From the author, Stefan: You’d be hard pressed to believe that this light yet satisfying creamy zucchini basil soup has no cream or dairy in it whatsoever. (Seriously – it’s kind of amazing.) A great light lunch or dinner (make sure you have bread on hand), or a terrific first course, this recipe comes together quickly, uses only a few ingredients, and is delicious any time of year.
From Plant-Based on a Budget: This creamy zucchini basil soup is made with just 6 simple ingredients for a velvety smooth and creamy soup that’s 100% dairy-free and naturally vegan – perfect for serving up warm or chilled during the Summery zucchini season!
Smooth and Creamy Zucchini Basil Soup
If you want a velvety, creamy zucchini soup that’s 100% dairy-free (that’s harder to find than you’d think!) and just 6 simple ingredients – well, you’ve found it with this creamy zucchini basil soup! This zucchini soup is a wonderful way to enjoy the bounty of zucchini this summer. It takes just 45 minutes to prepare and makes for an excellent appetizer or light lunch/dinner at any time of the year!
Usually, we’re sharing hearty, comforting winter soups, but there are still plenty of summer-friendly options, too. Along with this creamy zucchini basil soup, you might also enjoy creamy asparagus soup, southwestern soup, veggie ramen, and Turkish tomato and red pepper soup with bulgur– especially if you live somewhere where summer doesn’t necessarily mean great weather!
Zucchini naturally has a fairly subtle flavor, making it an excellent option for a light and refreshing summer soup. In fact, you can enjoy this soup hot, at room temperature, or chilled, and it will still impress all. More so, it tastes even better on day two, so you can even meal prep it in advance!
Best of all, this zucchini soup recipe makes for a great addition to any large gathering. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, and yet delicious! Then, if you’re looking for more ways to use up your summer bounty of zucchini, why not try one of these further 13 delicious zucchini recipes, including a healthy side of zucchini potato casserole or a dessert-like banana zucchini cookie recipe.
The Ingredients and Substitutes
- Zucchini: You’ll need 2lb of zucchini for this zucchini soup, so stock up! You could also use a combination of summer squash and zucchini, but the color will vary, and it may be slightly sweeter and need additional seasoning.
- Oil: This recipe uses a ¼ cup neutral cooking oil for sautéing the various ingredients. However, you can also add some extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle over the top of the soup for flavor and mouthfeel.
- Aromatics: A simple combination of onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes (adjusted to personal taste) is all that’s needed for this simple zucchini soup.
- Basil: Freshly picked is best, if possible. But supermarket-bought basil will work too.
- Water: For more flavor, you could optionally use a little vegetable stock/broth (I wouldn’t recommend using JUST stock as it can overpower the subtle zucchini flavor- 2 cups of stock would work, though).
- Salt & Pepper
- Creamy elements: This soup is naturally ‘creamy’ without any dairy/dairy-alternative. However, if you want to boost it further, you can serve the soup with a swirl of dairy-free cream or yogurt. You could also add some coconut milk directly into the soup.
- Miso: For further depth of flavor and added umami, you can add a spoonful of white miso to the zucchini soup recipe.
- Lemon/Lime: A little spritz of fresh citrus juice can slightly brighten up the zucchini soup. Serve the soup with a wedge of lemon/lime to allow guests to choose if/how much to add.
How to Make Creamy Zucchini Basil Soup?
Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and recipe instructions!
- First, prepare all the ingredients by finely chopping the onion and garlic and slicing the zucchini.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan/Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the zucchini, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the water (or stock) and simmer until the zucchini is tender. This usually takes between 15-20 minutes.
- If you’re not using an immersion blender directly in the pan, then transfer half the mixture to a large blender and add half the basil (to avoid bitterness, you can partially blend the soup then add the basil in the last few seconds), then puree until smooth and transfer to a large bowl then repeat with the remaining half. Then season with salt and pepper to taste, and optionally serve with a drizzle of olive oil (or dairy-free cream) over the top when serving.
Serve alone, topped with croutons, or with a side of crusty bread and dairy-free butter and a simple side salad, for a simple, wholesome meal.
How to Make Ahead and Store?
Like many soups, this creamy zucchini basil soup actually tastes even better on the second day, so feel free to make it a day in advance. Once pureed and ready, the soup will store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
I haven’t tried freezing the zucchini soup, though it should work as it’s already pureed. I recommend freezing in individual portions for up to two months then allowing to thaw in the fridge before reheating. Then, give it another blitz in a blender to bring it back to a super smooth consistency, if needed.
You can reheat the leftover zucchini soup either on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.
Can I use other herbs instead of basil?
Yes, feel free to adjust the herbs based on what you have. For example, Dill, Thai basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint would all work.
Do you need to peel the zucchini for soup?
Nope – it will tenderize wonderfully and add extra nutrients, so I actually recommend that you don’t peel them.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Be careful when blending: Blending hot soup in a blender/food processor needs to be done with care. If you have a machine with a chute, use it (to allow steam to escape). Otherwise, make sure to only fill your blender halfway and hold down the lid (with a kitchen towel) to stop the top from popping off from steam build-up. Give the machine breaks, opening the lid for steam to escape.
- Serve hot or cold: This zucchini basil soup is refreshing enough that it can be enjoyed hot, at room temperature, or chilled and will taste delicious regardless.
- Don’t overheat the basil: The reason why it’s only added right at the end is that basil can become bitter when overheated and bruised too much. The same goes for when it’s blended – try not to over-blend or overheat it to avoid any grassy/bitterness.
- Adjust the garlic: I love the punch that garlic adds to this simple vegan zucchini soup. Feel free to increase the amount used/adjust it to personal taste. You could even use some roasted garlic for a more mellow, caramelized flavor.
More Vegan Zucchini Recipes You’ll Love
- 1/4 cup of neutral (canola, vegetable) oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 2 pounds of zucchini, chopped
- 3 cups of water
- 1/3 cup of basil leaves, packed
- Salt and pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the zucchini, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt, and cook 5 minutes more. Add the water and simmer until the zucchini is tender, around 15-20 minutes.
- Transfer half the zucchini mixture to a blender, add half the basil, and puree until smooth, and transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the other half of the zucchini mixture and basil. (Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can add the basil to the zucchini mixture and puree the whole thing right in the pot.) Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil over the top.