The way to keep a green soup green is not to overcook it. Once you’ve added the peas and basil to this, take it off the heat and blitz it straight away. This is gorgeously light, but you can make it more hearty by using chicken stock and topping with fried pancetta. Serves eight.
75ml olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 whole head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
6 courgettes, cut into 3cm-thick slices
Salt and black pepper
1 litre vegetable stock
500g frozen peas
50g basil leaves
200g feta, broken into 1-2cm pieces
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high flame, then fry the garlic cloves for two to three minutes, stirring often, until caramelised. Add the courgettes, two teaspoons of salt and plenty of pepper, and fry for three minutes, stirring, until starting to brown. Pour in the stock and 500ml cold water, bring to a boil and cook on a high heat for seven minutes, until the courgette is soft but still bright green. Add the peas, stir through for a minute, then add the basil, turn off the heat and blitz smooth with a stick blender (or in a liquidiser).
To serve, spoon into bowls and top with the feta and lemon zest. Finish with a good grind of black pepper and a final drizzle of oil.
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