Zucchini Dill Pickle Soup

There are few recipes containing homemade lacto-fermented vegetables that I will subject to heat. High heat kills bacteria – good and bad – and my aim is always to develop recipes intended to optimize good bacteria for the gut. So this recipe is a stretch for me: I know heat will undoubtedly reduce the amount of probiotics in this soup compared to eating a raw fermented pickle. Here, I’ve relented and allowed the flavour of fermented foods to trump its functional benefit. Although some probiotics will be destroyed by heating the soup, I’ve tried to minimize the loss by adding the pickle juice (a potent source of probiotics) at the end and keeping the heat low. Canned or store-bought Bick’s Dill Pickles are completely fine to use instead of fermented pickles.

Gut health goodness isn’t entirely sacrificed in this soup. I’ve added more as prebiotics from pureed cannellini beans. This bean puree also adds “creaminess” to this dairy-free soup. Don’t worry about losing out on calcium though. White beans – be that navy (pea), Great Northern, or cannellini – all contain higher amounts of calcium than any other pulse, actually triple that of black or kidney beans. These beans also add fibre, which will stabilize blood sugar and promote healthy bowel movements. Hey, we all need to go!

Zucchini Dill Pickle Soup

Prep time: 10 mins | Total time: 25 mins |  Yield: 8 servings | Author: Sarah Campbell
nightshades, dairy, gluten, grains, soy, eggs, nuts


  •  2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 6 cups diced zucchini with softer skin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or frozen dill weed
  • 2/3 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • 3 cups homemade chicken broth
  • ½ cup finely diced dill pickle (1 large or 2 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
Ingredient Tip: Use small to medium-sized zucchini rather than large zucchini the size of a baseball bat. The larger, more mature zucchini develop a bitter flavour due to concentration of cucurbitacins, a bitter-flavoured chemical in zucchini and cucumber. It is best to use zucchini with skin still tender enough for your fingernail to penetrate. Using mature zucchini with thick skin may cause the soup to become a tad bitter.


  1. Heat a 8-quart pot over medium, then add the olive oil. Sauté onion for 10 minutes, reducing heat if necessary to prevent the onion from browning too much. Browned onion may create off flavours.
  2. Add minced garlic and celery salt; sauté for one minute, then add zucchini and stir. Continue sautéing for another 10 minutes or until zucchini have reduced in volume and have become tender. Add a quarter cup broth if moisture is needed before zucchini has reached tenderness.
  3. Meanwhile, puree the cannellini beans with ¼ – ½ cup broth in a blender. Pour the remaining chicken broth into the zucchini mixture; stir to distribute heat from the vegetables into the cool broth. Transfer this mixture to the blender with pureed beans. Blend on high for a smooth consistency for 1-2 minutes, less for a chunkier texture.
  4. Transfer puree vegetable mixture back into the pot and warm mildly, trying to avoid a rapid boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add diced dill pickles. If pickle juice is fermented add at the end to preserve as many good microbes as possible. If pickle juice is from canned pickles, then it can be added with the dill pickles.

1 serving equals 1 cup

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