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This versatile soup is the vibrant green of new growth that we are all waiting for in early spring. It has a silken mouth feel and dances with the flavors of basil and fennel. Comforting when served warm on a snowy perfidious spring day as we are having today. I love it best chilled and garnished with yogurt and chives.

March in New England is full of the promise of spring. The whispered promises of a cheating lover. After making it through the winter. Making it thru the frozen days of February. March arrives and each day is as grey as the one before plodding like grim soldiers towards April with its heavy rains and leaden skies.

Spring was unbearable for Rie. Her own mother’s birthday fell on the Ides of March. The scent of waking earth beneath the pines tore at her heart. Spring brought with it the homesickness she was able of push away the rest of the year. Walking home from the bus stop on those wet April nights when the road was slick and shiny with trapped starlight thoughts of home weighed at her feet. She would stare hard at the green haze that lay over April trees wondering if it were wishful thinking or had that miracle of true spring finally arrived.

“If there was only one tree like that in the world, you would think it was beautiful. But because there are so many, you just can’t see how beautiful it really is.”

-A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

In our tiny bricked yard that most would call a patio but for us was a garden, a yard, and an outdoor dining spot all rolled into one, was a lilac tree. Somehow in that shaded spot it had grown tall with one grey trunk rising upwards towards the light. Its crown unfurled with heart shaped leaves and bunches of pendent lavender flowers. Their scent wafted up to my bedroom window at night calling me to walk down and sit on the back steps in the dark. People would exclaim when they entered the yard “Oh a lilac tree. I didn’t know there were lilac trees”

Though we lacked what many families took for granted we had this one small wonder and Rie took pride in that. Lilacs meant that we had made it through winter and had the whole summer ahead of us. We were sitting at the table with a feast spread before us: that is what May felt like.

Down at the end of the block was a house with large lilac bushes so heavy with blooms that there was a mist of drunken bees in the air and the heavily laden bushes bent low with the burden of both bees and flowers.

The smell of moist earth and lilacs hung in the air like wisps of the past and hints of the future.

Margaret Millar

In early evening Rie would set out with her basket, her shears and her determination. She’d arrive home breathless with armfuls of lilacs. Her cheeks pink with exertion and with the excitement of having gotten away from the scene of the crime. There she was in her 30’s and 40’s still capable of wild acts. Just as she was the girl who stole sweet juicy fruit from the trees of her neighbors in Denmark. Sweet thievery suited her. For days our house was filled with the heady lilac perfume and the buzzing of the few bees too lazy to leave their blossoms.

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d, 
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, 
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. 
-Walt Whitman
5 from 3 votes
Zucchini and Leek Soup (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins

A light green springtime soup. Serve it warm, chilled or room temperature. It is simple to make but between the layers of fennel, basil and leek flavours lies a uniquely delicious soup.

Course: Lunch, Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 People
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp white miso
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp chives, minced
  • 1 cup basil leaves, generous
  1. Slice your leeks lengthwise into 4 quarters and rinse well in water to remove all the grit. Roughly chop them. Heat olive oil in a wide pan until medium hot and sauté your leeks for 2 minutes and then add the minced garlic and continue sautéing until the leeks are bright green. Remove from heat and set aside. It took me 4 minutes start to finish.

  2. Dice up your zucchini. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil and put in your diced zucchini and fennel seeds. Cover and allow to simmer about 5-6 minutes until the zucchini is vibrant green and just tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the cashews, miso paste and leek mixture.

  3. Add the soy milk..

  4. Allow to cool 10 minutes and then stir in the shredded basil. lemon zest and lemon juice into the pot. Puree until smooth using either an immersion blender or in batches in a stand blender. Salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with yoghurt, and chives. Eat warm, room temperature or chill overnight. 


Leek Soup Pin

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It would make my day if you left me a comment. If you make one of these recipes please let me see by tagging @SunnysideHanne on Instagram, I’d love to see.


  1. Yummy, Yummy and… Yummy, – with vegan garniture ( Soy yoghurt and bread with olive olie ) and the dairy version of garniture.
    I followed the reciepe to ocd level and thereafter chose to experiment with the two version of garniture.

    • Garnish it good great fun, is it not. Sometimes I sprinkle chopped pistachios over the soup.
      Bread with olive oil. mmm sounds yummy.
      In the story above I write of the miracle that a lilac bush grew for us, in little light, and grew tree like. It was actually Little Helle that would snap off any sprouts that grew on the trunk and there for it grew in a tree form. She only told me this recently. -Hanne

  2. When I was very little, a toddler really, Father instructed me to remove any buds off the main trunk of that lical that I saw. I carried out this order throughout my childhood – dutifully rubbing off the tiny round green buds every spring and summer – and the lilac grew into a tree. Many years later, when I was grown, Father remarked on the strange fact of the lilac tree in the garden of that house. I said, “Don’t you remember, Father? It’s because you told me to take off the buds from the main trunk when I was little. It was you who wanted it to become a tree.” And he said, “Buds? Buds? I couldn’t have said that … I must have said ‘BUGS’: ‘Please take off any bugs you see’.” So that cleared up the mystery. A “G” was heard as a “D” and a bush became a tree.

    • Was it Rosanna Rosanna Dana who would mishear something, go on a tangent, and then when realizing her mistake say “Oh Never mind.”
      You were a budding(pun intended) Gilda Radner.

  3. I have inherited both the love of soup and the love of thievery from Blaua. Nothing feels better than getting away with something cheeky, we both knew it.

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