This deliciously simple squash blossom soup, sometimes called sopa campesina in central Mexico, takes advantage of summer’s bounty. Fresh squash blossoms, Mexican grey squash, and corn make up the main ingredients of this soup. This soup is light enough to enjoy on a sunny summer day and has a tender, delicate squash flavor.
The kids are back to school. Labor Day weekend has just passed. So even though it feels like summer is officially over, I am still eating up the last of the fresh summer produce. Every. Last. Bit.
And that includes delicate squash blossoms (called flor de calabaza in Spanish). One of my favorite things about this time of year is seeing the squash blossom vendors with their bundles of golden flowers set up along street corners and markets throughout the city.
While squash blossoms might still be a bit exotic in the US, squash blossoms are used commonly in Mexican cuisine. You can find stuffed squash blossom fritters, squash blossom quesadillas, and squash blossom soup as part of the midday meal or breakfast in homes or restaurants throughout Mexico.
I learned how to make this particular soup from Señora Lorenza who calls this, sopa campesina (farmer’s soup) because the ingredients come fresh from the field. Sometimes this soup is referred to as sopa de milpa.
But whatever you want to call it, this soup is light and delicious! Plus, it is fast to make and vegan too!
What’s in Mexican squash blossom soup?
- vegetable oil
- Mexican grey squash
- squash blossoms
- vegetable broth
Switch out the squash
Mexican grey squash is one of the most common types of squash where I live in central Mexico. I have seen this squash in the produce section of well-stocked grocery stores in US near the other summer squash. But don’t worry if you can’t find this squash at your local grocer. You can use zucchini or yellow summer squash instead of the Mexican squash in this recipe.
Change the broth
I have made this recipe with both vegetable and chicken broth. Either will work here.
Add in other veggies
I love this summer soup because the squash flavor really stands out. But there isn’t any reason why you can’t add in your other favorite vegetables. Peas, green beans, and carrots would be nice additions.
Fresh, frozen, or canned corn
I usually have a large bag of frozen yellow corn in my freezer which makes it just that much quicker to put this soup together. Of course, canned or fresh corn kernels will work just as well in this soup too!
Fresh epazote is so popular in central Mexican cooking that it is an ingredient that I often take for granted. Epazote goes by the same name in English or you may see it called Jesuit’s tea or Mexican tea. I have seen this fresh in my local Mexican grocer in the US. Alternatively, you could order a dried version online.
If you can’t find epazote, you could omit it entirely for this dish. Or if desired, replace it with another herb, like cilantro or bay leaf.
Here in Mexico, Mexican grey squash flowers are commonly used. Zucchini flowers or other types of squash flowers will work just as well in this dish.
Change out the oil
I usually have canola oil on hand that I use for this dish. Olive oil, safflower oil, or any other mild-flavored oil will work in this dish. For a richer broth, you could melt butter instead of using oil.
How to make Mexican squash blossom soup step-by-step
With just a few simple steps, you can have this easy soup on your table!
Clean the squash blossoms
Start by removing the stems and the small spikes from the bottom of the chalice (the part at the base of the blossom). Next, gently open the blossoms, rinse them with cold water inside and out, and give them a little shake to remove the excess water. I then set them aside to dry a bit while I prepare my other ingredients.
Once the blossoms are dry, chop the chalices into small pieces and tear the blossoms into thin shreds. Now, your blossoms are ready for cooking!
Sautee squash, squash blossoms, and onion
Start by heating the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Once the oil is hot, add in the chopped onion, squash, and squash blossoms. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are fragrant about 7-8 minutes.
Add in the remaining ingredients
Add the broth, corn, and epazote to your soup pot. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients and bring the broth to a simmer, partially covered. Cook the soup until the vegetables are tender about 13-15 minutes more. Add salt to taste and remove from the heat. Serve warm!
When is squash blossom season?
Squash blossoms are available year-round in Mexico, but they are only available in the summer and early fall in the US.
Where can I buy squash blossoms?
I have seen squash blossoms for sale at the local farmer’s market when squash is in season. You may also be able to find these at specialty markets or in a Hispanic grocery store. Look for flowers that aren’t wilted or that have discolored edges.
Which squash blossoms can I pick?
If you are harvesting your own squash blossoms, you will want to pick only the male blossoms from the squash plant. The female blossoms will eventually produce squash. But make sure to leave some of the male blossoms to continue doing their job as pollinators!
So how do you tell a male flower from a female one? The easiest way to tell male from female squash blossoms is to look inside the flower. The male blossoms have only a single stamen at the center of each blossom.
When should I harvest squash blossoms?
Diana Kennedy in her book El Arte de la Cocina Mexicana suggests that the best time to harvest these blossoms is early in the morning when the flower is fully open and fragrant.
How long can I keep fresh squash blossoms?
Fresh blossoms have a short shelf life and are best used right away. If I save the blossoms for the next day, they tend to discolor and wilt, losing flavor. I plan on using my squash blossoms the same day I buy them.
Squash blossom soup makes the perfect first course for these other late summer or early fall meals!
Did you make this delicious soup? Let me know in the comments below!
Mexican Squash Blossom Soup (Sopa de Flor de Calabaza)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil I used canola
- 1 cup white onion, finely diced ~ 1/2 a medium white onion
- 2 medium Mexican grey squash or zucchini ~11.5 ounces or 330g
- 35-40 squash blossoms, cleaned, stems removed, chalice spikes removed, the flowers shredded with fingers and the chalices chopped (~15 ounces or 430g)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 4 1/4 cups vegetable broth ~ 1 liter
- 8 fresh epazote leaves
- Salt to taste
- Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed pot until shimmering, ~2-3 minutes2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Add onion, squash, and squash blossoms to the pot. Fry, moving occasionally, until the ingredients are tender and fragrant and the onion turns translucent, ~ 7 minutes1 cup white onion, finely diced, 2 medium Mexican grey squash or zucchini, 35-40 squash blossoms, cleaned, stems removed, chalice spikes removed, the flowers shredded with fingers and the chalices chopped
- Once the onion is translucent, add in the corn, broth, and epazote leaves. Stir everything to combine. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the vegetables are tender, ~13-15 minutes more.1 cup frozen corn, 4 1/4 cups vegetable broth, 8 fresh epazote leaves
- Add salt to taste and serve warmSalt to taste
(The below nutrition label is included as a courtesy. Our terms and conditions explain our nutrition policy.)