Buttermilk Summer Squash Soup

Buttermilk Summer Squash Soup Recipe


This is a simple soup I made the other night with the summer squash left over from the gratin we talked about last week. Nothing fancy, just a pureed summer squash soup with a buttermilk twist. I used a hint of red pepper because, quite honestly, I often prefer it over black pepper. I used a bit of rosemary for depth, some potato for body, garlic, shallots - and aside from the buttermilk, nothing too far beyond the usual suspects. And I have to say, while I heartily enjoyed the soup as a main component of our dinner, I enjoyed the leftovers even more the following day.

Buttermilk Summer Squash Soup Recipe

There was plenty of soup leftover, so when Wayne and I decided to throw our cameras in the car and head toward Pt. Reyes for an impromptu photo excursion, I decided to pack a picnic lunch for us. The leftover soup was poured into a large Mason jar, and it ended up being the ideal companion for a day-old chunk of walnut bread that we brought along as well. We found ourselves a shady picnic table in the heart of the little town of Tomales, and the nice ladies at the Tomales Bakery donated a couple of spoons to our cause.

I have to say, it was a near perfect California lunch - wildflowers in bloom everywhere, clear skies, good food, breezes coming off the ocean a few miles west, a vintage cornflower blue Karmann Ghia parked in the grass on the corner, neighbors chatting as they picked up their mail from the post office. And I think it must be little moments like these that keep me from straying too far from the place I've called home (nearly) my entire life.

 
 
 
 

Buttermilk Summer Squash Soup Recipe

I happened to have a bit of buttermilk to use up here, and I like the creamy tang it brings to the soup, but feel free to add a splash of creme, or half & half, or a swirl of creme fraiche instead if that's what you have. If you like a deeper green soup (and some bonus nutrition), add a handful of chopped spinach toward the very end - a minute or so before pureeing.

a generous splash of olive oil or (3T.) knob of butter
3 large shallots, chopped
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
3-inch sprig of rosemary
1 1/2 pounds yellow or green summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices/chunks
3/4 pound potatoes, un-peeled, cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups lightly flavored vegetable stock or water
2/3 cup buttermilk

garnish with: fresh herbs, toasted almonds, a generous drizzle of olive oil/ melted butter, and/or some crumbled feta

Heat olive oil/butter in large thick-bottomed pan over medium heat. Stir in the shallots, salt, red pepper flakes, and rosemary. Saute until shallots are tender - a couple minutes. Stir in the squash and potatoes, and cook until the squash starts to get a bit tender - a few minutes. Stir in the garlic, remove the sprig of rosemary, and then add the stock (or water) to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree with a hand blender. If you like a silkier soup feel free to pour the soup through a strainer. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk, taste, and adjust the seasoning - adding more salt if needed. I like this soup topped with a bit of crumbled feta, some toasted almonds, a drizzle of olive oil, and a small pinch of red pepper - but it's perfectly good straight with no fuss on top.

Serves 6 - 8.

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Your Comments


chika
June 15, 2009

Hello Heidi,

I love these ways of using up summer's squash galore... both the gratin and the soup! Can't wait to try them once I'm up in the mountains in Nagano where we'll have plenty of them pretty soon. I guess I'll have to use sour cream and milk/cream as we don't have buttermilk here, but I guess that should be okay. Oh, might throw in some corn kernels, too!

Thanks for sharing the recipes and a 'near perfect California lunch' experience - will we be seeing photos from the day, too? :)

HS: Chika, you could go for coconut milk if that is easier for you to find. You might see some of the pictures at some point, but perhaps not on the site ;)

 

Cate
June 15, 2009

I am so excited about these squash recipes, because the markets here in Korea are filled with summer squash right now. I haven't actually tried any of it yet because I've been waiting for some good inspiration...I think this may be it!

 

foodcreate
June 15, 2009

I am going to make this summer squash soup Thrusday night ! Served with plenty of fresh crusty French Bread. Perfect for my Patio night.
Thanks for this wonderful recipe :)

Have a Great Day :)

 

ASHLEA
June 15, 2009

I would not usually be drawn to squash soup but your picture makes it look amazing! I for sure want to try it.

 

Mmm, what a delicious idea to use up the ever-abundant summer squash! I love soups year round, in fact we just had one tonight! Love the feta garnish - I bet it adds a nice extra layer of flavor. I forget garnish too often!

 

This soup looks lovely. Soups are generally saved for fall and winter here, but using summer squash as a base sounds nice and light!

I wonder how it would work using coconut milk for a dairy-free version? Probably not as rich and balanced as with the buttermilk, but worth a try.

Thanks, Ali :)

 

Gourmet Chick
June 16, 2009

I have never seen green summer squash - although I love squash soup generally - I love how you have garnished with crumbled fetta it looks fabulous

 

Lauren
June 16, 2009

The soup sounds perfect for a summer evening, although I'm most jealous of your photo excursion, it sounds like it was a perfect day!

