Gazpacho! The chilled, raw tomato and vegetable soup from Andalusia, Spain. Ever had it? Love it? Hate it? I can’t say I’ve always loved it, but if you get it right, gazpacho can be so good. At its best, gazpacho is super refreshing and bursting with fresh-from-the-garden summer flavors. At its worst, gazpacho tastes like chunky cold salsa or thin tomato juice, neither of which do I particularly enjoy.
I wanted a texture somewhere in between the two, and far superior flavor. The trick, I discovered, is to blend half of ingredients into creamy oblivion. Then, add the other half and blitz until they break into tiny pieces. You’ll end up with a delicious, rich base, with tiny pieces of tomatoes, cucumber and pepper adding intrigue.
I used a Vidalia onion to kick the flavor up by a few more notches. Vidalias aren’t grown in Spain; they’re grown exclusively within 20 designated counties in South Georgia. The mild winters and low sulphur soil produce a distinctively mellow, sweet flavor that works well in recipes ranging from onion dip to dessert. Yes, dessert!
Vidalia onions are available only in the spring and summer (from April to August), so they seemed perfectly suited for gazpacho. Gazpacho is a raw soup, and other varieties of raw onion are too pungent to let the other flavors shine through. Combined with red, ripe, juicy summer tomatoes, this is the gazpacho that dreams are made of.
Traditional gazpacho blends in white bread for body, but I found that it diluted the flavor and did not enjoy straining it through a fine sieve afterward. Blending up the produce with olive oil produces a rich, creamy emulsion that has plenty of body, no sieve required. That means that this easy gazpacho recipe is gluten free and full of the good-for-you fiber inherent to the vegetables.
If you’re in a hurry or want a totally smooth gazpacho, by all means, blend everything together at once (see the recipe notes for details on this shortcut). Regardless, remember that gazpacho needs a couple of hours in the refrigerator for the flavors to fully develop and to cool down.
Chopping and reserving some of the ingredients for garnishing the soup later (described in steps 1 and 2) is an extra step, but it’s worth making if you want the beautiful gazpacho you see here. I was all googly-eyed over the food and plating in Madrid a couple of months ago, so I wanted to present Spanish gazpacho in its full glory. As always, please let me know how you like it!
- Prep Time: 25 minutes (plus 2 hours chill time)
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Spanish
This gazpacho recipe is the best! It’s a refreshing chilled summer soup, perfect for your garden tomatoes and cucumber. Be sure to make it in advance so the soup can chill for at least 2 hours. Recipe yields 5 cups, enough for 4 servings.
- 2 ½ pounds ripe red tomatoes (about 4 large or 9 small)
- 1 small Vidalia onion (½ pound), peeled and cut into rough 1″ chunks
- 1 small cucumber (½ pound), peeled and seeded
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and seeded
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To prepare your veggies, place your blender bowl, a medium serving bowl, and a small bowl on the counter. Core the tomatoes and cut them into rough 1″ chunks. Reserve about ¼ cup of the juicy tomato seeds and place them in your small bowl (we’ll use them as a garnish later). Add half of the tomato chunks to the blender, and the other half to your serving bowl. Add all of the onion chunks to the blender.
- Cut off about one-fourth of the cucumber. Finely chop that piece and place it in the small bowl. Slice the rest of the cucumber into rough 1″ chunks, and divide them between the blender and the serving bowl. Cut off about one-fourth of the bell pepper, finely chop that piece, and add it to the small bowl. Slice the rest of the bell pepper into rough 1″ chunks and divide them between the blender and the serving bowl.
- To the blender, add the basil, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and about 10 twists of black pepper. Securely fasten the lid and blend, starting on low and increasing to high speed, until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the contents of the serving bowl (the remaining chunks of tomato, cucumber and bell pepper) into the blender. Fasten the lid and blend for just 10 to 20 seconds, until the ingredients are broken up into small pieces. Stop there, or blend a little longer if you prefer smaller pieces.
- Add a small pinch of salt to the small bowl of garnishes, stir, and store it in the fridge. Chill the soup for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.
- Before serving, taste, and add additional salt (I sometimes add another ¼ teaspoon) and/or black pepper if necessary. To serve, divide the soup into small bowls or cups, and top with the reserved cucumber and bell pepper. Top with a few tiny or torn basil leaves and a light sprinkle of pepper. Leftover servings keep well, covered and refrigerated, for 3 to 4 days.
▸ Nutrition Information
- Serving Size: 1 ¼ cups
- Calories: 362
This post was created in partnership with the Vidalia Onion Committee and I received compensation for my participation. Opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K!