Serves 4 as a first course.

Note: Cost per serving: About $2 if all ingredients are purchased; far less if you grow your own. From "Soup, a Way of Life," by Barbara Kafka.

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 3 lb. zucchini, trimmed, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut in

1/2-in. pieces

• 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, deribbed and cut in1/4-in. dice

• 2 small tomatoes, seeded and cut in 1/4-in. dice

• 1 medium rib celery, cut in 1/4-in. dice

• 1/2 c. coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus 4 large basil leaves, cut in narrow strips

• Black pepper, to taste

• 11/2 tsp. kosher (or coarse) salt, or more to taste

• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• Water or tomato juice, optional, to taste


Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium stockpot or heavy saucepan. Add the zucchini and toss to coat in oil. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 45 minutes or until the zucchini is very soft. Stir often enough to keep the zucchini from sticking to the pan.

Remove from heat, cool slightly and purée with a blender or put through the fine disk of a food mill.

Stir in the bell pepper, tomatoes, celery, 1/2 cup of chopped basil, black pepper and salt, and refrigerate overnight or for several hours.

Taste, adjust seasonings, add lemon juice and either water or tomato juice if needed. Top each bowl with basil strips before serving.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 132 Fat 6 g Sodium 634 mg

Carbohydrates 15 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 69 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 vegetable, 1 fat.