Gazpacho recipe: cold soup for hot days
I remember the first time my mom made gazpacho. I was 12, it was a hot summer day, and turning the oven on was out of the question. She scrounged in our veggie bin, rustled up a cucumber and a bell pepper, cut up some ripe-to-bursting tomatoes, and added a dash of vinegar, a splash of Tabasco, and a shake each of salt and pepper. She then threw all that in a blender, along with—to my surprise—some ice and blitzed it all. We ate it topped with cilantro, and reveled in its coolness.
Fast forward to today, and this cold, no-cook summer soup is a mainstay in my cooking repertoire. Plus, easy and flavorful gazpacho is a perfect fit with Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, called Food Optimizing, since it’s packed with veggies, which you can eat in unlimited amounts to satisfy your appetite. To make gazpacho yourself, follow the base recipe below, then read on for tips on how to shake it up.
Gazpacho base recipe
For the base, add 2 pounds of very ripe tomatoes (chopped), a garlic clove (peeled and finely grated), half each of an English cucumber and a large bell pepper (both roughly chopped), and a shallot (peeled) to a blender. Add 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend, puree, or pulse to your desired consistency, then chill for two hours before serving.
Change up the ingredients
Once you’ve mastered the base recipe, get creative! Take a note from my mom’s book and see what’s in your refrigerator already: leftover fresh herbs, a few stalks of celery, zucchini, carrots…any fresh veggie works.
Add some spice
To spice things up a bit, add a few dashes of your favorite (no sugar added) hot sauce, or Worcestershire sauce, or experiment with other vinegars, like a quality balsamic. Up the heat and spice quotient with a seeded, stemmed and diced jalapeño, some ground cumin and chili powder, then garnish with fresh corn kernels.
Serve chunky or smooth
Lastly, play around with consistency! Gazpacho can be rustic and chunky—lovely served alongside lean meats and fish—or smooth and elegant, which is great for serving at dinner parties. It also makes for a convenient lunch when packed in a cold-retaining thermos. Store in reusable containers or glass Mason jars in the fridge for up to three days. Enjoy!