Warming Creamy Zucchini Soup with Freshly Baked Croutons

Zucchini has a variety of health benefits due to it's high nutritional value. Zucchini contain a fair amount of potassium that can help reduce blood pressure as well as a good amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, plays a huge role in keeping the immune system healthy. This versatile summer squash is also high in folate, calcium, fiber and is also great for the skin giving it a natural glow and restoring moisture. 

A client recently turned me onto this recipe and I will say it is incredible for a dairy free, purely vegetable soup. Serve this soup hot as a first course or make a bigger batch and enjoy as a meal.
 
Serving size: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 large organic zucchini or 5 small zucchini
1 large shallot
4 cloves of chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 bottle of 750mL San Pelligrino sparkling mineral water
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Loaf of Fresh French Baguette (optional)
1 cup grated parmesan reggiano (optional)
 
Directions for freshly baked croutons: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Chop bread into small bite size pieces.
In a baking dish pour 2-3 tbsp olive oil over bread and make sure all pieces are covered in olive oil. 
Cook for 10-15 minutes or until croutons or brown and crispy and set aside. 

Directions for soup: 
In a large skillet sauté the shallot and garlic well.
Add salt, pepper bay leaf and keep stirring until ingredients start browning and you smell the aroma of garlic. 
Add chopped zucchini and keep sautéing them together until the zucchini is almost half way cooked.
Add 1/2 bottle of sparkling water and cook it for another 10 minutes or until zucchini is fully cooked. 
Put everything in a blender and thoroughly blend.
Combine soup, croutons and freshly grated parmesan in a bowl and enjoy!