Made with courgette noodles and pungent with the flavours of the Orient, this soup is fresh, healthy and exciting. Naturally gluten free and dairy free. Optional Vegan.
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Courgette Noodles – lost trend or healthy staple?
Have you ever had courgette noodles soup? Actually… Do you eat spiralized courgettes at all? It seems that a few years back spiralized vegetables were trendily popular. Everyone seemed to be eating them. We couldn’t get enough of them.
As with so many trends however, we hardly ever seem to hear about them now. Which is a shame… Because they are not only incredibly healthy, but for the calorie and health-conscious they can be a fabulous replacement for the usual carbs we consume… especially as a sub for spaghetti and noodles.
Courgettes (also known as zucchini) may be low in protein, fat and carbohydrate, but they are a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and fibre. And because they contain so much water, they are good for keeping us hydrated too. Frankly, we should eat more of them… And courgette noodles soup is one way to get there.
What is a spiralizer?
If you want courgette noodles, you need a spiralizer. There is really no other way to make them effectively.
A spiralizer is basically a kitchen gadget that effortlessly cuts courgettes as well as other vegetables and fruit into ribbons and spirals. Most spiralizers have a few different blades so that you can vary the size of the strands… A bit like a spiral grater I guess.
Even though the trend seems to have abated, there are still a wide variety of spiralizers on the market. Whether you want a hand-held option, a crank-handle version or a sturdier, all singing-all dancing electric machine, there’s a spiralizer for everyone. It’s a case of choosing what fits your needs and actually, the space you have to store it.
I’ve had my spiralizer since 2016… It was an unexpected but welcome birthday present. I think my family were sick of hearing ‘I must get one of those’ and decided to end the monotony of the statement.
Although it is not a gadget that I use every week, or (to be honest) every month, it comes into its own in the summer… Perfect for fresher and lighter soups, salads and sides. We do a mean Spiralized Roasted Veg Frittata at Gluten Free Alchemist and even spiralize vegetables for the barbecue too!
Oriental Courgette Noodles Soup… inspired by a trip to the grocer
This courgette noodles soup was originally inspired by a trip to the local grocer. There is something so much nicer about buying from a local fruit and veg shop that has a display of beautiful, vibrant produce, not in plastic packaging.
Krachai to inspire Asian flavours
The original plan for courgetti was to make a straight spiralized soup. But once in the shop, I was drawn to and persuaded to buy some perfumed Krachai root….. a popular Thai ingredient.
Also known as Chinese Keys and Finger Root, Krachai is apparently a relative of the ginger family and tastes similar, if a little less stringent. The root looks like a bunch of fingers joined together at the end by a nobbly rhizome, but tastes amazing. If you can’t find it, just grab some ginger instead.
Krachai root in hand, soup creation began to take a different and more interesting direction… Heading South and East and equatorially-bound to the flavours and aromas of the Orient. And the grocer’s shelves continued to tempt and inspire… with a mix of alternative ingredients fused between local and exotic.
With a handful of rich and chewy shiitake mushrooms, a bunch of fresh pungent wild garlic, some small, powerful Bird’s Eye chillies, and a large bunch of crunchy spring onions, I set off home. I was ready to concoct and create.
Home-made vegetable broth for Oriental Courgette Noodles Soup
The base to this courgette noodles soup is an amazing home-made vegetable broth. Made with fresh vegetables and herbs, it is flavoursome, healthy and delicious. Even better, the vegetables have been roasted for extra intensity and then slow-cooked in liquid over a couple of hours to allow the whole lot to mingle and infuse.
The clear broth that is taken from the pot goes into the courgette noodles soup. The remaining veg however is not lost to compost… Liquidised with a little extra stock or water, it makes a thick warming earthy Leftover Vegetable Soup. Which means you get two soups for the price of one!
You can use any veg for the clear broth. But if you want a clearer soup, avoid potato or anything too starchy.
Is this soup vegan and free from?
Oriental Courgette Noodles Soup is made to be gluten free and dairy free. Be sure however, to use gluten free Shoyu instead of standard soy sauce. Chinese soy sauce is one of the Coeliac’s irritatingly annoying hidden gluten sources!
I have added a sprinkle of Bonito flakes (dried shaved tuna – also known as katsuobushi) onto the final soup bowl. However without this, the dish is essentially Vegan. So just leave them off if you don’t eat or want them.
