Summer is the time to enjoy the fruits of your gardening labor but with the sweltering temperatures we’ve seen so far this season, who feels like cooking? Gazpacho — a cold soup of blended raw vegetables — is the perfect way to use up some of your garden’s bounty. If you don’t have a green thumb, swing by any of the local farmers markets and grab yourself some nice ripe tomatoes and crisp cucumbers. Both are great choices for a light summertime meal that whips up in minutes. The best part? No cooking required!

Tomato gazpacho

  • Red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup day-old crusty bread, minus the crust
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, well-ripened (but not overripe so they aren’t mealy)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, unpeeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and rough cut
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Tear the bread into chunks and place in a large bowl. Add just enough vinegar to moisten the bread, but not so much that it becomes soggy. Crush the garlic using a press, and mix into the bread and vinegar. Core and coarsely chop the tomatoes and add to the bowl, followed by the cucumbers and roasted peppers. Mix well and then blend until smooth and silky, adding a drizzle of olive oil along the way. Blending can be done in batches if necessary. If so, make sure to combine batches in a bowl and use a whisk to gently blend them together. Garnish with chopped fresh basil and serve with good crusty bread.

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Cucumber Gazpacho

  • 2 English (hothouse) cucumbers
  • 2 cups green, seedless grapes
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

After washing all your produce, cut the ends off the cucumbers and chop the remaining into chunks. (The thinner skins of the English cucumbers mean you don’t even have to peel them!) Place the cucumbers into a blender and add in your de-vined grapes and yogurt. Blend until you have a smooth consistency, and, voilà! While you’ll certainly enjoy this right away, you’ll love it even more when it’s chilled for at least an hour after preparation. The soup is best when eaten within 48 to 72 hours, as the light green hue will start to brown.

I’ve made the cucumber gazpacho on several occasions, and every single time I end up tweaking the quantities called for, so use these as an estimate. I’ve had times when the yogurt was of a super dry consistency, or I needed to add more grapes to get just the right amount of sweetness. If you’d like to kick up the flavor factor or make this soup into a meal, top it with some chunks of fresh avocado and grilled shrimp, add a small dollop of leftover yogurt, and sprinkle with a bit of cilantro. If you’re in need of a real time-saver, I’ve found the cilantro lime shrimp in Costco’s prepared foods section are a perfect complement to this recipe.

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