Courgette (zucchini) soup

 

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If you grow vegetables or know anyone who does, then you might well be facing a glut of certain varieties right now (well in the Northern hemisphere anyway). Everyone I know who grows veg always seem to grow courgettes and runner beans in abundance. I have to say I’m a bit stumped over ways to make runner beans tempting and delicious, rather than tasteless, woody and stringy! But courgettes are another matter – cooked badly they’re the stuff of nightmares (watery, tasteless), but treated with the respect they deserve they can be wondrous.

This soup is perfect for a big harvest of courgettes, particularly less than perfect specimens, as it is really a recipe comprised of just courgettes and flavouring. You may think that there is no way you could enjoy a dish solely made from courgettes, but I promise you, as long as you treat them right you’ll end up with a wonderfully flavourful, silky smooth and unctuous soup. So next time you see that glut of courgettes, don’t sigh, think ‘mmmm, courgette soup for lunch’ instead!

Courgette (Zucchini) Soup (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or 1 tbsp per courgette used)
  • 3 courgettes, cut into fairly chunky slices
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of basil
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • Seasoning

– Sauté the courgette slices in the oil until nicely browned
– Add the garlic and basil and continue to cook until fragrant but the garlic hasn’t browned too much
– Pour in the stock and simmer for 10 minutes
– Blitz then taste.
– Season to taste
– Serve garnished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and basil leaves.

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Basil Hummus (tahini/sesame-free)

I’ve mentioned before the difficulty in avoiding sesame, making all store-bought hummus out of bounds. I’ve tried all sorts of hummus recipes that don’t contain tahini, but somehow they come across as insipid and lacking in the depth you want. This one uses tons of basil to impart a rich, deep flavour, meaning you don’t miss the tahini. And the vibrant green is quite appealing to dip into. Just take your time to balance those ingredients right, taste and season for all you’re worth. I find it always needs extra lemon right at the end myself.

Basil Hummus (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 1 bowlful

  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsps water, or juice from the chickpea tin
  • 2 large handfuls of basil
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt, depending on taste
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

– Whizz together all the ingredients in a food processor.

– Taste and adjust seasoning

– Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with paprika

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