To be honest, Bonito flakes are not really a standard ingredient for most people. And they are another travel-inspired taste for me. First tried when I visited Japan many years ago, I still love the savoury slightly fishy hint they give to some soups and tofu dishes. I have also used them in my Japanese Fried Tofu (an absolute favourite of mine).
Ultimately, this soup can live without them however…
Is Oriental Courgette Noodles Soup good?
Oh yes! This soup is amazing. The spiralized courgettes are as tasty as they are fun. They pair wonderfully with the less local ingredients and give the broth extra substance and interest. The cleansing ginger is both warming and refreshing and the chilli will wake the taste-buds after a winter slumber. Fresh and exciting, my Oriental Courgette Noodles Soup is perfect for warmer days and equally delicious in the cold.
Of course, if you do make it, please let me know. It is rather special. Leave a comment or tag me on social media… You’ll find me via the usual platforms – #glutenfreealchemist (links at the top right).
Oriental Courgette Noodles Soup
- sharp vegetable knife
- large saucepan
- wooden spoon
- 1½ litre clear vegetable broth (approx) See recipe below to make from scratch
- 3 medium courgettes (zucchini) Ends trimmed
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 3 to 4 Krachai finger-roots (or small piece ginger) Peeled and cut into slivers
- 1 red bird’s eye chilli Deseeded and finely chopped
- 5 to 6 shiitake mushrooms Sliced
- 1 to 2 tbsp GF shoyu sauce (GF soy sauce) Or to taste
- 3 spring onions (scallions) inc green part Trimmed and chopped into 1 cm lengths
- large handful wild garlic leaves Washed but not chopped (or just add a little crushed garlic)
- sprinkle Bonito flakes (dried shaved tuna) Optional
- Trim and spiralize the courgette on medium noodle setting and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in large soup saucepan over a medium heat and when hot, gently sauté the Krachai (or ginger) and chilli for about 2 minutes to soften and infuse the oil.
- Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and a tablespoon water and cook for a further couple of minutes, stirring intermittently to allow the mushrooms to begin to sweat.
- Add the clear vegetable stock (about 1½ litres – top up with boiling water if you need to).
- Add also the Shoyu sauce to taste and half of the chopped spring onions.
- Bring the broth to the boil and then simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.
- Add the wild garlic leaves and simmer for a further 3 to 5 minutes.
- Finally add the spiralized courgette and stir through. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until the courgette is soft and flexible (be careful not to over-cook).
- Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with the remaining spring onions.
- Add a sprinkle of Bonito flakes (if using).
- chopping board
- vegetable peeler
- sharp vegetable knife
- large roasting tin
- heat-proof spatula
- slow cooker or large sauce pan & hob
- large soup storage container
- 2 large onions quartered
- 1 large red pepper large-sliced
- 5 large cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 leek trimmed and sliced
- 2 sticks celery sliced
- small head broccoli chopped into large pieces
- 1 fennel bulb sliced
- 3 large carrots peeled, trimmed and sliced
- handful fresh parsley chopped
- handful fresh coriander chopped
- grind black pepper
- grind salt
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- boiling water
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- Peel, trim and rough-chop all the vegetables and place in a large roasting tin with a good drizzle of olive oil.
- Add the herbs.
- Toss the vegetables in the oil to coat and then add the black pepper and salt. Toss again.
- Roast in the oven for about an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the edges burning.
Slow-Cook with Water
- When the vegetables are roasted, remove from the oven and place in a slow cooker (or very large saucepan).
- Add an extra good grind of salt.
- Add enough water to cover the vegetables by about 4 to 5 cm (1½ to 2 inches).
- Slow-cook on maximum for about 3 hours (or slight simmer on the hob for 2 to 3 hours).
- When cooked, allow to cool.
- Use a sieve to drain and separate the liquid (vegetable stock) into a large jug/soup storage container and set aside. Save the vegetables into a separate storage container (topped up with a little water) to liquidise later and make vegetable soup.
Courgette Noodles Soup shared with :
- Full Plate Thursday #490 with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- Creative Muster #390 with Fluster Buster
- Cook Blog Share with Feast Glorious Feast
- Meatless Monday with Confessions of a Mother Runner and A Whisk and Two Wands
- What’s For Dinner #258 with the Lazy Gastronome
Gluten free AND Vegan (or thinking of heading that way?) – check out my post on Gluten Free Vegan – Surviving Veganuary and Beyond