September of last year yielded some epic zucchini harvests – and I do mean epic! The images from this post are from a small portion of last year’s crop. Hopefully we will see more of these giants! While there is still more of the growing season yet to experience, we have had some lovely large zucchini’s so far this year that are ideal for making soup. As we head down the home stretch of summer with fall just around the corner, soups have been calling to my husband’s and my tummy.
Funny little side story: “z-u-c-c-h-i-n-i” was my winning word in my school spelling bee as a fourth-grader. As a kid, zucchini was my least favorite vegetable and I would even pick it out of dishes well into my adulthood. I find I don’t mind it at all in blended soups like this one. Perhaps my life has come full-circle in this discovery. I digress!
I experimented with developing a recipe last year that would incorporate both the large amount of zucchini and mint our garden has continued to produce. Trying it out again this month has affirmed to me that this is indeed one of our favorites! I would just like to point out that the freakishly large zucchini in front pictured below yielded a grand total of eleven cups once chopped. Yes, my friends. ELEVEN CUPS.
When I went outside to do some mint leaf clipping, I was captivated by the busy bees working their magic on the blossoms. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have these glorious herbs! Their low hum kept me company as I worked on a my mini harvest.
I highly recommend smelling your fingers after pulling these off the stem. It’s instant aromatherapy wild-child garden style.
I headed back inside to do my prep work and found myself smiling more than I thought I would because I felt a special sense of connection to what I was doing. We grew those giant zucchinis and all that mint! There’s a real emotional satisfaction you can’t deny by living off your land in whatever way you are able.
Taking time to pause and snap these photos helped me to appreciate the sensual beauty, aroma and texture that unfolds every time I cook or bake. I love the experience of cooking because of how it helps me practice more mindfulness in the kitchen.
You know that smell when you walk in the door and you know someone has been cooking something delicious? Wally and I swear it’s all the doing of the garlic and onions. I love coming home to that smell and that feeling of home. We can create that atmosphere of security every time we cook. There is a joy that comes from making and from sharing in any form. It also doesn’t hurt to turn on some French style cooking music in the background… just sayin…
When I first created this last year, I decided I wanted to make this meal a little more special than usual, so I pulled out our picnic table cloth, a couple of lanterns and wreaths, and dressed up the setting a bit. The weather seemed to be threatening rain but held off and instead afforded us a cool, overcast evening. What I realized as we took our first bites of salad and sips of soup was that I need to do this more often. Want to know why? Because it makes me happy! I love to do it! Heck – it’s fun! I’m a believer in making memories by adding a little touch of magic in the details. Happiness is homemade, peeps. It really is though. Go out and make some!
From our table to yours, may this recipe bring some spice to your life and the lives you share it with, whatever time of year you choose to make it.
SPICY ZUCCHINI SOUP RECIPE
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (I use a food processor)
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (can use in place of a jalapeño)
- Dash of red cayenne pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through garlic press
- 6 cups chopped zucchini, seeds removed with ends trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 1/2 cups washed & chopped potatoes, any variety
- 6 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed
- Half of a 1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice (or more, to taste)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Cracked pepper, to taste
- 1 drop black pepper essential oil, optional
*NOTE: I doubled this recipe to use all 11 cups of zucchini and then froze the extra in quart-sized freezer bags to enjoy the delicious large batch longer for three more months.
1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. (Be sure to choose something large enough to cook in that will be able to hold all your chopped zucchini!) Add the onion, jalapeño (and/or red pepper flakes), dash of cayenne pepper, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the potatoes and garlic powder and combine well, sautéing for another 10 minutes.
3. Add the chopped zucchini and sauté for another 10 minutes, stirring often.
4. Add the broth and bring to a boil on high heat. Once the zucchini is fork tender, reduce the heat to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes (or until the potatoes are soft).
5. Remove the soup from the heat. Stir in the mint and cilantro. Purée with an immersion blender. If there are undesired chunks or gritty pieces when you taste-test it, I recommend using a fine mesh metal strainer to filter the soup. Rinse out any grit from the strainer in the sink. Several passes through the strainer should solve any texture problems and leave your soup silky smooth.
6. Add the coconut milk, lemon or lime juice, sea salt, and cracked pepper to taste (I do about 4 or 5 twists with the peppercorn grinder) and black pepper essential oil (if using). Stir well. Serve hot or chilled. Keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge or freeze in quart sized bags for backup meals year-round. Pairs well with a light garden salad and sourdough bread for dipping.