Super-Quick Courgette and Pea Soup

This is ridiculously easy but has the lip-smackingly great taste of something much more complicated. It always gets comments of ‘yum how did you make this?!’

I didn’t make it up, it comes from the River Cafe Easy book.  I scrawled it down from a friend’s book, and I can’t remember if I’ve adapted it, but I think not. The quantities below are based on what I’ve end up doing myself, as I do it from memory when I make it, but it’s basically River Cafe’s recipe. 

I use a net bag of value courgettes, and cheap frozen peas. It takes about half an hour from ‘ooo I fancy some soup’ to spooning it into your mouth. What’s not to like?

The trick, as with many of the recipes on this blog, is in the GARNISH. It’s all in the garnish, man, if you leave out the parmesan and basil at the end, it’s still nice, but it’s not….. quite as lush.

Here’s how to make it:

Roughly chop up as many large-ish courgettes as you have people eating, and put them in a pan with a tablespoon or two of oil. Put the lid on and cook over a medium heat until they start to go a bit soft – about 15 mins. Half way through, chuck in some crushed garlic. If you have it, put in a sprig of rosemary, but it’s not important if you don’t have it. The ones below have cooked a bit:

courgettesNow pour on some stock. (click for information on stock). You have to judge the amount according to how much courgette you have, but if you cover the courgettes completely you can’t go far wrong. If you add less it will be a thicker soup, of course… more it will be thinner but just as tasty.  Chuck in some frozen peas. I would say a good handful per person (so one handful per courgette). 

Cook this for ten minutes. Don’t let it boil, but make sure it’s nice and hot and maybe a few bubbles are coming to the surface, so you know the flavours are melding.


Blend it in machine or with a hand blender. Put back in the pan, reheat and season to taste. If you’re not short of time, you can throw another handful of frozen peas in and give them couple of minutes to cook before serving.  

Grate some parmesan onto the top of each person’s bowl, and rip up some basil leaves on top (I left them whole in the picture below just for effect). Serve at the table with the block of parmesan and grater for people to add more, and a jar of chilli flakes, in case some people like it hot.


With thanks to Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray.


Super-Quick Courgette and Pea Soup
For each person who needs to be fed, use
  1. One large courgette
  2. Approx 1 tablespoon of oil - any kind will do, but use olive if you have it.
  3. One small garlic clove
  4. One small handful of frozen peas
  5. About half a litre of boiling water made into stock with a heaped teaspoon of stock powder. (See notes below)
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. Garnish after serving: fresh basil and parmesan
  1. Put the oil and roughly chopped courgettes in a large pan. Cook for five minutes until they start to go a bit soggy. Pour on the hot stock. CHuck in the peas. Heat it until bubbles start to appear, but don't boil it. Cook at this level for ten minutes.
  2. Blend it. Reheat to the temperature you like to eat it at. Don't boil it though.
  3. When it's in everyone's bowls, sprinkle on some chopped basil and grated parmesan.
  1. Stock: click on the drop-down menu above 'How Do I Make...' to find our tips on stock.
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