When the sun pounds down on your roof and just walking outside makes you dizzy with heat, whirl up a batch of Heat-Wave Gazpacho. This cold soup is a meal in a bowl, with a refreshing vinegar zing. Serve it as a first course for dinner, pack it in a thermos for lunch, dip into it as an afternoon snack—even have it for breakfast!
Low fat, nutritious, and filling: Heat-Wave Gazpacho will also help you get your bikini body ready to cool off with a splash. It's thrifty, too, because it uses the seeds, juice, and peels from the tomatoes and cucumbers.
Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 2 hours. Makes about 10 servings, 1 cup each. Vegan, vegetarian. See notes for gluten-free variations.
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, about 4 large, cored but not seeded
2 cucumbers, peeled only if bitter, cut into 3-inch chunks (see recipe tips and notes below)
2 bell peppers, cored, quartered, and seeded
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 to 4 slices Good Whisk Bread, Recipe Bread, or any whole-grain bread, torn into chunks
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
ground black pepper to taste, optional
1 jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded (add half at a time, then taste), optional
for garnish (optional): peeled, chopped peaches; basil ribbons; chickpeas; chopped vegetables; olives ...
- Set up a food processor with the stainless steel blade or blender. Prepare vegetables and process in the machine on high until smooth, adding all ingredients except for the garnish in the order listed. If the machine won't handle 10 cups easily, work in batches, dividing water, tomatoes, and bread so each batch has enough liquid to be processed easily.
- Pour gazpacho into a large bowl, stir, and taste. Adjust seasonings. While I often eat the first bowl right away, it's best chilled.
- Serve in bowls, topped with your choice of garnishes. I like peaches plus basil for breakfast and chickpeas and olives for dinner.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- To test cucumbers for bitterness, cut a slice off each end and taste. Cukes are often bitter on only the stem end. Peel as much as needed to remove any bitter skin and top-level flesh without losing more nutrients than necessary. Fortunately, cucumbers tend to be more bitter in cool growing conditions, not when you're making Heat Wave Gazpacho. Here's a section from the great explanation of bitterness in cucumbers from the Cooperative Extension at Washington State University:
Bitterness does not accumulate uniformly in the cucumber. The extent of bitter compounds will vary from fruit to fruit as well as within individual fruits. The compounds are likely to be more concentrated at the stem end than at the blossom end of the fruit. Bitterness, if present, is always found in and just under the skin of the cucumber and not deep in the fleshy portion or in the seed locules.
- Use red bell peppers if you can for a prettier, more nutritious gazpacho. I used the less expensive green ones in the batch pictured above, which made the cold soup more brown than red. It still tastes red!
- If you'd rather have chunkier gazpacho, reserve about half the vegetables, chop, and stir into the processed soup. You must have more energy during a heat wave than I do.
- To make gluten-free gazpacho, replace the whole-grain bread with a gluten-free bread or a cup of cooked beans. Kidney beans will reinforce the red color of the tomatoes, but black beans and chickpeas are also good.