 

This looks so good, I love how you used so many of the same ingredients, not just the squash, from the gratin. That's my kind of cooking!

 

This soup sounds delicious, easy and nutritious. The toasted almonds and feta look perfect.

 

Trish
June 16, 2009

This does look like a delicious soup .. and what a great way to use up some leftovers. I also use up what fresh (and 'going' ) veggies I have in the fridge at the end of the week to make all sorts of interesting soup combinations. Yum!

 

You make me want to live in CA!

Soup sounds wonderful. It's so smart and economical to use leftovers creatively! I just posted about an easy tomato soup using fresh stuff from the Farmers Market. I used the leftovers as a sauce for an open faced sandwich! http://www.findyourbalancehealth.com/2009/06/farmers-market-by-day-tomato-soup-by-night

 

Liz Schubert
June 16, 2009

Heidi, you are so inspiring. I love my local farmers market and you've inspired me to spend more at my local vendors and less at the national grocers. Your serving platters and utensils are beautiful too. Love your blog!

 

Rebecca
June 16, 2009

Heidi,

Can you suggest a vegan alternative to the buttermilk? I see that someone asked about
coconut milk. Could I use coconut milk plus
mashed avocado to get the rich creamy
taste?

Cheers!

--Rebecca

 

Kate
June 16, 2009

I love anything made with summer squash! Here is a gazpacho recipe that I recently made with it - it was delicious, and couldn't have been easier to make!

http://framed-mylifeonepictureatatime.blogspot.com/2009/06/golden-gazpacho.html

Keep the summer soup recipes coming!

 

Deana Gunn
June 16, 2009

Beautiful photo.

I love the tang of buttermilk in soup. We're starting to harvest plenty of squash every day now - we'll give it a try.

For those looking for a vegan alternative to the buttermilk, I've used coconut milk in squash soup with a hint of curry powder and it's yummy

Deana

 

glutenfreeforgood
June 16, 2009

What a great idea and I absolutely love your photograph of the cups of soup on the silver platter. It's beautiful!

 

Kenda
June 16, 2009

You can make buttermilk by adding one tablespoon of either lemon or vinegar to one cup of milk.

 

Reginald
June 16, 2009

As always Heidi, this looks...

ab...so..lute...ly...fabulous! :)

I love summer veggie soups.

I recently posted a leek/parsnip soup myself: http://ceramiccanvas.com/2009/06/cream-of-leek-parsnip-soup/


 

Kylie @ Fun In Vegas
June 16, 2009

Looks like another mouthwatering classic. Can't wait to try this wonderful creation. It raised my spirits just reading this post and viewing your delicious photos. Nothing like a soul-satisfying soup to make one feel good to the very core. Thank you for this, Heidi!

 

vidya
June 16, 2009

I often make a similar soup and in fact do use coconut milk instead of buttermilk. Sometimes I use both.

 

Samia
June 16, 2009

For the vegan alternative, you could use soy milk with a little apple cider vinegar stirred in. Or the coconut milk and add a little vinegar. That would give you the "tang" like buttermilk.

 

Sarah
June 16, 2009

I am eating your delicious black bean salad for lunch, dreaming about the squash gratin, and planning for the soup while I soak up every detail you've written about Point Reyes. I grew up in Marin and am now in Ohio plotting a way to return and am momentarily sustained by your entry today. Thank you. I am so glad I found your site.

 

Stephanie
June 16, 2009

This looks lovely! I'm wondering what you think would happen if I replaced the potatoes (some? all?) with white beans. It would serve a similar thickening purpose, while getting beans into my daughter!

 

The Duo Dishes
June 16, 2009

The crumbled feta on top is just the touch of taste and contrast in color. Delicious.

 

angela@spinachtiger
June 16, 2009

The south abounds with squash and this option will come in handy. This week I am on a squash kick, if you will, and this might have to debut real soon.

 

Gabrielaskitchen
June 16, 2009

The entire thing sounds absolutely spectacular! A very lovely picnic, indeed.You're making me miss California. P.S do you think one could omit the buttermilk and use a bit more potatoe for lactose intolerance?

 

sangeeta khanna
June 16, 2009

the soup looks lovely, we make something like this in India with split chickpea n without cheese which is not a traditional ingredient here.
your picnic story in enticing.pictures are great as always.......i like the rustic charm in your pics.

 

Lauren
June 16, 2009

If we were to make it from the gratin, what would we do for that? Would you just add as you like, or would you add a certain amount of the leftovers?

Your blog is so wonderful!! I love reading the new recipes, and I gives me new insight on healthful cooking. Thank you!

