Quite a few variations are permissible – even encouraged – on this delicious tomato soup, which happens to be one of many wonderful recipes from Danielle’s cookbook Happily Hungry. Using butter to saute the veggies provides creaminess, but olive oil would work fine for a vegan version. Same with the heavy cream, vs coconut beverage – you could also try it with regular coconut milk (lite for less fat), but you’ll get a stronger coconut flavor. We like this version because the tomato shines through – even in the middle of winter! When good garden-fresh tomatoes aren’t available, we love the San Marzano canned tomatoes, but if you have a favorite of your own, go for that. And if you don’t happen to have canned whole tomatoes on hand, try using plain old diced tomatoes – or stewed with basil. The zucchini twist is fun and provides something to chew on as you sip this rich, satisfying soup, originally adapted from Fine Cooking.
6 T unsalted butter
3 medium zucchini (about 1½ lb.), cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C chopped yellow onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced
Three 15-oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 t agave nectar
1½ C homemade or low-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth, more as needed
½ C dry white wine (may substitute water or broth)
1 C heavy cream or coconut beverage
½ C fresh basil or parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish
Melt 4 T of the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and ½ t salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is crisp-tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini mixture to a medium bowl.
Melt the remaining 2 T butter in the stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it becomes translucent, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add carrots and tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add 2 C broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and let the tomato mixture cool slightly. Purée the soup in the pot with a hand blender or in batches (with the top vented) in a regular blender. If you use a regular blender, return the soup to the pot. Add the cream. Bring to a boil and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir the zucchini into the soup. Garnish each serving with some of the chopped fresh basil.