Recipe: Happiness Soup

I don’t let hot weather stop me from making and eating gorgeous, brothy soups over the summer. I know soup isn’t the most popular fare this time of year but in addition to being healthy they are also a great way to use leftover vegetables, it is, most importantly, a way deal with the unending bounty of the garden. Or your cousin’s garden. Or your neighbor’s garden. Or your coworker’s garden. As I’ve mentioned before it’s always the squash and zucchini that people frantically try to rid themselves of as fast as they pluck them from the vine. Nigella deals with this problem by shredding summer squash into this soup, but since summer produce is so fresh I don’t bother. I just slice them thinly in half moons. I also add carrots and make a few other changes, so really the much of what it shares with Nigella’s original recipe is the name.

This soup with its lemon-y broth reminds me of nothing so much as caldo, a brothy soup enjoyed throughout Mexico and Central America. Squash is a New World food and so the caldo that my husband’s Guatemalan grandmother makes is always bursting with squash. Nigella adds rice, which is in keeping with the Central American version, but lately I’ve been leaving it out and crumbling tortilla chips and white Mexican cheese over the top in kind of a bastardized homage to tortilla soup. Anyway, I like it and it’s very, very good but is especially wonderful if you catch a summer cold.

This soup is quick enough to make for a weeknight supper and the leftovers can be enjoyed for lunch. As previously noted I like to top it with crunchy tortilla chips and cheese, but the soup is brothy enough to embrace add-ins such as drained canned chickpeas, cooked shredded chicken, or cooked rice. Any grain that sits around inside the soup for any length of time will soak up much of the broth, so I like to add the rice to each serving.


  • 2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced in half moons
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly diced
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest and juice of oneĀ  large lemon
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • salt & pepper


– Saute the onions in oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

– Add the lemon zest and zucchini or squash slices and cook for about five more minutes.

– Add the turmeric and the minced garlic and let it cook for a scant 30 seconds before adding the stock, carrots, and the lemon juice.

– Simmer away for about 20 minutes on medium low heat and you have yourself a fabulous summer soup.

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