Lauren :)

 

Samantha
June 16, 2009

It looks delicious! My problem, as always, is a lack of food processor. Did this soup look appetizing/edible pre-puree? I know I have to invest sometime, but in the meantime, I wonder if this soup and others can be served without the creamy texture.

Thanks, Samantha

HS: Hi Samantha, you know, the soup looked o.k. pre-puree. I use my hand-blender all the time, and it was relatively inexpensive. Really easy to clean as well.

 

Lynne
June 16, 2009

Haven't made this yet but the photo is simply stunning, Heidi. Simplicity is gorgeous. Love your work :)

 

Dominique
June 16, 2009

Delicious idea! I love summer soups...

 

Amy Warden
June 16, 2009

This is great! I was just planning to make the Summer Squash Gratin tonight for dinner. What a wonderful idea for the leftover squash (if I have any...)!

 

Cookin' Canuck
June 16, 2009

Now I know what I'll be making when the zucchini is exploding out of my fridge! Looks fantastic!

 

Janelle
June 16, 2009

Great idea! Thanks for all your helpful little tips, like throwing spinach in to make it greener, and substitutes for the buttermilk!

 

gastroanthropologist
June 16, 2009

I've strayed quite far from the place I call home, which is where you are at now.

The San Francisco Bay Area is such a special place - I miss it desperately every single day.

My garden (squash included) is starting to flower in the south bay and I'm missing it.

 

Nutmeg Nanny
June 16, 2009

This looks so summery. I can't wait to make it!

 

Lovely! I adore the idea of a feta crumble on top ~ brilliant idea.

Heidi, the description of your picnic in Tomales makes me miss home very much. Lots of happy memories in the Pt Reyes area. :)

 

dmander3
June 16, 2009

I just read the recipe this morning and made the soup this evening. It was wonderful! Thank you so much fro all your amazing recipes. I look forward to cooking even more of your delicious dishes!

 

Anonymous
June 16, 2009

This soup is simply delicious. I added some leaks as I had some in my fridge. This recipe is a keeper!

Nina

 

Justin
June 16, 2009

With the summer quickly approaching and the squash soon upon us, this recipe sounds incredible. Thanks for sharing.

 

cheffresco
June 16, 2009

Oh wow, this recipe looks simply amazing. Very beautiful photos too!

 

denise (chez danisse)
June 16, 2009

Soup in a mason jar, walnut bread, and a shady picnic table in Tomales. What a perfect lunch! I might just have to do the same thing myself. I can never stay away from West Marin for very long...

 

Arwen from Hoglet K
June 16, 2009

No fuss on top is a nice way to put it, and with so many things in the soup you hardly need a garnish. It looks very pretty in the photos though.

 

Anne Gardner- Bleicher
June 16, 2009

Greetings Heidi!
This looks so appealing. It truly has healthy foods, which is deleted in places. This is a must copy, and try.
Looking forward to it!

 

Karen
June 17, 2009

Heidi, I so look forward to receiving your new recipes in my e-mail. I have made probably only a few, but each one has been a great success. The green split pea soup is such a family favorite. It is frozen for lunches, and requested again and again. I think I am addicted to the otsu recipe,( pretty amazing as I thought I didn`t care for tofu!) I love adding steamed broccoli to the dish. Last night I trialed the savoury zucchini cheese cake, but using cottage cheese instead of ricotta, the family were fighting over the left over slice! The paneer and pea puffs were a huge hit with friends. Keep up the great work.

 

MysticMeg
June 17, 2009

My uncle lives in the family home in San Francisco. Near Anchor Brewing. The hills are so beautiful this time of year. But I am in Texas and our wildflowers have stopped blooming for the season. My tomatoes are starting to bloom. Tomatio are something I am very interested in using for recipes. It is a curious little plant which produces something looking like a squash but different. Have you used them much?

My rosemary is from a friends bush. She has the soil to grow it. My soil is just not good for rosemary and I have tried 5 different plants with no success. The rosemary steeped in olive oil is very fun to use. Flavor without the little stems.

Thanks for the heads up on the Mason Jar. Great quick and no spoon required.

 

Margaret
June 17, 2009

I am always looking for new ways to use summer squash; this looks like the perfect soup for summer. Your pics are beautiful!

After seeing your beautiful new white kitchen, I have been wanting to do the same to mine. Any chance you can share the name of the painters?

HS: Thanks Margaret, I'd be happy to! I used Modamas. Sam was great to deal with (I wrote a more extensive review on Yelp)...in short, they did a great job.

 

Carolyn
June 17, 2009

Hi Heidi,

I love unfussy soups like this, especially ones that use copious quantities of summer squash. We haven't got them yet here on the east coast, but I wasn't born yesterday -- I know they're coming.

I've been reading your blog for quite a while now and am equally inspired by your style of cooking and the fact that so many other people are moved by it, too. Real food sure is beautiful, not least of all on these pages.

