing the bejeezus out of it. However, zucchini is round, which means it rolls, and generally speaking:
rolly things + sharp things ≠ good things
Here’s what to do: Make sure your knife is sharp. Carefully (1) cut the zuke in half crosswise, then (2) cut those halves in half lengthwise to make half-moon-shaped logs, then place the logs flat side down, and (3) cut into 1/2-inch thick half-moons.
Lesson Learned #2
Use BPA-free containers with tightly fitting lids. This is what happens when your reasonably-priced, BPA-free container from IKEA bounces on your tile floor.
I love these IKEA, BPA-free containers for non-liquid ingredients. But ever since the Zucchini Soup Incident™, I use these more expensive, but more reliable, Rubbermaid BPA-free containers for liquidy things.
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