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Spicy Zucchini Rice Soup
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5 from 2 votes

Easy Spicy Zucchini Rice Soup

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. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan Friendly, Vegetarian
Keyword: Instant Pot, pressure cooker, zucchini
Servings: 6 servings.


  • 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 serrano chile, seeds removed (see note)
  • 1 large or 2 small stalks celery , optional
  • 4 parsley sprigs , or about 8 basil leaves
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • fine sea salt , as needed
  • 1 cup cooked short grain brown rice
  • Grated cheese , optional (I used Pecorino Romano)
  • sliced avocados and/or pumpkin seeds


  • Heat the oil on medium flame. Sauté the onion and garlic several minutes. With the Instant Pot, do this on the Sauté function. (see note) Add the zucchini, chile, celery, if using, and the parsley or basil. Pour in the vegetable broth—it will barely, or not even, cover the vegetables in the cookpot.
  • With the Instant Pot, manually set the time to 6 minutes. Quick release the pressure using the top vent.
  • For stovetop pressure cooker—bring to pressure and cook for 6 minutes. Quick-release the pressure under cold running water. 
  • For regular stovetop cooking without a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, cover and simmer the vegetables and broth until the zucchini is very soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Puree using an immersion blender or puree in batches in a blender jar. (see note) Season to taste with salt.
  • Add the cooked rice, and heat until the rice is hot.
  • Serve with cheese, if desired. Or garnish with pumpkin seeds and/or slices of avocado.


  • Spicy zucchini soup freezes well! Make it now, thaw, reheat and enjoy later!
  • The first time I made this zucchini soup, I used aji crystal chiles, a light green spicy chile that came in my farm share box. They brought a sweet citrus flavor dimension to the soup. Serrano chiles also have a citrusy flavor so that's what I use now.
  • Use caution with the chiles. You want flavorful spiciness that doesn’t overwhelm the soup--so remove the seeds and veins before chopping the chile.
  • No pressure cooker or Instant Pot? Simmer the vegetables and broth until the zucchini is very soft, about 20 minutes.
  • No immersion blender? Puree the hot soup in a regular blender in batches. Fill the jar no more than half full and hold the lid on tight.