It’s that wonderful time of year when gardens are starting to come alive with delicious, fresh summer produce.
Not my garden, of course. This girl ain’t got no green thumb. Weeding is just about the last thing I want to do on a hot summer’s evening. So hence, I have no garden.
Lucky for me, my momma does. And lucky for me, she shares.
I was telling her a while back about how I wanted to try out making vegetable “noodles”. I keep seeing recipes online – especially from my favourite healthy recipe resource in Gina at Skinnytaste.com – using vegetables such as zucchini, squash, and carrots sliced julienne or spiralized to make what they call “zoodles”. A low-carb option for a pasta lover like me, and a way to get extra veggies into my diet? Right up my alley! I’ve already learned that I enjoy spaghetti squash in place of pasta, and so I’ve been wanting to get a spiralizer or mandolin to try out these other veggie-noodle options.
My mom remembered this desire of mine, and thus brought me one of the very first zucchinis from her garden this year. So kind of her, right? Except that I haven’t yet purchased the spiralizer or mandolin. And aside from wanting to try out “zoodles”, I really had no desire to have anything with zucchini in it.
Confession: I actually really hate zucchini.
(Unless it comes cut into sticks, breaded, deep fried, and served with a side of creamy dip.)
I know. This is starting to make no sense. Why would a person who hates zucchini steal her mother’s first one fresh from the garden?
Well, because I thought these “zoodles” might get me back on the zucchini train. I mean, I used to like zucchini. As a kid, my mom made this stuff that she called “ratatouille” – slices of onion, zucchini, and tomato, sautéed in oil with some seasonings, and topped with melty mozzarella. I used to love it. Until I ate too much of it. We used to have it a lot. And once I got sick of it, it was the zucchini part that really made me sick. I could still just gag on the memory of it.
So, yeah, since then I’ve been more than a little leery of non-deep-fried-zucchini.
Anyways, I claimed that early gem from Mom’s garden over a week ago regardless, and it had been sitting in my fridge ever since. I didn’t have time (or money) to buy a tool to make noodles out of it, and it was starting to get a little soft, so I decided Tuesday that I had to do something with it that night. I couldn’t just let it go to waste!
Plan # 1 was to try and satisfy my chocolate & peanut butter craving-of-the-day after google turned up a recipe for “healthy” chocolate zucchini brownies with a low-fat no-sugar-added peanut butter sauce. I put “healthy” in quotes, though, because no matter how low-cal and low-fat one of those brownies might have been, we all know that isn’t so if I eat the whole pan. Zero willpower, remember? It was a very real possibility that I might just do that, so it didn’t make sense for me to tempt myself – and thus, continue to sabotage myself – in that way.
Plan # 2 = the Cream of Zucchini Soup recipe from good ol’ Gina at Skinnytaste.
I’d pinned it a while back, and while I didn’t exactly have everything I needed to make it, I figured I could improvise. And it would go well with the toasted tomato sandwich I was already planning to make for supper that night. AND there wasn’t as big a chance of me eating a whole pot of soup as there was of me eating a whole pan of brownies.
Seriously, guys. Welcome to a day inside my brain. *sigh*
You can find Gina’s original recipe here, but this is my altered version:
Creamy Zucchini & Spinach Soup
1 medium zucchini, skin on, cut in large chunks
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 small onion, quartered
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
32 oz. fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions: Combine zucchini, spinach, onion, garlic, and chicken broth in a medium-sized pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Puree using an immersion blender. Add the Greek Yogurt, salt & pepper, and blend again. Serve hot.
(Gina’s picture – mine was darker green because of the spinach, I guess. I did drizzle the olive oil over top, but skipped the cheese.)
Let me tell you guys…this was mmm mmm good!! As we all know, one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen is make big pots of soup, but with warmer summer temps upon us, I hadn’t done this in quite a while. It felt good to be stirring a pot of soup again! It almost made me crave fall! (almost – too soon yet, I know – haha!)
So, Gina’s recipe calls for 3 zucchinis, but of course I only had one, so that’s why I added in the fistfuls of spinach. I also used more onion & garlic than she called for because…well… I love onion and garlic. I probably could have used less chicken broth, as it made a thinner soup than I like, but if it had been all zucchini, I think it would’ve been more of the thicker consistency that I prefer. And also, she uses fat-reduced sour cream in her recipe, which I did not have, but we all know plain Greek yogurt makes a perfect substitute for sour cream, so boom… Cream of Zucchini Soup, in mah belly!
It was delish, a perfect summer soup!
I still want to try out the “zoodles” some day, but until then, at least I know of another way to enjoy zucchini in the days of fresh garden produce ahead!!