Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Zucchini and Cilantro Soup with Chile and Mint

Looking for a soup that is transcendentally delicious?  Yep, this is it.   Here we have another example of how well zucchini pairs with fresh herbs, only now we have it in soup form.  You could serve this soup chilled on a hot day, or hot on a chilly day.  It's easy-going like that.

I have to say that when you taste this soup, it's not obvious what it is exactly.  It tastes like a delicious vegetarian tortilla soup.  You know there are herbs, you know there is spiciness, and you know there is a generally Mexican flavor.  But zucchini?  You might not have guessed.  This is a great way to use up zucchinis when you're sick of zucchini, or if you are trying to fool your picky children or husband into eating zucchini.  Or, you can feed it to zucchini-lovers and see if they recognize their favorite squash.  It's up to you.

This soup is rich and refreshing at the same time.  It's pretty amazing.  It's pretty great.  You should try it.

Zucchini and Cilantro Soup with Chile and Mint
adapted from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors
serves 4


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
2 medium-sized zucchini, quartered lengthwise and chopped
1 small bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves divided, chopped
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint
2 corn tortillas
salt to taste
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
juice of 1 lemon


1.  Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the chile, zucchini, cilantro stems, onion, parsley, and mint.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and zucchini is starting to get tender, about 10 minutes.

2.  Tear up one of the tortillas into pieces and add it to the pot.  Add a healthy pinch of salt and stir.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot.  Cook for about 15 minutes, or until zucchini is very tender.  Remove from heat.

3.  Stir in the cilantro leaves (save a bit for garnish if you like).  Let the soup cool slightly, then puree in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender, until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.

4.  In a small skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high.  Cut the remaining tortilla into strips and add to the hot oil.  Cook until crisp, then set on paper towels to drain.  Serve the soup garnished with a small mound of tortilla strips and reserved cilantro.



  1. What an array of different flavors - all mixed together to make what appears to be a delectable soup. A must try! And I have mint and parsley growing in my kitchen ~ how lucky is that?

  2. I have been trying to find something new to do with zucchini all summer - wish I'd run into this recipe earlier! I made two small modifications: first, I roasted the jalepeno (yum), second, I didn't have any tortillas on hand, but I did have some cooked white rice. So I tossed a handful in. The result was an unbelievably smooth, creamy, subtly flavored soup. Wonderful with a dollop of sour cream.