Creamy Zucchini Garlic Soup (Without Cream)

Asparagus soup

I can’t sleep. And now I can’t see, because I’ve gone and plucked my contacts out, and my glasses are so old and scratched and bent that they hardly count anymore. I can’t move my head without them falling off, and ordering new ones seems to slip down my list of priorities as fast as my glasses slide down my nose, so if I decide to read or type anything after making that final commitment to blind myself at bedtime, I do so with my face an inch and a half from the screen. Which leaves me with a neckache, which doesn’t help with the not sleeping.

I blamed afternoon iced lattes for awhile, and a large snoring dog who’s starting to smell more strongly of river, and pre-dawn wakeups (kids can’t fall sleep when they’re overtired, right?) and now I’m wondering if this is just the way it’s going to be from now on.

I went downstairs and ate a bowl of Cheerios, even though I wasn’t hungry. I should have had soup.

asparagus soup 2

And so I flick through blogs and get more ideas that I’ll likely forget by morning, make notes to myself in the dark and send the occasional email while I’m thinking of it. And my latest fall-asleep-quick strategy is to imagine what’s in the very back of my fridge that I forgot about that I should use up, or what to do with those two enormous zucchini that have been sitting on the countertop all week. (One green, one yellow.) Because you know it’s exciting, but also kind of boring. Other people lull themselves to sleep thinking about George Clooney and his Italian villa; I ponder summer squash.

Yes, squidgy chocolate cake is the obvious choice, but not the wisest, as evidenced by the swift disappearance of three last weekend. My solutions so far: a curry, and a pot of soup. Some grated raw for the freezer. Still another left, because baking with a child-sized zucchini is a little like clowns coming out of a Volkswagon.

Also? I made a lovely pot of chicken stock this afternoon. When I went to strain it I forgot to put a container underneath, and poured it down the sink, the bones neatly left behind in the colander.

This soup is as simple as it gets. It doesn’t call for cream, but if you have some in the fridge and no reason not to add a glug or two, do it.

Asparagus soup
Asparagus soup

Creamy Zucchini Garlic Soup

Recipe link


September 16, 2013


a drizzle of olive or canola oil

a big dab of butter

1 small onion, chopped

3-4 big garlic cloves, sliced

1 large or 2 medium zucchini, about 1 1/2 pounds, chopped

4 cups (1 L) chicken stock

Salt and pepper


1In a medium pot, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes, until it starts to soften.


3Add the stock, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes, until the zucchini is very soft. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender (careful if it's hot!) and season to taste with salt and pepper. (If you like, add a good glug of cream.)


5Serves 4-6.


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13 comments on “Creamy Zucchini Garlic Soup (Without Cream)

  1. Jennifer
    September 16, 2013 at 1:29 am

    I love your sleeping trick!!! Alton brown also has podcasts, those help me sleep too. Zucchini fritters are good as well, a little feta and mint and it makes you want to actually buy zucchini.

  2. Jennifer Jo
    September 16, 2013 at 8:05 am

    The chicken broth story hit me square in the stomach and made me gasp-laugh.

  3. Jan @ Family Bites
    September 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Maybe we should Skype in the middle of the night instead of during the day since I’m also usually awake in the night. :)

    Love the sound of the soup. I honestly wouldn’t have thought to make a pot using just zucchini, but it’s brilliant.

  4. Carolyn
    September 16, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I think the not sleeping thing is part of being over 40. I too am seeing too many middle of the nights in the last couple of years.

  5. Margaret@Kitchen Frau
    September 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    That soup trick of yours made me laugh, as I’ve done similar before. And the not sleeping – can relate, too. My best thinking happens as I’m lurking around the house in the middle of the night – too bad my ideas don’t sound nearly as clever in the morning!

  6. angiebean
    September 16, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Love your simple recipes and I can’t wait to try this one. Zucchini is my go to summer veggie. I can’t get enough of it but get tired of the same variations. This is looking yummy! Your soup looks dark green in the photos. Did you peel the squash before cooking it?

  7. Beverley M
    September 17, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Oh no! The tragedy of the stock, what a waste. I think I would have burst into tears if it were me.

  8. eroica
    September 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Eyeshades and earplugs changed my life for the better, Without sleep, I’m barely human.

  9. Laurie from Richmond
    September 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    losing the chicken stock hit me in the stomach, even while it made me laugh. I do things like that when I’m tried, too. :(
    The soup is a fine idea now that the temps are falling, and the rain is starting.
    I no longer have a garden :( so I’m tempted by the farmer’s markets around here. Finding a use for zucchini is just what I needed :)

  10. Julie @ WolfItDown
    September 19, 2013 at 7:38 am

    I have just written this down for a possible near-future recipe to try out, it looks deeelicious! 😀

    Thanks for inspiring and giving us all so many good ideas 😀 I love cooking with zucchini, mmm x J

  11. Avery
    October 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I just got caught up on this post… pouring the stock down the sink made me laugh (sorry), because it’s something my Mom did once years ago, and she’s been telling the story ever since! Traumatizing!

  12. Sue
    November 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm


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