When zucchini is piled high in the markets, I think soup. Almost every summer, my mom used to make a simple cold soup from zucchini and onions simmered in chicken broth, blended until chunky and finished with sour cream and dill.

For me, warm soup is more satisfying. So I've altered her recipe a little by adding chickpeas and potatoes, a combination that sends me right to the curry powder. To lighten and balance the soup, I add lemon juice and dill; a final spoonful of plain yogurt gives it tang.

Before starting, make sure your curry powder is fresh. Curry is one of those spices that lose flavor quickly. It's best to buy it in small quantities.

If you want to make this soup vegetarian, use a vegetable broth or water in place of the chicken broth, and double the garlic and ginger.

>Curried Zucchini and Chickpea Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small (2-ounce) onion, cut into 1/4 -inch dice ( 1/2 cup)


1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root (from a 1-inch piece)

3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

1 large (8-ounce) zucchini (unpeeled), cut into 1/3 -inch dice (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons mild curry powder, or to taste

1 1/2 cups cooked, no-salt-added chickpeas (from one 15-ounce can)

2 medium Yukon Gold, creamer or all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3 -inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups, 9 ounces)

3 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth

Freshly squeezed juice from 1 small lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for optional garnish

3 tablespoons plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and salt to taste; cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion starts to soften. Stir in the ginger and garlic; cook for 1 minute, then add the zucchini and stir to combine. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini starts to soften; reduce the heat as needed so the vegetables cook but do not brown.

Sprinkle in the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, potatoes and broth; stir to combine well. Cover, and bring the broth to a boil. Adjust the heat so the liquid maintains a steady, but not vigorous, boil. Cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the lemon juice and dill. Taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed. Divide among individual bowls; serve with a teaspoon of yogurt on top of each portion. Garnish with additional dill, if desired. Makes 6 cups (8 servings).

Per serving: 130 calories, 5 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 105 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar.