Summer is slowly coming to an end and the market is still full of fresh, seasonal vegetables therefore today we'll honor them in a beautiful gazpacho recipe. Gazpacho is a cool and flavorful tomato based soup that is originally from Andalusia, Spain. The use of fresh and colorful vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell-peppers, onions, garlic combined with a dash of olive oil and vinegar produces a vibrant and appetizing gazpacho. A nutrient rich, raw and cold vegetable soup is a wonderful option for a warm summer day.
As you may know, one of my favorite activities is to shop for fresh produce in farmer's market. I always find an amazing variety of seasonal, organic, ripe vegetables that are grown locally. Last time I went, I found beautiful tomatoes that were sweet and delicious as well as fresh cucumbers, brightly colored bell-peppers and red onions. And honestly it was the best time to take advantage of all the available vegetables and use their natural flavors in recipes such as gazpacho. You know, gazpacho is often defined as a liquid salad and it's easy to see why.
Since gazpacho is made from fresh vegetables, it's a natural source of vitamins (A, C, E), minerals and nutrients thus improving body's health and immune system. One of the key ingredients in gazpacho is tomatoes. These are a rich source of antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Also, there are studies which prove that eating brightly colored vegetables have a positive effect on cardiovascular health.
Gazpacho is easy to prepare and you can make this hours in advance, even the day before. The most time consuming part is chopping the vegetables. It can be served with different garnishes such as bell-pepper dices, garlic croutons, basil and so on. Gazpacho is perfect as an appetizer or light summer meal!
Yield: 6-8 servings Preparation time: 30 minutes
- 1.5 kg (3 lbs.) ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 l (4 cups) tomato juice
- 500 ml (2 cups) vegetable broth
- 3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1 red bell-pepper, finely diced
- 1 yellow bell-pepper, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) sour cream
- 1/3 cup basil + 2 tablespoons, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- desired garnishes: garlic croutons, basil, tomatoes, avocados, scallions
- In a large glass bowl, combine the tomato juice with the chopped tomatoes, vegetable broth, olive oil, vinegar and garlic and mix until fully incorporated.
- Add the chopped cucumbers, onion and 1/3 cup of basil and mix well.
- Add the diced bell-peppers, leaving 2 tablespoons for garnish.
- In a blender, puree 3 cups of soup until the mixture is smooth and transfer it back into the glass bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Serve gazpacho chilled, in soup bowl, accompanied by sour cream, basil and other garnishes.
Tips and Tricks:
- The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to place them in hot water for 1 minute. For this, boil water in a medium saucepan and as soon as the water start to boil, turn off the heat and add the tomatoes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes and let them cool for 5 minutes. The skin will rub of very easy.
- Gazpacho is best served fresh but can be stored in a closed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.