I’m happy to have resurrected this soup! Matt and I made it a long time ago when we were still doing the 800 sq ft apartment thing and then again when a friend of ours invited her dad over and we needed to fix low sodium, low fat recipes since he had recently had heart surgery. Matt’s father also has heart troubles, so it’s always refreshing to find healthy recipes to share that taste as decadent as a full-fat option. This soup is so perfect for the coming zucchini-overload we all will have soon (as it’s the only vegetable that seems to have no trouble in our awful climate) and basil, the herb that’s also hard to kill. It’s got all the depth of flavor of a soup that has been slowly cooked with butter and cream only – it has neither! It isn’t even made with stock – just water! So the sodium is only what you add for taste. I bet in one batch, I added a little over a teaspoon of salt. And it serves six! Can you tell I’m excited about this soup?!
One other merit of soups from a mother of a toddler’s perspective, is that they are a perfect way to get more variety of vegetables and flavors into our newly opinionated children. Olive has eaten zucchini, pesto, fresh basil from the garden, etc, before, but suddenly, she’s on a suspicious, won’t-try-anything-green bender. Drives me batty because I KNOW she would like most things if she’d just try them. Sound familiar? What does NOT work is forcing, tricking, cajoling, pleading, prodding or manipulating your kids to eat. They can smell your tricks a mile away and they’ve come prepared with an iron will. This is pretty natural and resistance is futile. But soups. Olive has willingly eaten this soup twice in the past 4 days. It’s green! It’s got darker green chunks in it! Why will she try it? My guess is texture. No chunks – pureed and easy to sip from a cup so she has full control. When Olive doesn’t want to try something, I ask her to just smell it. If she smells it, 99% of the time she’ll try a bite. And I’ve learned to be happy with One Happy Bite, as much as it flies against my need to control the situation.
So. If you have a child who is resisting new textures/colors/flavors, try soups. I know it seems like a regression back to the baby food days, but if that’s what it takes to keep the flavors and colors changing on your child’s plate, I say it’s worth it. Children get used to variety if variety is the norm.
Without further babbling, here’s the recipe! Also, I paired the soup with a not-so-saintly fritter made from leftover Stove Top Stuffing. No kidding. They were FABULOUS as a little crispy soup-companion! I topped them with herbed goat cheese and they tasted downright fancy. Happy Meatless Monday!
Zucchini Basil Soup with Stove Top Fritters*
2 lbs zucchini, peeled, trimmed and cut crosswise into 2″ pieces
1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups of water
1/3 cup packed basil leaves
Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat in a 3-4 quart stock pot until the onion starts to soften. Add chopped zucchini and about a teaspoon of kosher salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Cover with the water and let it come to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, until the zucchini is soft and easily pierced with a fork.
Add the basil and puree in two batches in a blender (watch out blending hot liquids and make sure it has a vent or you’ve got your hand firmly on that lid!) or, blend directly in the pot with an immersion blender, which is what I do. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with fritters, toast, or as a starter for your three-course fancy-schmancy dinner! 🙂
*taken from Epicurious.com
2 cups leftover cornbread stuffing
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
olive oil for frying
In a medium bowl, combine the stuffing, water and egg and if the mixture won’t come together after a bit of stirring, add a little more water until you can form the stuffing into small patties. I used a medium sized cookie scoop and it worked well. Heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil (or any vegetable oil) over medium-high heat and fry the fritters about 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and keep the cooked fritters in a 250 degree oven until the rest are done and you’re ready to serve. This will keep them crispy and warm!