Chilled zucchini and avocado soup with basil is the green goddess of a summer soup. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Chilled zucchini and avocado soup with basil is the green goddess of a summer soup. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Avocado gives chilled zucchini soup a dose of velvety richness

Whether you have a vegetable garden, a share in a CSA (community-supported agriculture) or you are just trying to make the most of what’s bountiful and inexpensive at the market, this is the time of year you are probably wondering what to do with an excess of zucchini.

One solution to this enviable problem is this green goddess of a summer soup. It incorporates heaps of sliced zucchini that is simmered with sauteed onion and garlic in chicken broth (you could substitute vegetable broth to make it vegan) until the vegetable is tender. The mixture is blended with avocado and fresh basil, then brightened with lemon juice and zest before it’s chilled.

Chilled zucchini avocado soup with basil

Here, a bounty of fresh cooked summer squash is pureed until creamy with rich, velvety avocado and seasoned with lemon and basil for a chilled soup that is as light and refreshing as it is fulfilling.

You can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, to make the dish vegan.

Make ahead: The soup needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours, and up to 1 day, before serving.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds zucchini (4 medium), trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½-inch half- moon slices

¾ teaspoon salt, or more as needed

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (may substitute vegetable broth)

Flesh of 1 ripe avocado

⅓ cup packed fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 1 tablespoon juice (from 1 lemon), or more as needed

Pinch ground white pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, until it is softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the zucchini and the salt.

Add the broth and increase the heat to medium-high; once the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the zucchini has softened. Let cool completely.

Puree half of the zucchini mixture in a blender, then transfer the puree to a large bowl or storage container. Add the remaining half of the zucchini mixture to the blender with the avocado and the basil; puree until smooth, then add it to the first batch of pureed mixture.

Stir in the lemon juice, zest and the pepper. Taste, and add more salt and/or lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 1 day, before serving.

Makes 6 servings (makes about 6 cups). Nutrition per serving: 100 calories, 3 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, no cholesterol, 500 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber, 5 grams sugar.

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