All the zucchini growing in my garden, however, is forcing a new creativity in the kitchen. At some point, between zucchini relish and zucchini muffins, I remembered a delicious zucchini soup that my mom used to make. When I questioned her about it she knew exactly what I was talking about.
My mom’s zucchini soup came from an old packet of typewriter recipes that she got from her mother in law way back when. The ladies at my Grandmother’s church had all contributed their favorite zucchini recipes, typed them up and handed them back out at church. Somehow my mother got a copy and kept it all these years.
The old zucchini recipe packet includes goodies like Lucille Brower’s Zucchini Fruit Cake, which should be aged 2 weeks before eating it, and Doris Lowder’s Pineapple and Zucchini Bavarian Cream. A few of the recipes required a little sleuthing on my part to figure out what some of the ingredients meant, like 1/2 cup IMO in a Zucchini Cake – turns out it’s a brand of imitation sour cream from the 60’s. The zucchini soup, the one I remembered downing bowls of as a kid actually called for MSG, which I never realized was just used as an everyday spice from the pantry.
I didn’t know if the soup would live up to my childhood memories, nor was I certain it would taste as good without some of its outdated ingredients, like margarine and MSG, but with all the zucchini piling up on the kitchen counter, I figured I didn’t have much to lose.
The final verdict? Molly Baumgartner’s version was delicious but my updated version is just as good! No MSG in my zucchini soup, but the kids still proclaimed it their new favorite. It’s an old favorite for me and I’m glad to have rediscovered it.
This soup is thick, creamy and mild in flavor, which is why it is such a kid favorite. It’s an excellent starter, but we also eat it with zucchini muffins or a sourdough baguette and call it dinner. It’s quick and easy!
Note: I used Chicken Better than Boullion for an extra bit of flavor, but you can use any chicken soup base (or homemade if you have that too – Simple Bites has a great recipe!). If you want to make the vegetarian version, The Kitchn speaks highly of the Vegetarian Better than Bouillon soup base.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 3 generous cups sliced, unpeeled zucchini
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (like Emeril's Essence)
- 2 teaspoons soup base, divided (See note above. I used Better than Bouillon)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup cream or half & half
- In a large sauce pan or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until it begins to soften and look translucent. Add the zucchini, water, dried parsley, seasoning salt, and 1 teaspoon of soup base and bring to a boil.
- Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes or until zucchini is tender and about half of the water has evaporated. Remove from heat and carefully transfer to a blender. Puree zucchini mixture until smooth, set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour until well combined. Whisk in the milk, cream, and remaining teaspoon of soup base. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring continuously until mixture is thick. Combine the milk mixture with the pureed vegetables. Adjust seasonings. Thin with milk if desired. Eat warm.