It’s the time of year people are enjoying the bounties of their gardens, or in my case, the bounty of friends’ gardens. When I get lucky enough to score fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, I make gazpacho.
Whether the produce comes from your backyard, your friend’s backyard, a farmer’s market, or your local grocery store, this combination of flavors in a cold soup is refreshing on a hot summer evening. While ripe-from-the-garden tomatoes are ideal, you can also expect good results with Campari, Roma, cherry, and grape tomatoes.
I’ve never made this recipe the same way twice, partly due to what veggies I have on hand, and partly because I like to taste test recipes to see what we like best. Fortunately, we’ve liked every variation so far. Add whatever optional veggies you like to the basic ingredients to make this recipe your own.
Preparation time: 20 minutes Total time: 2 hours and 20 minutes
- Countertop or immersion blender (for smooth or slightly chunky gazpacho)
Serves: 4 to 8 depending on the amount of optional ingredients
Ingredients for basic gazpacho:
- 1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (peeling is optional, see note in directions below)
- 1/2 English cucumber, diced or 1 medium garden cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1/2 red or white onion, diced
- 1 red, yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp parsley, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 8 radishes, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 4 cups tomato juice or V-8, depending on your preference (I like half tomato juice and half Hot and Spicy V-8)
- I lime, juiced
- 1 tbsp traditional balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp Worchestershire
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Fresh basil or cilantro, sliced thin
Some gazpacho recipes say to peel the tomatoes. That may not be necessary depending on the type of tomato you are using. Don’t bother if you are using cherry or grape tomatoes. For my tastes, Campari tomatoes are fine without peeling them. For tougher skinned tomatoes, like Roma and plum, it might be worthwhile to peel them.
To peel tomatoes, make a shallow X on the bottom of each one with a sharp knife. Put enough water in a saucepan to cover the tomatoes. Bring the water to a boil. Using tongs, plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove tomatoes to an ice bath. After about 1 minute, you should be able to lift the skins off easily starting at the X.
To seed tomatoes, cut them in half from bottom to top. With your fingers or a spoon, scoop out the seeds.
Choose smooth, slightly chunky or chunky gazpacho
Before you start cutting veggies, decide if you want smooth, slightly chunky, or chunky gazpacho. Making smooth soup is easiest. Put moderate-sized pieces of veggies into the blender, flip a switch to puree it for a couple of minutes, and you’ve got soup. If you want it slightly chunky, dice about half of the veggies, then throw the rest into a blender. If you want it chunky, dice all the veggies into small pieces. For slightly chunky and chunky soup, add tomato juice and/or V8 until you have the consistency you like.
Mix all ingredients together, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Serve cold.