Do you have more zucchinis than you know what to do with? Are you looking for a new recipe that makes even slightly overgrown zucchinis shine? This simple and satisfying soup of Spanish origin will help you find gratitude for zucchini’s generosity. When you whip up and enjoy your first batch, the green fruits that have taken over your refrigerator and countertops will once again feel like a boon.
A Great Way to Use Any Zucchini…Even Overgrown Ones
Crema de calabacín translates to “cream of zucchini (or summer squash),” but this recipe doesn’t necessarily call for cream or any dairy products; see below for optional cow-creamy garnishes. The meaty flesh of the zucchini, or any kind of summer squash, blends to a creamy texture all on its own.
You can use any variety of summer squash, even those that are a little overgrown. As you cut into the squash, take note of how tough the skin and seeds are. If you’ve got a baseball-bat-sized zucchini that requires a lot of muscle to slice through, consider peeling and seeding it. In this case, you’ll discard the tough skin and crunchy seeds.
From Spain, by Way of Sonoma
The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Cookbook. The OAEC is an incredible research, demonstration, education, advocacy and community-organizing center in Western Sonoma County, in California. They are an ally and sister organization to Wild Abundance, sharing many similar visions, classes, and vegetables. Chloe, who co-produces our Online Gardening School had the good fortune of living as an intern at the OAEC for a season, and working as a cook there for a handful of years.
Recipe – Crema de Calabacín (Cream of Zucchini Soup)
- 2 cups chicken or pork bone broth, or vegetable stock
- 1 large or 2 small white onions, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- About 8 cups of roughly chopped zucchini or other summer squash (about 2-3 medium to large zucchinis)
- ¼ cup olive oil*
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3-5 Tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley (feel free to play around with other herbs here…basil, tarragon, and garlic chives are especially nice)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
*You may be tempted to use butter, lard, or another favorite fat here, but try to resist the urge. Olive oil is one of the wonderful flavors that bring this very simple soup together.
Optional Garnishes for Individual Bowls
- Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano or manchego cheese
- Dollop of yogurt or sour cream
- Swirl of heavy cream or creme fraiche
- Homemade croutons
- Drizzle of young, pungent olive oil
- Sprinkle of sweet or smoked paprika
- Chopped hard-boiled egg
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed stock pot. Add onions and cook until translucent, stirring a few times. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until very fragrant. Add chopped zucchini (or summer squash), and salt. Start with 1 tsp of salt, you can always add more later. Sautée for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the broth/stock to just cover the chunks of squash. Err on the side of adding too little, you can always add more later. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Simmer for 30 minutes or until zucchini is completely tender. Blend soup until it’s velvety smooth with an immersion blender, then stir in freshly ground pepper and chopped parsley. Add more stock, as needed, to get a creamy consistency that’s smoother than a purée but not watery. Add lemon juice, and any garnishes immediately before serving.
An Easy Way to Preserve Zucchini for Winter
Crema de calabacín freezes well, and is an excellent way to preserve summer’s bounty of zucchinis for the winter. If you plan to freeze the soup, omit the fresh lemon juice, pepper, and parsley or other herbs. Also, don’t add any garnishes before freezing. Be sure to leave plenty of headspace in your jars or containers, as this soup will expand upon freezing. Usually 1 ½” is enough room to allow the soup to expand without shattering a jar or pushing the lid off a plastic container.
When you’re ready to eat the soup, you’ll get to take a flavorful journey back into the summer sunshine, in the midst of winter’s gloom. Simply defrost, heat, and add fresh lemon juice, parsley or other herbs, and the garnish(s) of your liking. If the soup has separated, simply re-blend with the immersion blender once it’s warmed through.
Buen provecho! Enjoy!
To get tips on growing zucchinis and over 25 other vegetables, herbs, and berries, plus comprehensive foundational gardening content, check out our Online Gardening School.