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!

4.6 from 23 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.
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4 as a starter/side
  • 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
  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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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Stephanie

    I’m allergic to citrus (lemon/lime). Any suggestions for substitutions?

  2. Jason

    Delicious, never thought I’d love a cold soup!

  3. jodi

    Can I use onion vs leeks?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      A yellow onion might work, I haven’t tried.

  4. rachel

    looks so good! any recs for subbing the leeks? Maybe some onion?

  5. Wow, not only is this absolutely gorgeous, it looks incredibly delicious too! I’ve been looking for a recipe to use some of my miso in, and this is just perfect, thanks!

  6. Neni from

    The colour is so vibrant!
    Have to get Miso next time, so I can try this recipe out.

  7. Audrey from

    This looks so delicious!! Also, I had no idea Method makes kitchen washes… I’m going to have to try this! Nobody likes garlic/onion hands!

  8. AGS

    Could blanched almonds sub for the hemp seeds? We find the taste off-putting in our family.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      they could – I would soak them the night before so that they blend creamy.

  9. Nathalie

    Any suggestions for a replacement for the miso? I’m not eating it right now. But the soup looks so amazing I really want to try it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      just add more salt, to taste!

  10. Stevie Y

    Very tasty soup! Would definitely make it again. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      So happy you enjoyed it!

  11. I LOVE herbal scented hand soaps… I have a lemon-lavender soap in my kitchen right now and it’s divine. I’d love to try basil though! 🙂

  12. I am surprised you don’t cook the zucchini. Hmmmm.
    Will have to try this in a few months when zucchini and basil are in season.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      it’s great raw! Also, it heats up just a tad in the blender with the cooked leeks.

  13. johanne from

    That pale green is the color of early spring. Charming soup.
    Funny you write that about getting the taste of garlic off your fingers. When my daughter was a baby she once grabbed my fingers at the dinner table and sucked all the garlic taste off. She’s a weirdo like her mom.-Hanne

  14. Mel

    This looks delicious! Does it keep in the fridge for a few days?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Yep! It tastes even better on the 2nd 3rd and 4th days.

  15. Brandie

    This looks delicious! Is there anything you can recommend as a substitute for hemp seeds (e.g., flax, sunflower seeds, etc.)? I don’t typically keep hemp seeds on hand. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Brandie, sunflower seeds would work, or you can just skip the seeds!

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.