You know how last week, I was all, like, find zucchini at all costs to make this cake and never use zucchini for another thing and blah, blah, blah? Yeah, well, forget those words ever came out of my mouth.
Because you are going to need some zucchini for this soup and I promise it’s going to be lifechanging. I swear I’m not even trying to be dramatic.
This soup is shockingly delicious. It’s creamy with a thick, velvety texture that tastes like you are eating the most decadent soup in the universe. Except there isn’t any heavy cream (or dairy) in sight. Ready for the lifechanging part? Zucchini makes up the luscious base of the soup. Zucchini! I know…get out! Zucchini is simmered in a garlic-leek broth and then blended to smithereens making a creamy base for the spinach and chicken (which by the way, I’ve left out the chicken completely a time or two making a great vegetarian meal). It has left me laying awake at night wondering how I can use zucchini as a “cream” substitute elsewhere in my life.
Not only is it creamy and delicious, it manages to be one of the most healthful, loaded-with-veggie soups I’ve ever put in front of my family. And additionally (I know, can you believe there’s more?), while I was a bit skeptical how it would be received, I mean it IS bright green for goodness’ sake, my kids ate so many helpings that there wasn’t any left when Brian got home late from work. I mean, who am I to say to my kids, “No sweetie, you need to stop eating a lifetime’s worth of spinach and zucchini now.” They were freaking out (in a good way) about the crazy green soup they were eating, positive it was giving them instant super-hero powers. I’m pretty sure they renamed the soup “Hulk Soup.” And don’t worry, I’ve made it three times since so Brian’s been able to get his fill and flex his own muscles, too.
My friend, Liz is the lovey who sent the recipe to me. She and I were inseparable best friends in our youth. Like, wearing matching outfits and making up choreographed routines to Michael Jackson songs. And I’m not even going to admit how long we played with our massive amounts of Barbies and accessories. Friends like that? Well, you totally trust the recipes they send you. And this one has landed into one of my favorite soups of all time.
Get your hands on some zucchini and make it.
No-Cream Creamy Basil Spinach Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 large or 2 medium leeks, green parts trimmed and discarded, white parts washed well and chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, and chopped (about 4 cups total)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- 2-3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1-2 cups cooked chicken
- In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic, leeks and zucchini. Stir in the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, 3-4 minutes, until the leeks have softened. Add 1 cup of the broth, cover and cook, stirring every once in a while, until the zucchini is falling apart and very tender, 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the basil. Carefully blend (in batches if needed). Pour the soup back into the pot. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth. Stir in the chopped spinach and cooked chicken and cook until heated through, 4-5 minutes.
Plan ahead since the recipe calls for cooked chicken – or just leave it out (like I’ve done a time or two – makes a delicious, vegetarian dish).
Follow @melskitchencafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!
Recipe Source: adapted from my childhood best friend, Liz P.