My hubby said this vegetarian zucchini soup was “exciting,” and that surprised me. Maybe it will surprise you too.
Considering how bland zucchini is, I must have done something right by combining the summer squash with cauliflower, fennel, and curry powder.Jump to Recipe
It might also have something to do with the vibrant fresh herbs, like the basil, parsley, dill, and/or cilantro that I mixed in after the vegetables were fully cooked, and well … the toppings.
I served his vegetable soup with parmesan cheese on top.
That’ll do it! Parmesan is exciting indeed.
For me, parmesan with zucchini brings back childhood memories of my grandmother’s sweet zucchini. It’s just the perfect pairing.
You don’t need the parmesan of course. In fact, this soup can easily be vegan. Other topping suggestions include crunchy roasted almonds or pumpkin seeds.
Toppings on soups not only look gourmet; they can easily send the flavors over the top. A double win in my books.
How to make
Making this zucchini soup recipe is easy, and takes less than 30 minutes using an Instant Pot or saucepan.
Start with ghee or butter (for vegan, use an alternative), then when the fat is nice and hot, sizzle in the curry powder and black pepper.
Next, add the chopped vegetables and the water or stock. Zucchini, cauliflower, and fennel bulbs all cook in a similar amount of time. I give it 6 minutes under pressure in the Instant Pot or 20 minutes of simmering.
Then blend with an immersion blender or blender. I go for a partial blend so that you get chunks of vegetables in your bowl to savor.
If you prefer a creamy zucchini soup, feel free to puree until smooth.
The final step is to stir in your choice of fresh herbs and fresh lemon juice and adjust your seasoning to taste.
PARMESAN CHEESE: A strong, salty, and highly fermented cheese rich in umami savory flavor. Since the zucchini, cauliflower, and fennel bulb are relatively bland in flavor, the addition of parmesan cheese really picks up the overall taste.
ROASTED ALMONDS: Add extra protein, fiber, healthy fats, and crunch to your bowl with roasted almonds. Roasting reduces almonds’ astringency and brings in a pleasant bitter undertone to the otherwise sweet treats.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS: Green in color, but blood red when blended, pumpkin seeds add extra protein, fiber, crunch, and antioxidants to your bowl. Being bitter and alkalizing, pumpkin seeds are balanced in moderation, even if you are watching your weight.
Zucchini health benefits
I feel that zucchini is underrated, especially considering its gut health benefits.
When well cooked, zucchini is among one of the easiest-to-digest vegetables you can eat, meaning it is safe for even the most sensitive of tummies.
It is also low in calories, making it great for weight loss.
Zucchini contains a good amount of soluble fiber, which is smooth and soothing in nature.
According to Ayurvedic guru Vaidya Mishra, zucchini and other summer squashes are balancing for conditions related to heat and inflammation.
This is due to the soluble fiber in summer squashes binding to toxins in your digestive tract and aiding in their elimination.
Cauliflower health benefits
Despite cauliflower’s popularity as a high-fiber, low-carb vegetable, few people realize that is also difficult to digest and easily causes unwanted gas and bloating.
This wisdom comes from the ancient system of healthcare from India that I practice known as Ayurveda.
The reason for this is due to the combination of light and dry qualities together, and the absence of chemicals that would otherwise support metabolism.
As long as you know about cauliflower’s challenges, the solution is to add digestive support in the form of spices.
This zucchini soup uses curry powder, black pepper, fresh herbs, and lemon juice to aid in digestion.
You may also like Turmeric Cauliflower Slabs for your next favorite cauliflower-only vegetable side.
Fennel bulb health benefits
Fennel bulb (sometimes called anise) is always a wonderful addition to vegetable soups. It adds light, cooling, soothing, and fragrant qualities.
Fennel tastes a little bit like licorice, and it is naturally sweet. Its tastes are a combination of pungent, bitter, and sweet, which means it is beautifully complex.
The more flavor variation in a dish, the more pleasing it will be overall. So adding a fennel bulb adds a lot of flavors.
It’s going to be pleasing for both mind and body.
If you don’t have a fennel bulb, try substituting it with celery root (celeriac), parsnip, or rutabaga.
Turn this into a meal
Overall, this soup is satisfying, yet light. The addition of toppings like parmesan cheese, almonds, or pumpkin seeds will add satiation for a person with more hunger.
This soup pairs wonderfully with a green salad. For extra protein, top your salad with canned beans or cooked lentils, such as kidney, cannelloni, beluga French lentils, etc.
Recipe for Zucchini Soup with Cauliflower & Fennel
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
- Large saucepan - 5.5 quart with lid
to start the soup
- 1 tablespoon ghee, or butter
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups zucchini, chopped
- 3 cups cauliflower, chopped
- 2 cups fennel bulb, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups vegetable stock, or water
- ½ cup fresh herbs, (choose 1 or more of : dill, basil, parsley, oregano, summer savory, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice , or to taste
- more salt, or to taste
- Parmesan or feta cheese
- almonds, chopped
- pumpkin seeds, roasted
- Wash zucchini, cauliflower and fennel bulb. Chop into ¾-inch pieces. Keep aside until needed.
- Heat ghee in an INSTANT POT on “Sauté” OR in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add curry powder and black pepper and sizzle for 20-30 seconds. Add the prepared vegetables along with the vegetable stock or water and salt. (NOTE that using 4 cups of liquid in the Instant Pot will result in a thinner soup due to a lack of evaporation. I think it is fine. You might even want to add even more liquid to the saucepan. Make it once, then adjust for your preference.)
- For the INSTANT POT, select “Pressure Cook” and set the timer to 6 minutes. Allow the heat to come down naturally for 15 minutes, and then open the lid. For the saucepan, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Partially cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Turn off the heat.
- Puree with an immersion blender. I like it chunky, but you can make it as smooth or as chunky as you prefer.
- Stir in the fresh herbs, lemon juice, and salt.
- Spoon into serving bowls and top with optional garnishes, such as parmesan cheese, chopped almonds, or roasted pumpkin seeds.
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