On my low-carb diet, I often eat soup for lunch. They are filling, hearty and warm the soul. One of the things that I am enjoying and hope to retain once I complete the diet is the idea of making regular times for meals and snacks. I find that I am more satiated by meals and snacks that I anticipate and actively prepare in advance.
I have never made a zucchini soup before and decided to try and create a low-carb one for lunch. The only zucchini soup that I have enjoyed in the past is one made by my friend, Malka, and it is delicious. I hope that this low-carb variety comes close to hers.
Zucchini is a rather bland vegetable, comprised of 95% water. Believe it or not, a whole zucchini has more potassium than a banana and is only about 33 calories. This soup will need sauteed onions and garlic, a rich broth and some fresh herbs to wake up the bland, but nutritious zucchini. Since zucchini and herbs take very little time to cook, the added benefit of this soup is that it does not take long to prepare, even in a crockpot.
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INGREDIENTS FOR A 5-6 QUART CROCKPOT
2-4 cloves garlic and 1-2 onions, minced and sauteed in 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
4-6 zucchini, scrubbed or peeled and cut into small chunks
1 package mushroom (optional)
1/2 bunch of parsley and/or dill (see kosher notes)
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
3-4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced or powdered ginger (optional)
2 tablespoons Salt
Dash of pepper
Fill crockpot with zucchini, herbs, onions and/or garlic, seasonings and your choice of vegetables. Fill crockpot 2/3 to top with a combination of water and/or stock. Cook on high for at least 4 hours.
For a smooth texture, blend with a hand blender before serving. For a more rustic texture, leave the soup unblended. Garnish with fresh herbs, some fresh zucchini slices and/or scallions .
This soup is very forgiving. If I am in a hurry, I skip the sauteed onions and garlic. I just use whole garlic cloves and roughly chopped onions. I puree it all at the end using my stick blender.
Oftentimes, when I am cooking many different dishes, I saute a large batch of onions (sometimes with fresh minced garlic) in my largest saute pan. I use what I need for various dishes and then freeze the rest in small Ziploc bags or ice cube trays for future use. Crockpot soups are a great way to use these frozen sauteed onions and/or garlic.
I have left the seasoning of this soup to you. I use about 2 tablespoons of salt and a generous pinch of pepper. The seasoning can be added at the beginning, can be added in layers throughout the cooking or can wait to be added at the end. I find that when I wait to season the soup until the end, I need to use much less salt.
Know your crockpot and which settings to use. I cook my soup on the high setting of my six quart crockpot for about 6 hours and only turn it down to low or auto once the soup has been completed. Your crockpot may need to be set to auto for the duration of the cooking. If you are not sure, start your soup at high. Check on the soup after 3 hours. If it tastes ready, then turn it down to auto or low until serving. If not, cook the soup for longer, checking every hour.
Kosher laws disallow the eating of any whole insects and therefore most herbs require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing. I have found that flat-leafed parsley is much easier to check for insects than its curly-leaf counterpart. This blog was not designed to be your kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using herbs.