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Heat-Wave Gazpacho

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!

gazpacho, a cold vegetarian soup with tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, and whole-wheat bread

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.

Recipe Ingredients

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 ...

Recipe Method

  1. 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.
  2. Pour gazpacho into a large bowl, stir, and taste. Adjust seasonings. While I often eat the first bowl right away, it's best chilled.
  3. 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.

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Reader Comments (3)

I made the gazpacho today with a bag of 2nd tomatoes from the farmer's market. I used 1/2 of a purple bell pepper, cider vinegar, and 1/2 a jalapeno. I used 2/3 cup frozen homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs for the bread.

It is absolutely wonderful. I'm going to top it with some homemade yogurt instead of sour cream.

I can't imagine anything better to do with a bounty of real summer tomatoes.

Jul 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterMelanie

I made a double batch this week, but I left out the cukes (because I forgot to buy them). It was NOT the same, so I bought some, pureed them, and stirred them in. Much improved.

Any thoughts on the best tomatoes for this? The slicing tomatoes tasted better than the plum, but that may have been my specific tomatoes.

Aug 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMelanie

You're right about the cukes. Like celery, they don't seem important but they add a lot of flavor.

My favorite tomatoes are super-ripe, richly flavored tomatoes such as Cherokee Purples. German Johnsons are popular at my local markets, but don't have enough flavor for me.

Gazpacho is a great use for "scratch and dent" heirloom tomatoes.

Aug 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson
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