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Chilled Zucchini, Walnut and Basil Soup

Menu PartSoup
Chilled zucchini walnut soup

Chef Aida Mollenkamp

Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Zucchini season is just starting, with local crops beginning to fill produce bins and farmer’s markets. Chef Aida Mollenkamp created a refreshing soup that pairs the vegetable with another seasonal ingredient—fresh basil. Toasted walnuts, garlic and yogurt round out the flavors. It’s a tasty way to use the surplus when all that zucchini bread gets to be a bit much.


2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for garnish

1/2 lb. shallots (about 6), halved, thinly sliced

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 lb. zucchini (about 6), cut crosswise into 1/8-in.-thick rounds

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

2 cups  walnut halves, toasted (plus more for garnish)

3 cups (about 2 oz.) basil leaves, packed (plus more for garnish)

1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt

1 tsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed


  1. In large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil. When it shimmers, add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook until fragrant.
  2. Stir in zucchini, salt and pepper; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is very soft, about 10 minutes. Add broth and simmer until zucchini is falling apart, about 20 minutes.
  3. Place half the zucchini mixture and half the walnuts in food processor; process until smooth, at least 2 minutes (use caution when blending hot liquids.) Transfer to medium bowl; repeat with remaining soup.
  4. Set bowl into a large bowl of ice water; set aside to cool, stirring occasionally until room temperature, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Transfer soup to refrigerator and chill thoroughly, at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, blend or puree basil, yogurt and lemon juice together until smooth. (Soup can be made through this step up to 3 days ahead. Store soup and yogurt mixture separately in the refrigerator, covering both.)
  6. Just before serving, stir in yogurt mixture, taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve topped with chopped walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil and a few torn basil leaves.

Photo courtesy of California Walnuts

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