When the summer heat starts to roll in, I start craving meals that don't require me to turn on the oven or stove. That's why one of my favorite recipes to make in the summer is gazpacho—a cold soup made with fresh vegetables and herbs. It's light but satisfying, and it's a great way to get your daily servings of veggies without heating up your kitchen!
Recently, I decided to experiment with making my own version of gazpacho using some unique ingredients I had on hand. After several attempts at tweaking the recipe, I came up with an amazing combination that has become a new favorite for summer dinners!
Making my own gazpacho starts with gathering ingredients. I usually use ripe red tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, white or red onion (whatever you prefer), cubanelle pepper, sherry vinegar, and olive oil as the base. Then I add some herbs for flavor (I like to use basil and parsley).
Personally I enjoy more simple meals so I prefer it just like that, but if you want to get more creative with the dish, you can mix in some extra ingredients to give the soup more depth and flavor. Popular mix-ins include avocado, capers, olives, and a little bit of lemon juice.
Once I have all my ingredients together, it's time to assemble the gazpacho. The trick is to make sure everything is cut into small pieces so that the flavors blend together easily.
To start, combine the Tomatoes, Pepper, Cucumber, Onion, and Garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl (if necessary sometimes I'll work it in batches). Blend the ingredients together at high speed until very smooth (at least 2 minutes) pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
Next, with the motor running, add the Vinegar and 2 teaspoons of Salt and then slowly drizzle in the Olive Oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth & emulsified, similar to a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle a touch more olive oil into the mixture, until texture is creamy.
Strain the mixture through a strainer or a food mill, pushing all of the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Transfer your mixture to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold (at least 6 hours, I usually chill it overnight). Discard the solids.
Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt & vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few tablespoons of ice water. Serve your delicious Summer Time Gazpacho in glasses, over ice if desired, or in a bowl. A few drops of Olive Oil on the top make for a nice touch as well.
Note: This recipe yields 8 to 12 servings, about 1 quart.
- 2 lbs ripe Red Tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks
- 1 Italian frying (Cubanelle) Pepper or another long, light green pepper such as an Anaheim, cored, seeded, and roughly cut into cubes.
- 1 Cucumber (about 8 in. long) peeled and roughly cut into chunks.
- 1 small mild Onion (White or Red) peeled and roughly cut into chunks.
- 1 clove of fresh Garlic.
- 2 TSP Sherry Vinegar, more to taste
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra to taste and for drizzle.