Basil Zucchini Soup

This cool basil zucchini soup recipe is everything I crave on a warm summer day. Top it with crusty garlic croutons for the perfect light meal.

Basil zucchini soup

Last summer, I had a lucky opportunity to spend a few weeks in France visiting vineyards, tasting wine, and of course eating great food. Whenever I travel, I come back with a list of recipes that I might want to recreate. Very often, the ones I actually end up making in my kitchen… the ones that stand out in my memory the most… are the simplest.

My Zucchini Soup Recipe Inspiration

Jack met me toward the end of the trip, which left me with some time alone in Paris while waiting for his flight to arrive. I knew exactly how to spend the day – I headed to the store Merci. Have you been there? It’s an Insta-worthy store full of home goods galore and it’s the sort of place that you should go to without your significant other because he’ll likely get impatient while you’re looking at every beautiful bowl, spoon, and table-scape.

They also have the cutest little library-themed cafe that was just perfect for my afternoon alone. The soup du jour was zucchini basil soup. “It’s a cold soup,” the waiter warned me before I ordered it. I thought – great, I love gazpacho. But when it came it wasn’t gazpacho at all – it wasn’t ice cold, and it wasn’t too acidic. It was this lovely bright green room temperature soup served with toasted garlic bread, and it was perfect.

Washing leeks for zucchini soup

I’m not sure what took me so long to make this soup at home but when method reached out wanting to partner on a series of posts inspired by the herbal scents of their new kitchen hand wash, I immediately thought of this soup. Their plant-derived formula is specifically made to get food scents off your hands – especially pungent flavors like garlic. If you’ve ever gone to bed (hours later) with garlic hands, you’ll appreciate this kitchen wash 🙂

Plus, the pretty basil bottle is looks lovely on your kitchen countertop.

Chopping zucchini for zucchini soup recipe Sauteeing leeks for basil soup

Why I Love This Basil & Zucchini Soup Recipe

I’ve tried to make basil soups before I realized that my mistake was in trying to heat it. The basil gets bruised and it can turn bitter. By keeping the soup at room temp (I like to serve it lightly chilled), it retains all of its fresh, vibrant flavor. The only thing that gets cooked here are the leeks (well, and the garlic-y croutons). After that, it all goes into the blender and voila!

There’s no cream or cream substitute. The blended zucchini and a scoop of hemp seeds makes this soup plenty creamy and, not to mention, light and healthy.

For depth of flavor I added a scoop of white miso paste. To make it bright, I added a bunch of lemon (of course).

Zucchini soup recipe ingredients in a blender Adding basil to zucchini soup in a blender

Blend until smooth and then add the basil last so that it doesn’t get hot from the heat of the blender.

Top the zucchini soup with toasty garlic croutons – this step is not optional. They really balance the “health” taste of this soup and make it nicely substantial. As always, soups taste better on the second day so this is a great make-ahead lunch option.

Creamy vegan zucchini soup in a blender Chilled basil zucchini soup with garlic croutons

If you love this zucchini soup…

Make classic gazpacho, watermelon gazpacho, or asparagus soup next!


4.8 from 13 reviews

Basil Zucchini Soup

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This fresh zucchini soup is so simple to make - just sauté the leeks and blend everything else together. It's the perfect light summer meal, and it's even better on the second day.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4 as a starter/side
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup sliced leeks (the tender white and light green parts only)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped + a few strands of spiralized or julienned zucchini for garnish
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
  • ½ tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 cup water, more as needed for consistency
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
garlic croutons:
  • 2 cups cubed sourdough bread
  • ½ garlic clove, minced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Instructions
  1. Slice the white and light green parts of the leek into rings. Rinse well, drain, and let dry.
  2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and cook until very soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Taste one, the leeks should be a bit translucent and should not have a bitter taste. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a blender, combine the leek mixture with the zucchini, hemp seeds, lemon juice, miso, water and a few grinds of pepper and blend until smooth. Add the basil and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon for brightness and salt to taste. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
  4. Make the garlic croutons:
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the baking sheet, toss the croutons with the garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until crisp, about 8 minutes.
  6. Serve the soup at room temperature, or lightly chilled, with the garlic croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.

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34 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Betty
    08.08.2021

    I hate it when people review a recipe and change it, but here I am. I didn’t have some of the ingredients, so I had to substitute. If that is your case, I don’t want you to miss out on this delicious soup. I used substitutes that were suggested when I searched online. I didn’t measure, sorry, but used about half of an overgrown zucchini. I sautéed some yellow onion then added zucchini to the pan with salt, pepper & garlic powder. Put this in my Versa blender along with some lemon juice, fresh basil, chia seeds and just a bit of soy sauce. Set to “soup”, but only until it was super smooth. Tasted, added a little more soy sauce, a few drops of worcestershire sauce and some more basil. Didn’t want to turn on the oven – toasted some french bread, lightly buttered & put on garlic bread seasoning, cut into cubes. Added it to the soup while I ate. I was going to wait for the soup to cool, but it was so good I ate it all long before it got to room temperature. My point? If I was afraid to substitute, I would have missed out on this delicious soup, which I’m sure didn’t taste exactly like the original, but it’s probably not that far off. Thanks Jeanine for a great recipe.

  2. Su Schatz
    08.02.2021

    This soup rocks! My niece made it twice for me and it was delicious! We have a Vitamix so texture was not an issue. We did use Walla Walla onions instead of leeks and upped the garlic and lemon juice. Does anyone one know if this freezes well?

  3. Vanessa
    07.25.2021

    Was hoping to love but didn’t. The consistency wasn’t right–more like baby food than soup–and I even sautéed the zucchini first based on other comments

  4. Ben
    07.15.2021

    Consistency was very rough. If I make this again I will cook the zucchini first, then it should puree better. It might bring out the zucchini flavor better too. Flavor was 100% better the next day when soup was good and cold, but I still had to double the lemon, basil, and salt.

  5. Emily
    07.07.2021

    I have a TON of zucchini so I was so happy to find this recipe! Would this soup freeze well?

  6. Diego
    06.29.2021

    Made this recipe with my mother and the consistency was not smooth at all. Despite pureeing multiple times with a ninja blender, the soup remained stubbornly lumpy. Flavor was good but disappointed by the texture

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.