We have had an abundance of beautiful green, yellow, and white summer squash this season from our CSA. For the first few weeks, I was happy as a clam gobbling up slices browned in olive oil with a pinch of sea salt.
When I saw yet another huge bin of zucchini waiting for us at this week’s pick-up, though, my stomach sank just a little. I can’t take anymore, I thought. Summer squash is a vegetable workhorse–it’s a solid, dependable performer. But you can only eat it so many times before its soft texture and mild flavor start to feel flat and monotonous. I knew that if I was going to enjoy it this time around, I’d have to get a little more creative.
This tasty, bright bisque showcases the squash’s velvety texture and sweetness, which is balanced against an earthy-but-fresh carrot-top pesto and crunchy pistachios.
Summer Squash Bisque with Carrot Top Pesto and Pistachios
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
2 scallions, roasted (Optional. I just happened to have a couple on hand to throw in)
4-5 medium sized summer squashes (any variety), sliced into 1/2 inch thick coins
4 cups water (plus additional as needed)
1 vegetable bouillon cube (I use Rapunzel brand)
salt and pepper, to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon shelled pistachios, chopped
- In a dutch oven or other large pot, saute onions in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add garlic and scallions, if using. Cook until fragrant and season with a small pinch of salt.
- Add squash and mix well. Add an additional pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Saute for a few minutes until some parts of the squash become lightly caramelized.
- Add water and bouillon cube. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and lower to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until the squash begins to disintegrate.
- Turn off heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Add additional water as needed to thin to desired consistency.
- Return to a low simmer while you prepare the carrot top pesto (see recipe below).
- Just before serving, add lemon juice and salt to taste, keeping in mind that the pesto will add saltiness, as well.
- Garnish with a large dollop of pesto and pistachios.
Carrot Top Pesto
(makes about 1 cup)
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s “Traditional Pesto” in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
2 tightly packed cups fresh basil and carrot greens, chopped (Note: Since you usually cannot buy carrot greens on their own, use however much you have available and supplement with basil as needed, or use only basil if you don’t have access to carrot tops)
1 small clove of garlic, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons pistachios (or whatever nuts or seeds you have on hand)
1/4 cup olive oil
scant 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 pinch of salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
- Pulse basil and greens together in a food processor to reduce volume.
- Add nuts, nutritional yeast, salt, and olive oil and blend until smooth, with some visible pieces of herbs.
- Stir in lemon juice, and additional salt if needed.