Summer’s bounty becomes drinkable with this easy Gazpacho recipe, a chilled soup that requires no cooking whatsoever. Serve it in a bowl or a tall glass; you’ll love it more with every cool, savory sip you take.
Too hot to cook? Try these other recipes that can be whipped up without heating up the kitchen. A big bowl of Cowboy Caviar and corn chips, or BLT Pasta Salad, or the fabulous Turkey Avocado BLT. Each and every one is perfect summer eating!
What does gazpacho mean?
Traditionally, gazpacho is a spicy, cold vegetable soup primarily made of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Gazpacho has origins in Spanish and Andalusian cuisine, where it was made for thousands of years out of bread, garlic, olive oil and water. It wasn’t until the 19th century, when tomatoes were introduced to the region, that it became closer to the juicy red, tomato-based soup we know and love today.
Today, Gazpacho has broadened its definition to include other variations of chilled soup. Some versions incorporate avocado, grapes, and even fresh fruit. Every version is as wonderful as the last.
- Tomatoes. The recipe calls for plum tomatoes, but if you have ripe tomatoes you’d rather use, including yellow tomatoes, go ahead and use them.
- Cucumbers. Hot house, Persian, or whatever you’re growing.
- Onions. Red onions add some color to the soup.
- Garlic. This recipe is not for the garlic faint of heart! Add or subtract as you see fit.
- Bell peppers. Red bell peppers offer some sweetness, but really, any bell pepper color combination will do.
- Tomato juice. Try to find a good quality, low-sodium tomato juice. Tomato vegetable beverages (like V-8) might be too salty for using in Gazpacho.
- Olive oil.
- Vinegar. White wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or red wine vinegar are all good choices.
- Basil. Optional, but basil is a nice finishing touch if serving gazpacho at a party.
How to make Gazpacho:
The biggest, most time-consuming thing you have to do is prep your vegetables. But don’t worry, nothing has to be precise! Even though the blender or food processor does most of the work for you, chopping the ingredients into rough, 1-inch chunks helps the steel blades process evenly, without turning everything into one big mushy mess.
- Chop the seeded cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, and onion into 1-inch pieces. Mince the garlic and set it aside.
- Keeping the vegetables separate, process each type using the pulse button on your food processor or blender until coarsely chopped.
- As you go, pour the processed veggies into one big bowl. Once all the vegetables are finished, add the tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Give everything a big stir, taste, then adjust the seasoning. Stir again, wait a couple minutes, and taste again.
- Chill in the refrigerator and drink up whenever you want.
Classic Gazpacho Variations:
- Add a slice or two of stale bread to the blender to purée into the soup.
- Add chunks of avocado for a creamier gazpacho.
- Some gazpacho chefs add a little ground cumin to the gazpacho.
- Add a pinch of Spanish chili, pimentòn, for a little spice.
- Extra zucchini can be used sparingly in gazpacho. Chop it up and throw it in to the mix.
- Roast the peppers over hot coals to give the soup a hint of smokiness.
Traditional Gazpacho garnishes:
What to serve on top of chilled tomato soup to make it picture-perfect.
- A drizzle of olive oil.
- Chopped hard-boiled egg.
- Homemade croutons.
- Chopped red bell pepper or cucumbers for added crunch and color.
- A chiffonade of fresh basil or some chopped fresh chives.
- 8 plum tomatoes roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 3 red bell peppers cored, seeded, and roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 2 hothouse cucumbers unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium red onions roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 46 ounces tomato juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- fresh basil chiffonade or a sprig, for garnish
- In a food processor fit with the steel blade, pulse the tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and red onions separately until coarsely chopped (do not pulse to mush).
- Combine all vegetables in a very large bowl (at least 4 quarts). Stir in tomato juice, olive oil, white wine vinegar, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper and chill well. Garnish with basil before serving.
- 8 (2-cup) entree servings
- 16 (1-cup) appetizer servings