Zucchini is pleasurably deceptive. Who would have thought that it could be transformed, with just a little puréeing, from a watery vegetable into a creamy, satisfying soup? Here, its subtle flavor is enhanced by a note of umami from kelp, and a bright perk from basil. For a simpler variation, swap out the suggested garnishes with a spoonful of tapenade.
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
• 2 large cloves garlic, minced
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 pounds zucchini, trimmed and sliced thin
• 2 teaspoons kelp granules
• 4 cups vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
• Sea salt and ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin, plus additional for garnish
• 1/4 cup hemp seeds, plus additional for garnish
1. In a large saucepan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and thyme leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add bay leaf, zucchini, kelp, broth, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Increase heat to bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.
3. Remove from heat, discard bay leaf, and add basil and hemp seeds. In batches, transfer to a blender, and puree until smooth, or use a hand blender.
4. Return blended soup to stovetop and keep warm on lowest heat until ready to serve — adjust seasonings as desired. Serve warm, drizzled lightly with olive oil and sprinkled with hemp seeds and freshly ground black pepper. Scatter a few basil leaves over the top.For freezer friendly tips visit: Freeze Your Foods for Fall