Zucchini and Basil Summertime Soup

Check it out (stay cool) stay cool daddy (stay cool)
Stay cool ma (hey, hey) c’mon
(Stay cool motherfuckers y’all know the rules)
(Hey, stay cool.. stay cool)
There it is (Yeah hah hah, stay coooool) -The Roots

It may seem a little counterintuitive to be talking about soup in the summer, especially if you live in the hot-ass desert, but it’s actually right on point. Contrary to what we’re confronted with in our culture, ice cold food and beverages are not good for our digestive system. According to Ayurveda, consistently dumping ice cold foodstuffs into our bellies puts out our agni – or digestive fire.

zucchini slices

This makes sense to me. Ever since I learned about this, I take my beverages at room temperature and drink my tea hot pretty much always. And you know what? I feel so much better. It actually keeps me cooler and helps me maintain my body temperature – which is difficult to do when you’re constantly going from freezing cold buildings to blistering heat.

zucchini pot

But you don’t have to take my word for it, and you don’t have to practice hot food and drink all the time (indeed, I have a butter pecan ice cream comin atcha pretty soon), but do try it a few times and see if it makes a difference for you. Let me know what you think!

zucchini basil

Zucchini and Basil Summertime Soup
adapted from Love Soup by Anna Thomas


2 lbs zucchini
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons Arborio rice (or any white rice)
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable broth – homemade preferred
2 cups packed coarsely chopped basil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Wash and slice the zucchini and put it in a large soup pot with about 4 cups of water, a teaspoon of salt, and the rice. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and allow it to simmer, covered, for half and hour.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and add the chopped onions with a pinch of salt. Cook the onions over medium-low heat, stirring often, until they are soft and caramel-colored (about 30 minutes). When the onions are tender and sweet, add them to the soup pot.

Add black pepper to taste to the soup, along with the vegetable broth and fresh basil leaves and simmer another 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree the soup in a blender, in batches, or with an immersion blender. If the soup seems too thick, add a little more water. It should pour easily from a ladle.

Return the soup to a clean pot and bring it back to a simmer, then stir 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and at least 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Add pinches of salt and lemon juice until the balance is just right.

To serve, pour the hot soup into a bowl, and finish with a little swirl of olive oil and a few shreds of lemon zest.

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