Nothing says summer more than fresh tomatoes. Celebrate the season by making Gazpacho! The success of this great cold soup hinges on the flavor of the tomatoes so making it at the height of tomato season is key. This gazpacho is a very low calorie, yet filling, first course for a classic summer meal.
Gather tomatoes from your garden (if you are lucky enough to have a garden) or from your farmer’s market and make this soup early on the day you are serving. The flavors need the extra time to develop and meld for the soup to be the most flavorful. There is quite a bit of chopping involved: use a food processor to speed the process, or dice the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers as a way to practice your knife skills. For some, chopping can even be relaxing and meditative. The smaller you make your dice, the more elegant the presentation but aim for a similar size of dice across all your vegetables.
1 ½ – 2 pounds tomatoes (heirloom or beefsteak are best – cored and cut into small ½” to ¼” dice)
2 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange or a combination) – about 1 pound – cored, seeded and cut into small ½” to ¼” dice
2 cucumbers – about one pound – well scrubbed or peeled – seeded and cut into small ½” to ¼” dice
1 – 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped or grated on a microplane
2 small shallots, very finely chopped
5 cups organic tomato juice plus 1 cup cold water (Whole Foods brand 365 is a good choice; if sodium is a concern, look for low sodium tomato juice)
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Best quality olive oil (optional)
Hot sauce (optional)
- Add chopped vegetables, garlic, shallots, vinegar and salt and pepper to a bowl with the tomato juice and water. Stir well.
- Chill gazpacho in a covered bowl for a good five hours.
- Before serving, taste and add more salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil (if you do not mind the extra calories) and offer hot sauce to your guests who like things spicy.
- Add-In Gazpacho. Embellish this soup with extra toppings that your guests can customize to their liking. Consider providing separate bowls of croutons, chopped hard boiled eggs, chopped olive and finely diced avocado along with the hot sauce as add-ins.
- Gazpacho with Yogurt. Try adding a dollop of plain Greek yogurt atop your soup. It not only adds a tangy flavor but is also a great source of protein!
- For Adults Only Gazpacho. Add a shot of vodka to create a Bloody Mary soup!
- If shallots are hard to find or you do not have any on hand, you can substitute about ¼ of an onion. If you blanch the chopped onion for about 15 seconds in boiling water, you will remove much of its bite. Since the flavor of the garlic and onion will intensify over time, this blanching step will be especially important if you intend to store the soup for several days.
- White wine vinegar can be substituted for the sherry vinegar but try to use sherry vinegar—it honors the Spanish roots of this soup and provides exceptional flavor.
- A serrated knife is great to use when cutting tomatoes—this type of knife slices right through the delicate skin of tomatoes without mangling them.
Tomatoes are very low in calories and a very good source of thiamin, niacin, Vitamin E and Vitamin B6.
For more information on tomatoes check out the Yoffie Life Food Encyclopedia pages on tomatoes.
This gazpacho keeps for about a week refrigerated. Sip on a cup of gazpacho when you get home from work, while you are preparing dinner, and you will boost your vegetable intake for the day, chill down from the heat, and take the edge off your hunger, all with very few calories.