 

Maccaveggieblog
June 17, 2009

Hi Heidi, I love soups and I use rosemary a lot, I will certainly try this one, luckily all the ingredients are available in Italy this time! In the meantime I made an Italian version of your Orzo Super Salad for which I used farro pasta, as you suggested and an ingredient called agretti, a salad similar to chives, but I don't know the English for it, maybe you can help me. If you want take a look, it's on my blog. Bye Sabrina

 

Bethany
June 17, 2009

What a lovely soup and story combination! Sounds like an idyllic picnic lunch! My fiance is really into soups of all kinds and I am always looking for simple ways to make and use them. The veggies are an awesome addition as well!

 

SeizeThePresent
June 17, 2009

Heidi, I was hoping you'd share something about the buttermilk you use; like is it a special type or do you get it direct somehow, or is it from organic farms -- or do you go to the corner grocery and buy whatever commercial buttermilk they have on hand?

The squash I see in your picture look like the zucchini-type (these need short cooking times in my experience), and I'll bet the butternut and other sorts of hard squash would be tasty in your recipe too, but these types of hard squash might need pre-cooking.

 

granuaile
June 18, 2009

I noticed YOUR cookbook in the kitchen of Michelle Smith @ Design*Sponge

http://www.designspongeonline.com/2009/06/sneak-peek-michelle-smith.html

HS: I saw that! So flattered.

 

Stephanie
June 18, 2009

Silky and aromatic! Great recipe.

 

tav
June 18, 2009

pt. reyes images conjured = instant nostalgic memories. thanks for that. soup is lovely, too :)

ps. recently tried your 5 minute red sauce. love it!

 

Jenette LLOYD
June 18, 2009

Please explain to me what is Summer squash in South Africa. We have Hubbart sqash.Gems and Butternut

 

Carly
June 19, 2009

I made this last night (NY has been cold and rainy all month, and a 63 degree day in June needs soup). It was delicious-- smooth, tangy. and so flavorful. Thanks!

 

Penny De Los Santos
June 19, 2009

Not only does it sound like the perfect California lunch it sounds like the perfect photograph. What I wouldn't give for a chance to make that picture and an extra spoon to try that soup.

 

Emily
June 19, 2009

This recipe sounds delicious! Doyou think it would be something you could also serve chilled?

HS: I don't think I'd particularly like this one chilled Emily - but room temp and warm are quite tasty.

 

djinn
June 20, 2009

not bad i am a chef myself and been all over the world i tried your recipe and love it

 

Linda
June 20, 2009

Made this soup for lunch for husband...he just retired last week.

We both enjoyed it and will make it again soon.
It was nice that I had all the ingredients in the pantry and frige. LOL

 

Linda
June 20, 2009

Made this soup for lunch for husband...he just retired last week.

We both enjoyed it and will make it again soon.
It was nice that I had all the ingredients in the pantry and frige. LOL

 

Aster
June 21, 2009

This looks delicious! I really like your blog. And i made the carrot banana cake yesterday, it was the first recipe i made from your blog. And it was very good. This one will be next! All of these ingredients are easy to buy in Holland also, so lucky me. Thank you for all these wonderfull healthy recipes!

 

Anonymous
June 21, 2009

I love the body that potatoes add to a blended soup - there is simply nothing like that texture to make a simple soup luxurious. Terrific idea to use crushed red pepper vs. the black - nice change of pace I'll use!

 

SeizeThePresent
June 21, 2009

TO Jenette LLOYD in South Africa,

Like I remarked in my post on June 17th about butternut and other hard squash, which you seem to say you have in South Africa, these hard squash (as they are called here in the US) would need some pre-cooking to be used for this dish.

The squash that are in Heidi's recipe (she calls them summer squash) are called zucchini squash locally, and they come in a variety of shapes and colors, and they are considered "soft" squash. They can be eaten raw (like sliced in salads), and if cooked, they must only be cooked for shorter periods of time, since otherwise they just dissolve (unlike butternut, which needs longer cooking times). So, if you have butternut or hubbard, just precook both (I'd bake until ALMOST done, then after it cools so you can handle it, cut them with a knife, without the seeds or rind, so it is in chunks like you see in Heidi's picture). If you pre-cook your hard squash until ALMOST done, then the rest of Heidi's recipe should work pretty much as written.

If I were using hard squash for this recipe, I'd probably cook it the day before so I could cool it in the refrigerator overnight and then use it in the recipe. Since I recommend undercooking the hard squash for this recipe (so you can finish the cooking cycle with the other ingredients and timing Heidi lists), the undercooked squash may not be good for other uses by itself unless you finish the cooking cycle later (a quick zip in the microwave should do it, however!). Hubbard, now that's an incredibly HUGE & delicious squash that I haven't seen whole in years!