Zucchini basil soup is a light, refreshing soup that's perfect for summer weather. Pair with crusty bread and a side salad for a light lunch. This soup can be served warm or chilled.
If you love blended soups, like my zucchini leek soup and potato zucchini soup, you'll want to give this one a try as well! This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and filled with summery flavor.
Zucchini and basil are prolific in the summer, and this soup is a great way to use up that extra summer garden produce! It blends up velvety smooth and has a bright, fresh flavor.
The best part is this soup cooks up in about 20 minutes on the stovetop and reheats well all week long! Serve it for lunch along with a side salad and some crusty bread, or with your favorite protein for dinner.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - Makes your soup thick and creamy. The bulk of this recipe is zucchini, so it can't be omitted. Zucchini could technically be substituted with yellow summer squash if desired, but your soup will turn out more of a pale yellow-green.
- Onion and garlic - Enhances the flavor of your soup. I don't recommend omitting either of these ingredients.
- Olive oil - Can be substituted with your favorite neutral cooking oil.
- Broth - Vegetable broth or chicken broth works best in this recipe. If you'd like your soup to remain vegan, use vegetable broth only. I do not recommend using low sodium broth in this recipe because the broth adds a significant amount of flavor to the soup. If you need to use low sodium broth, make sure none of the other ingredients are omitted and consider adding additional fresh or dried herbs.
- Salt and pepper - Enhance the flavor of your soup.
- Lemon juice - The juice of half a lemon adds a bit of acidity and brightness to the soup.
- Fresh basil - A must for this recipe. Fresh basil adds flavor and color to your soup and shouldn't be substituted with dried basil.
When to add fresh basil
Fresh basil is delicate and wilts easily, so I recommend adding your basil to the soup just before blending (after it has been taken off the heat). The basil leaves blend seamlessly into the soup, so there's no need to cook them down beforehand.
How to puree hot soup
Your cooked soup can be blended with an immersion blender or a regular blender. If using an immersion blender, carefully blend your soup (off the heat) right in your stock pot. If using a regular blender:
- Allow the soup to cool slightly before blending. It shouldn't be boiling.
- Remove the center cap from the lid and have a kitchen towel ready to lightly cover the hole while blending. This is done to allow steam to escape. Otherwise, pressure can build up in your blender and cause splattering.
- Fill your blender no more than halfway with hot soup.
- Return the lid to the blender (with center cap removed) and lightly cover with a towel.
- Starting slowly and gradually picking up speed, blend your soup until smooth. Pour into serving bowls or another stock pot.
- Repeat until all soup is blended.
- If needed, reheat your soup over medium heat until warm.
What to serve with soup
Zucchini basil soup is a light, refreshing soup that is best served along with your favorite main course or another side dish for a complete meal. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Sandwiches - Grilled cheese, veggie wrap, BLT, egg salad sandwich.
- Main dishes - Baked chicken, sauteed shrimp, or a bowl of pasta.
- Bread - Crusty bread, biscuits, garlic bread, or croutons.
- Salad - Add a few heartier toppings to your salad for a complete meal, like crumbled bacon, cheese, chicken, or chopped walnuts.
Storage and reheating
Zucchini basil soup will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It reheats well in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat. This soup can also be served chilled.
This soup also freezes well. Allow your soup to cool completely to room temperature, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag. Soup can be frozen for 2 to 3 months when stored properly. If your soup does separate while thawing, it will easily come back together with a few seconds in the blender.
Zucchini Basil Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 24 ounces broth, vegetable or chicken
- 1.5 pounds zucchini, cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper, or more to taste
- ½ cup packed basil leaves
- ½ small lemon, juiced
- In a stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add diced onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they begin to brown and turn translucent. Add garlic and cook and additional 30 seconds. Add broth, zucchini, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes, or until zucchini are cooked through and soft.
- Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves and lemon juice.
- Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth, or transfer soup in batches to a standard blender to process until smooth (remove the center cap from the lid and lightly cover with a kitchen towel to allow steam to escape. Never fill a blender more than halfway full with hot soup).
- Add desired garnishes, like croutons, pesto, shredded cheese, or a splash of cream, and serve warm as an appetizer or side dish.
- Soup will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container and reheats well in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Soup can also be frozen for 2-3 months in a tightly sealed container (allow to cool completely before storing in the freezer).
- Recipe is written as a side dish to be served alongside a main course, or a hearty salad and crusty bread as a light lunch.
- Using low-sodium broth will reduce the flavor of this soup. If low-sodium broth is needed for dietary reasons, I suggest increasing the herbs to add extra flavor.