Let me start by explainging what gazpacho is for those who haven’t had it before. While there are many versions/styles of gazpacho around the world, it originates from Spain. It is a raw, tomato-based soup served cold. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, I can understand why. Cold soup isn’t something most people find appealing. In the summer, though, the fresh blend of raw tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc., can be really refreshing. I especially prefer the creamy version over the chunky version. If you’re hesitant to give it a go, just start with a small batch. The wonderful thing about it is that you can make it very quickly. It’s also a perfect make-ahead dish that tastes even better the next day. Anyways, on to the recipe!
Vegan Gazpacho Recipe
Yields: 6 servings
- 1 cup stale or day-old bread (gluten-free if needed), torn into large pieces
- 2½ cups tomato juice, divided
- 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 red peppers
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 2-3 sprigs fresh cilantro
- 2-3 sprigs parsley
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- ½ jalapeño pepper
Step 1: Place bread in a bowl and pour 1½ cups of the tomato juice over it. Then add cider vinegar and ¼ cup of the olive oil. Set aside.
Step 2: Fill a medium pot with enough water to cover all four tomatoes (do not put tomatoes in the pot yet) and place over high heat, covered. Using a sharp knife, score the bottom of each tomato with an “X” (this will make the skin easier to remove). When water is boiling, place tomatoes in the pot for 1 to 1½ minutes. Immediately drain, then cover tomatoes with cold water to stop cooking process.
Step 3: When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins. Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze or scrape to remove seeds/insides (discard inside portion). Cut up tomatoes and add to blender.
Step 4: Peel cucumbers. Cut in half and, using a spoon, scrape out seeds and discard. Cut up cucumber and add to blender. Cut red pepper, remove seeds and white insides. Cut up and add to blender.
Step 5: Add ½ cup tomato juice, salt, ¼ cup olive oil, onion, cilantro, parsley and garlic cloves to blender. Blend all ingredients. NOTE: If you have a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, do not blend on high and be careful to not over-blend (or else you’ll have foamy soup with air bubbles – if this happens, see blog post on 86 Lemons for solution).
Step 6: Add bread a few pieces at a time, along with the soaking liquids, and blend to thicken mixture. Add jalapeño and blend. If it gets too thick, thin with more tomato juice. Enjoy as is or refrigerate over night (mixture will thicken, flavors will intensify).
Note: There was only one snag with this vegan gazpacho recipe. It was foamy and full of air bubbles. Apparently, I over blended. What I learned is that if you have a high-speed blender (like my Vitamix), you should stay in the lower speeds and should not blend for too long. I decided to try straining it through a fine-mesh strainer and was pleasantly surprised when it worked! The strainer backed up quickly, so I had to do this in batches. When the strainer was full, I slowly stirred the gazpacho until it was entirely strained, then scraped out the bits left in the strainer and stirred them into the strained soup. No more air bubbles! (Note–I took the photos before the straining process, so you can see some of the bubbles if you look closely.)
My husband was a good sport and gave it a try. He actually liked it! It’s not something he would eat everyday… and probably not even anything he would order at a restaurant. But I don’t think he would mind having it at home once or twice a summer. What about you? Have you tried gazpacho? What’s your favorite version?