I love to eat vegetables, and I make sure to squeeze some in at every meal. Since soups and salads are the best way to cram as many of them in as you can at one go, they are two of my favorite things to eat. So when I discovered a way to merge the two, you can imagine my excitement! That’s what gazpacho is really, the marriage of soup and salad- served cold and perfect for slurping on steamy summer evenings.
The first time I tried gazpacho was when we visited Madrid. It was a surprise visit, actually, a 24 hour layover between flying from Athens to the US a few years back. At first I was annoyed by the long layover, until I realized we would be able to squeeze a mini day-cation into our trip. I’ll never forget that first bowl of authentic gazpacho I tasted, and the immediate desire I had to try and recreate it.
- 3-4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 jalepeno
- juice of one lime
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- tsp cumin
- salt/pepper to taste
Start by peeling your cucumber, plucking about half of a cup of cilantro leaves from their stems, and crushing your garlic cloves. Crushing garlic releases the beneficial compounds it contains, and eating lots of it raw offers a magnitude of health benefits– don’t let anyone’s comments on your breath convince you otherwise!
Next you’ll want to core your tomatoes and give them a rough chop. Lots of gazpacho recipes recommend removing the skin and seeds and then adding in tomato juice. I find this extra work (and boiling of water) unnecessary. If you’re using ripe, juicy tomatoes, why add processed juice? Tomato juice comes as a package deal with the tomatoes, I think.
Go ahead and roughly chop your onion and cucumber as well. You’ll be throwing everything in the blender in a minute, but just for a head start. Remove the stem and seeds from the pepper and jalapeno. Careful not to touch your eyes after handling the jalapeno (that lesson was learned the hard way for me). I use a whole jalapeno, but you could just use half or omit it completely if you’re not a fan of the fire. After all your chopping you’ll end up with a happy pile of vegetables. You might be tempted to stop right here and call it dinner, but resist! I promise the end result will be worth the few extra steps.
Since we’re not using additional juice here, you’ll need a little bit of liquid to take you from salad to soup. Combine the lime juice, olive oil, and vinegar. (you can add them straight to your blender if you want to skip washing the extra dish.
Toss all of the ingredients into your blender and let ‘er rip (don’t forget the lid!). You might have to work in batches. Once you’ve got a good spin going, add in your salt, pepper, and cumin. Taste and adjust to your liking.
You can serve your gazpacho right away, but letting it hang out for a few hours (or even overnight) in the fridge will make it even better.
I like to add a few bits of what’s inside to my bowl of soup and serve it with some avocado slices- because let’s be honest, avocado makes everything better. Sometimes I might get fancy and drop on a dollop of creme fraiche. My husband likes to soak up his gazpacho with a hunk of crusty bread. Dressed up or plain and simple, you really can’t go wrong.
If there were ever a summer soup, this is it.
Recipe photo featured on Food and Wine’s Instagram account. Check it out here!
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