• 1kg medium-sized courgettes

  • 2 tbsps olive oil

  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

  • 1 litre vegetable stock

  • juice of half a lemon

  • salt and black pepper

  • For the pesto:

  • 2 good handfuls fresh mint leaves

  • 50g chopped mixed nuts (or almonds or pinenuts)

  • 75ml olive oil (about 5 tbsps)

  • salt and black pepper

  • crème fraiche to serve


  • 1.

    Top and tail the courgettes and slice into 0.5cm rounds.

  • 2.

    Heat a large frying pan with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and, over medium-high heat, fry the courgettes (you will need to do this in two batches, adding the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil with the second batch), turning each slice over after about 4 minutes -if the underside is pale golden, it is ready to turn - and cooking for a further 4 or so minutes until all the courgettes are soft and golden.

  • 3.

    Push the second batch of courgettes to the sides of the pan and add the garlic and chilli to the centre, stir-fry for a minute or two, then tip everything into an electric blender (if your blender is small, do this in two halves).

  • 4.

    Add the stock, which can be cold or warm but not boiling hot, and blend to smooth, then tip the lot into a large pan over a medium heat to warm through, adding the lemon juice for the last minute or so. Add plenty of black pepper and some salt to taste.

  • 5.

    If serving cold, allow to cool then serve drizzled with the mint pesto.

  • To make the pesto: :

  • 1.

    Pick the mint over and remove any hard stems. Put into a blender with the nuts and half the 75ml olive oil, and blend, adding the rest of the oil in two batches and blending a little more. Add a little seasoning to taste.

  • 2.

    Ladle the soup out into serving bowls and drizzle a little crème frache over. Spoon some of the mint pesto on top and serve at once.

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