There are days when it is just too hot to turn on the heat to cook, and when my body simply craves a cool and refreshing meal option. And while fresh salads like a bright summer citrus salad or the middle-eastern tabbouleh salad may come to mind, today’s dish is so much simpler to make and eat.
Today we’re making soup. Cold soup. Tomato and bell pepper gazpacho to be exact. For those who don’t know what gazpacho is, do not fret. Here’s a brief introduction to our main star today.
Gazpacho, an appetizer which originated from the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, is a tomato-based soup made of raw vegetables, which is later served cold. In Andalusia, most authentic gazpacho recipes include stale bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt and vinegar.
However, according to Wikipedia, there are similar variations of gazpacho such as salmorejo, porra antequerana and ajoblanco, which are also popular in Andalusia, although their influence is not as widespread as gazpacho.
In fact, there are many modern variations of gazpacho, often in difference colors, and sometimes omitting the tomatoes and bread in favor of avocados, cucumbers, parsley, watermelon, grapes, meat stock, seafood and other ingredients.
Since I’d never eaten gazpacho before, I wanted to experiment and play with an easy gazpacho recipe, based on the principles of gazpacho and the vegetables I had on hand.
(Disclaimer: The recipe for gazpacho that I’m sharing with you is not exactly authentic, but because gazpacho has evolved so much – with all its modern variations, I believe the most important thing is for you to use the vegetables that are in season for you, as well as those that you like best.)
I began by roughly chopping tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber, shallots, garlic, avocado, basil and parsley, and then tossed the vegetables into the blender. Adding olive oil, fresh lime juice, a splash of apple cider vinegar, I let the blender do the work until the gazpacho had a smooth, creamy texture. A generous shake of salt and a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper gave the gazpacho just the right amount of additional oomph it needed.
The beautiful thing about gazpacho is that there is absolutely no cooking or heat involved – all that you require are raw vegetables and a blender (it doesn’t even have to be that powerful). Once the ingredients have been well-blended, let the gazpacho chill in the refrigerator until nice and cold (for at least four hours).
For those hot and humid days, a bowl of cold gazpacho is pure delight.
Cool and refreshing, yet also pumping with so much flavor (Onions! Garlic! Lime! Basil! Parsley!), it makes the perfect summer snack, particularly when you’re not extremely hungry, but craving for something with a bit of kick. Plus, it’s completely vegetarian and full of vitamins and nutrients!
I hope you enjoy this gazpacho, wherever in the world you are!
Cool and refreshing, yet also pumping with so much flavor, it makes the perfect summer snack. Plus, it’s completely vegetarian and full of vitamins and nutrients!
- 1/4 kg seasonal tomatoes, de-seeded, roughly chopped
- 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 small cucumber, roughly chopped
- 1-2 small shallots, peeled
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup cold olive oil
- 2 squeezed limes
- A splash of apple cider vinegar (start with a little, then adjust according to taste)
- 1/4 cup chopped basil & parsley
- 1/2 avocado for creaminess
- Large pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Roughly chop all the vegetables, and place the ingredients in a blender.
- Blend until you get a smooth texture.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill gazpacho in the refridgerator for at least four hours or overnight before serving.
- Serve cold and garnished with diced red pepper, cucumbers and fresh basil leaves.