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Zucchini cilantro soup

At one of our favorite fanschy-schmancy restaurants, The Village Pub, I had a lovely zucchini soup lightly flavored with something lemony: lemon zest, lemongrass, or lemon verbena — I wasn’t sure which. But this got me thinking of another way to get through our large supply of zucchinis: make soup!

My recipe is an adaptation of Deborah Madison’s Zucchini-Cilantro soup from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I added spicing to make it more Mexican-like in flavor, and took the liberty of using chicken stock instead of vegetable stock. (But by all means use veggie stock if you’ve got some good stuff on hand; I didn’t at the time.)

Garnish with queso fresco, or a bit of yogurt or cream or sour cream, if you want.


  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds zucchini, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch (about 1/4 pound) scallions, both pale and green parts chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ghee, or butter, or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 cup cooked basmati rice; if you don’t have leftover rice, use 2 tablespoons raw rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3ish cups hot water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • lime juice, to taste


  1. Sauté the zucchini, onions and scallion in the butter over high heat in a medium-to-large pot.
  2. When the onions have become translucent, and the zucchini somewhat softened, stir in the cumin and coriander. When those spices become fragrant, lower to medium high heat, and stir in the rice, chicken stock and water.
  3. Bring to an energetic simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes.
  4. Season with salt, turn off the heat, and stir in the cilantro.
  5. Purée with hand-blender. Add more hot water if it’s too thick for you.
  6. Season with freshly ground pepper and lime juice, to taste. Serve with optional garnishes.

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