I can’t believe it’s already the end of October and the holidays are just around the corner! However, it feels like anything but outside, since we’ve been enjoying an unusually warm autumn in Toronto (no complaints about it, whatsoever, though!). Many days start off chilly, and by the afternoon, the temperature’s in the double-digits. So it’s no wonder we are all feeling a bit weather confused these days!
It’s also left me feeling the same way in the kitchen. The weather had me craving ice cream for Thanksgiving, and now, these balmy temps aren’t exactly inspiring me to start preparing recipes for the upcoming holidays!
So, for this week’s blog recipe, I decided to prepare a chilled zucchini, leek and basil soup. I normally think of chilled soups, like gazpacho, as summertime dishes. But this zucchini, leek and basil soup is actually perfect for these in-between types of days because it can be eaten warm or cold! It feels like something hearty for the fall and winter because of the velvety/creamy texture. But, it’s super light and refreshing, and extremely healthy! There’s no added cream and you can substitute the chicken bouillon cubes for vegetable stock or water to make this soup vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
To serve with this zucchini, leek and basil soup, I HIGHLY recommend that you do 2 simple things:
- Spiralize some extra zucchini; and
- Make your own croutons.
Both the spiralized zucchini and the croutons add such a nice texture to the soup, and make it more filling. And btw, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a spiralizer. I picked mine up at St. Lawrence Market for $20 and I bet it does the same trick as the much more expensive ones. Best investment I’ve made in the kitchen in a while!
If you have some micro-greens on-hand, feel free to add to the top of each bowl for garnish. I love the extra little pop of colour.
Here is the recipe. Enjoy!
Zucchini, Leek and Basil Soup
- 2 whole leeks chopped
- 1 shallot diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced finely
- 5 small to medium-sized zucchini chopped
- 2 bouillon cubes
- 5 cups boiling water
- 3/4 cups fresh basil chopped coarsely
- kosher or sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 sourdough baguette cut into slices and then cubed
- 1 lemon
- After you've thoroughly washed the leeks, chop the white and light green parts into rings and then halve them. Add leeks and diced shallot to a skillet or saute pan with 2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes until the leeks start to become translucent.
- Add minced garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.
- Add chopped zucchini and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is tender - about 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of fresh basil, and salt and black pepper to taste.
- Once the zucchini is tender, add 2 bouillon cubes and 5 cups of boiling water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the rest of the fresh basil, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon, and then purée the soup until velvety and smooth using a hand blender. Let stand until the soup becomes room temperature.
- Spiralize 1/2 of a zucchini into a mixing bowl. Add a couple pinches of salt and let stand for about 10 minutes, so the salt can draw water out of the zucchini. Drain and pat the zucchini dry.
- In a small sauce pot, bring water to a boil. Blanch the zucchini for 1 minute and then cold water shock it.
- To make the croutons, slice 1/8 of a sourdough baguette into slices and then cube. Toast the bread cubes in a skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt. Toss the bread cubes frequently to ensure they are coated and toast evenly on all sides until golden brown.
- When you are ready to serve, ladle soup into a bowl, top with spiralized zucchini, croutons and micro-greens (optional). Serve and enjoy!