Fennel and zucchini soup is an easy beginner recipe that yields a restaurant-quality result. Both are at their best this time of year. Fennel boasts a crisp bulb, herby stalks, and bright, vegetal fronds that serve as the perfect garnish. Its mellow anise-like flavor melds beautifully with zucchini’s mild, bitter-sweet taste. In this easy recipe, the bulbs are boiled, so they take on a silky-smooth texture, as does the zucchini. Onion, garlic, and celery add another layer of flavor, while fresh lime juice brings brightness to every spoonful.
How to Make Fennel and Zucchini Soup
To make the soup, you need:
1 large fennel bulb, cleaned
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 medium-sized zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
32 ounces chicken or vegetable broth, reduced-sodium
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
½ cup crème fraîche
Crispy chickpeas, optional garnish
- Remove the fronds and stems from the fennel—cut close to where the stems connect to the bulb. Set the fronds aside for garnish.
- Thinly slice the bulb and transfer it to a medium saucepan. Juice the limes, set the juice aside, and add two of the juiced lime halves to the saucepan with the fennel. Sprinkle in half the salt.
- Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the fennel is tender enough to pierce with a paring knife.
- Drain and set the cooked fennel aside. Dispose of the lime halves.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
- Add the zucchini, onion, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and sauté for 10 minutes or until softened.
- Transfer the cooked fennel to the pot, then pour in the broth.
- Stir, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Working in batches, blend the soup until smooth. To make this easy recipe even easier, use an immersion blender. If you use a stand blender, remove the lid insert, hold a kitchen towel over the hole as you puree the soup, then return it to the pot. The towel will prevent you from getting splashed with hot soup.
- Finish the fennel and zucchini soup with black pepper and lime juice to taste.
Once the soup is ready, it’s time to display it in the best way possible. The soup’s green hue is an eye-catching focal point; therefore, you want to work around that. First, select the bowls. Since this recipe yields six servings, you need six bowls. Think sleek and straightforward like those in this 6-piece ceramic set. Then switch your focus to completing each bowl of soup. Start with a dollop of crème fraiche. For the perfect dollop every time, try a Chinese soup spoon and use the tip to swirl the crème on the surface of the soup. Follow that with a drizzle of olive oil before garnishing with reserved fennel fronds and/or crispy chickpeas.