Today’s gazpacho recipe is an easy and delicious way to use up those ripe summer tomatoes! 15 minutes is all it takes!
The first time I tried gazpacho was at a friend’s baby shower a number of years ago. The shower was held at a trendy restaurant downtown Grand Rapids, MI.
I walked into the large contemporary room and was immediately greeted by a glass of sangria. (Great shower already!) The room was decorated in neutral colors so as to not reveal the baby’s gender. Freshly cleaned linens covered the tables, flower vases on top. To the left was a large rectangular table amassed with neatly wrapped gifts.
My face must have turned different colors with embarrassment as I looked for a place to drop my gift card. There was no box or designated basket. This was clearly the kind of shower to which you brought a thoughtful gift, preferably handmade.
After I handed my friend the gift card, I took my assigned seat next to some young strangers. Opening remarks and a few awkward hellos later, the luncheon began. Waiters filed in with bowls of chilled gazpacho; I was grateful to pause the small talk.
I remember sipping my gazpacho ever so deliberately. This unfamiliar “fancy” soup was a delightful surprise–light, fresh and bursting with flavor. My brain registered it as something of a salad only in liquid form.
Digging more into the history of gazpacho, I learned that this cold soup from the southern Spanish region of Andalusia originated as poor man’s food consumed by laborers in the vineyards and olive plantations. It consisted mainly of stale “residue” or leftover bread, water, and olive oil all pounded in a wooden bowl. As available, leftover “fragments” of vegetables were added and pounded through with the liquid. Not so “fancy,” after all. Still, absolutely delicious!
There are different versions of gazpacho, but mostly known to us here in the States is tomato gazpacho. So to use up some very ripe summer tomatoes, I went for an easy gazpacho recipe. All it took was 15 minutes of my time and a food processor.
A few things about this tomato gazpacho recipe:
– You do need to use bread that is at least one day old. Choose artisan bread, it does make a difference in taste.
– Select large and ripe tomatoes. I did not use heirloom tomatoes here, although to my palate they taste a little sweeter; no need to add more sugar. I learned in this article, that because of their healthy foliage, heirloom tomatoes can convert more sunlight into sugars and other flavorful components.
– You can chill the gazpacho for a couple of hours or, for a more developed flavor, chill it overnight in a covered glass bowl or jug.
Oh, and please don’t worry about your gazpacho being more orange in color than it is red. According to Jamie Oliver, it is actually supposed to be orange, the bread makes it so.
I love that I can serve gazpacho in bowls as a light meal, or in glasses (or shot glasses) to serve as a party appetizer! And if you do serve this as an appetizer, you can totally keep dinner Spanish-themed and serve this easy seafood paella!
Ready, here is the step-by-step for this easy tomato gazpacho recipe:
(print-friendly recipe to follow)
Gather up your ingredients; wash and prep the vegetables (see ingredient list in the recipe below)
Place the bread slices in a bowl with 1/2 cup of water. Let it soak while you work on the tomatoes.
Remove the tomato tops, and carefully drop the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 40 seconds or so. Remove the tomatoes from the water and let them cool for about a minute. When they are cool enough to handle, gently peel the skins off.
In a large food processor or blender, place the tomatoes with the cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, green onions, and garlic. Top with the soaked bread. Pour 1/2 cup olive oil and lemon juice.
Run the processor for a few seconds then add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (optional), and a pinch of sugar; blend. Test the gazpacho, and if it’s too thick, add a little water and blend again until you reach the desired texture.
Transfer the gazpacho to a glass bowl or jug and cover. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, or overnight for a more developed flavor. When ready to serve, give the gazpacho a quick stir then transfer to serving bowls or glasses. Top with olive oil and a garnish of fresh mint, cilantro and chopped green onions, if you like.
- 5 slices stale artisan bread, crust removed
- 5 large ripe tomatoes
- 3/4 large cucumber, peeled, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 green pepper, deseeded, roughly chopped
- 2 green onions, trimmed, roughly chopped, more for garnish
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped
- olive oil
- 1 lemon or large lime, juice of
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
- Mint leaves, stems removed, ripped or chopped
leaves,stems removed, ripped or chopped
- Place the bread slices in a bowl with 1/2 cup of water. Let it soak while you work on the tomatoes.
- Remove the tomato tops. Place the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 40 seconds or so. Remove the tomatoes from the water and let them cool for about a minute or so. When they are cool enough to handle, gently peel the skins off.
- In a large food processor or blender, place the tomatoes with the cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, green onions and garlic. Top with the soaked bread. Pour 1/2 cup olive oil and the lemon juice. Run the processor for a few seconds then add the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (optional) and a pinch of sugar; blend.
- Test the gazpacho, and if it’s too thick, add a little water and blend again until you reach the desired texture.
- Transfer the gazpacho to a glass bowl or jug and cover. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, or overnight for a mover developed flavor.
- When ready to serve, give the gazpacho a quick stir then transfer to serving bowls or small glasses. Top with olive oil and a garnish of fresh mint, cilantro and chopped green onions, if you like.
This recipe is my own, although inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes. Get your discounted copy of Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes through this Amazon link.
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