At some point every summer, there’s just too much zucchini. Gardeners can’t give it away. Another problem: zucchinis quickly balloon in size and become inedible. I pick zucchini small, assuming I can find them in time. The small ones are slightly sweet, with a distinctive mild flavor. They’re great sliced in vegetable salads, grain or pasta salads, or added to a vegetable sauté.
If you’re looking for a new way to use zucchini, try this soup. Legumes (dried beans) are plant protein powerhouses. Vegetarian recipes frequently combine legumes with grains or vegetables to boost protein content. This recipe is double-legume: red lentils plus garbanzo beans (chickpeas). It tastes great, but I felt like something was lacking — vegetables. Fresh zucchini to the rescue! The mild and slightly sweet taste of fresh zucchini nicely complements the flavor of the soup without overwhelming it.
Red lentils are popular in spicy Indian recipes. You can find them in bags in most major grocery stores. They tend to lose the lovely orange-red color when cooked, but turmeric adds some of that color back. If you’re vegetarian, use vegetable broth. Otherwise I recommend chicken broth to give a richer flavor.
Red Lentil Chickpea Zucchini soup
- 1 8-10 inch zucchini
- 2 TB peanut oil and/or butter OR 1 TB oil + 1 TB coconut fat
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes OR 1/2 minced jalapeno
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- salt to taste
- 2 TB lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- plain Greek style yogurt for garnish
- Step 1 Wash and chop zucchini. You should have about 1-1/2 cups. Set aside.
- Step 2 Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over moderate heat.
- Step 3 Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
- Step 4 Add the cumin, ginger and pepper. Cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching
- Step 5 Add the broth and turmeric and bring to a boil
- Step 6 Add the lentils, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until the lentils are soft and falling apart.
- Step 7 Add the drained chickpeas and zucchini and heat for 3-4 more minutes.
- Step 8 Add the lemon juice and season with salt to taste.
- Step 9 Serve garnished with Greek yogurt and cilantro.