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Easy Spicy Zucchini Rice Soup

If zucchini could speak, it would say, “I’m ready for soup. Cook me in vegetable broth with nuggets of brown rice and a hint of fresh chile spice.” Fall equinox, the changing of the seasonal guard happens next week. Celebrate by making this delicious spicy zucchini rice soup that says, “Hello fall, goodbye summer.”

Spicy Zucchini Rice Soup

This nourishing soup takes advantage of the zucchini, chiles and herbs in our CSA box. It’s quick and easy to put together. Make it even faster in a pressure cooker, and turn it creamy with an immersion blender. With or without those timesavers, this is one delicious recipe, a repeater you will want to make whenever zucchini says soup.

ingredients for spicy zucchini rice soup

One of the reasons I love to make soup is that soup recipes are flexible. I am always inventing new ones depending on what in my fridge and freezer. Maybe you have green onions—throw them in. Is your zucchini gigantic? Then double the recipe. Which fresh herb do you feel like adding? Which chile for picante heat? Got rice? Go for it.

pressure cooker and immersion blender for spicy zucchini rice soup

Brown rice in this zucchini soup was an afterthought. That is, I thought about adding rice I had in the freezer–after pureeing the cooked vegetables and broth together. Even though it was going to take an extra 10 minutes, I ran with the idea. Bonus! The pleasantly chewy rice grains enhance every spoonful of soup with hearty texture and flavor–all for the better.

You will want to cook the rice beforehand if you don’t have a stash of leftover rice, like I did from testing brown rice sushi salad recipes. Why not make some ahead and have it in the freezer? When zucchini talks, you’ll be in the conversation, rice ready.

Spicy Zucchini Rice Soup

Spicy Zucchini Rice Soup notes:

  • Light green aji crystal chiles from our Ranui CSA box bring sweet citrus flavor plus spice to this soup. If unavailable—substitute a serrano chile. Both are fairly hot chiles.
  • With a pressure cooker, this soup can be on the table in ½ hour! Mine is a Kuhn Rikon. If you don’t own a pressure cooker, think seriously about purchasing one.
  • I consider an immersion blender as indispensable for soups as a pressure cooker. It’s a no muss–no fuss blender for hot liquids.
  • Vegans omit the cheese. Optional: Serve with pumpkin seeds and/or slices of avocado.

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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Spicy Zucchini Rice Soup
Easy Spicy Zucchini Rice Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
You’ll love this healthful hot soup in the fall, when there’s a chill in the air, yet the zucchini harvest is still going strong. Serve with a salad for a light and simple supper.
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion , or 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 5 cups coarsely chopped zucchini
  • 1 aji crystal chile , or 1 serrano chile, seeds removed (see note)
  • 1 large or 2 small stalks celery , optional
  • 4 parsley sprigs , or about 8 basil leaves
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • Real Salt , as needed
  • 1 cup cooked short grain brown rice
  • Grated cheese , optional (I used Pecorino Romano)
  1. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil on medium flame. (see note)
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic several minutes. Add the zucchini, chile, celery, if using, and the parsley or basil. Pour in the veggie broth—it should barely or not even cover the vegetables.
  3. Bring to pressure, reduce the heat just to maintain the pressure and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce pressure immediately by running under cold water.
  4. Puree with an immersion blender. (see note) Season to taste with salt, if needed.
  5. Add the cooked rice, and heat until the rice is hot.
  6. Serve with cheese, if desired. Or garnish with pumpkin seeds and/or slices of avocado.
Recipe Notes
  • Light green aji crystal chiles, originally from Chile, are about 3 inches long and add a sweet citrus flavor dimension to the soup. If unavailable—substitute a serrano chile. Both are fairly hot chiles.
  • Use caution with the chiles. It is safest to remove the seeds--you want flavorful spice that doesn’t overwhelm the soup.
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the vegetables and broth until everything in the pot is very soft, about 20 minutes.
  • If you don’t have an immersion blender, puree the soup in a regular blender. Blend the hot soup in batches—no more than half full. Use caution and keep the lid on tight.


  • Teri Thomas

    I’m glad you included a shot of the aji crystal chile – a new one for me. Reply · 16 September, 2014

  • Very impressive CSA. I am dying to get my hands on some Aji peppers in preparation for my Peruvian cooking adventure. Gorgeous ‘cross-seasonal’ soup. GREG Reply · 18 September, 2014

  • mmmmmm! That bowl looks so comforting yet fresh! I love creamy soups when the weather gets cold and I’ve never made a smooth soup using zucchini – it looks so enticing!!! I could easily cozy up with a big bowl of this soup any day this fall and winter! Reply · 21 September, 2014

    • Letty

      I love that this soup is creamy yet creamless… Thanks Julia! Reply · 21 September, 2014

  • […] and Parmesan, Kalyn’s Kitchen Julia Child’s French Onion Soup, Hip Pressure Cooking Easy Spicy Zucchini Rice Soup, Letty’s Kitchen Lentil Orzo Soup, Pressure Cooking Today Creamy Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup, […] Reply · 1 October, 2014

  • Susan Packard

    Finally made it to your site. This soup looks awesome. I have beaucoup yellow zuccs, no brainer. Miss you. Reply · 6 October, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Susan. Sounds like you are having fun in your garden. Missed you in Abi-cize today. Reply · 6 October, 2014

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