Recently, my neighbor gave me a bunch of vine-ripened cucumbers and tomatoes. Wondering how to use them all, I remembered a recipe from years gone by: Gazpacho Soup! Our good friends, Michael and Wendy Filler are both excellent cooks and used to invite us over for the most delicious meals. Michael especially enjoyed making unique recipes from his family’s world travels. While raising seven kids, I realized there is NO WAY they would have eaten this soup so I tucked it away and forgot about it…until now!
Traveling down memory lane, I called Wendy to inquire about the origin of this tasty soup. When Michael was young, his family lived in Morocco and would often travel to Spain for vacation. His mother acquired the recipe somewhere along the way. Whether from Morocco or Spain, Gazpacho Soup tastes great, especially during the warm summer months!
Gazpacho is a cold soup using fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, garlic and French bread. Marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar and cumin and then pureed to perfection, this soup is really flavorful! Michael’s mom used to strain it but the rest of us like it as blended.
What’s at the root of this food? Great memories, fresh garden fare and a delicious, dinner, lunch or snack. It may not look too pretty, but looks can be deceiving!
- 2 cucumbers (peeled, cut in cubes)
- 1 large green pepper (peeled, cut in cubes)
- 1 small red onion (peeled, cut in cutes)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 ½ to 2 lbs fresh tomatoes (peeled, cut into cubes) or 2-15 oz cans of whole tomatoes
- 3 slices (1” thick) leftover French bread in cubes
- 1-2 T wine vinegar
- 3-4 T olive oil
- Generous ¼ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning or fresh basil or oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place chopped cucumbers, green pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes and bread cubes into a glass bowl. Add wine vinegar, olive oil, cumin, Italian seasoning and/or fresh basil or oregano. Mix this to combine, place in refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour. Then puree in a blender until smooth. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with olive oil, cucumber, tomato or herbs.
- When testing, I used 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes but didn’t peel them which wasn’t a problem as I like chunky soup. For a smoother soup, feel free to peel the tomatoes using this simple method: bring a pot of water to a boil, gently place 3-4 tomatoes in at a time and boil for 30 seconds or until the skin begins to crack. Move tomatoes to an ice bath for a few seconds. Remove from ice bath and the peel will come off easily.
- In the winter, canned tomatoes would work great.
- For the marinade, I used 2 T of wine vinegar and 4 T of olive oil. I figured, why hold back? And it was delicious as neither overpowered any of the other flavors.
- Add fresh herbs according to your taste and preference. I tested the recipe using herbes de provence which was really good. Another time I threw in a handful of fresh cilantro. Whether you use dried or fresh herbs or both, you really can’t go wrong since mother nature does most of the work here!
- To get this chunky mixture started in the blender, I added about 1/4 cup of water. Once the first batch is blended, pour into a storage bowl, leaving some soup in the blender. This becomes the liquid you will need to puree for the next batch. I filled the blender about 2/3 full three times. Option: strain soup through a sieve.
Healthline.com has this to say about the nutritional benefits of tomatoes, cucumbers and green bell peppers:
- Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.
- Cucumbers contain fiber and are high in nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and Manganese. They are low in calories, contain antioxidants, promote hydration, may aid in weight loss and may lower blood sugar.
- Bell peppers contain many healthy antioxidants and are very high in vitamin C, with a single one providing up to 169% of the RDI. Other vitamins and minerals in bell peppers include vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.