Today, I want to share with you the best, healthiest, tastiest soup that has ever been created: Gazpacho (pronounced gaas-pacho, as in aardvark, by most people, or gaath-pacho, if you want to be really, really authentic) is a chilled, Spanish, tomato-based, vegetable soup. It is one of the most popular soups in Spain, and I would love to see it become just as popular in the US. Everyone would be healthier if they had some on a regular basis!
Just in case chilled tomato soup doesn’t sound particularly appealing to you, just think of how delicious a good Bloody Mary or Virgin Mary can be. (And think of other delicious chilled soups such as vichyssoise, avocado, cucumber, cantaloupe, and strawberry soup).
Gazpacho is a delicious first course or main course variation on the Bloody/Virgin Mary. It has tomato, cucumber, onion, and green pepper, along with other tasty ingredients. It’s very easy to make, and you can adjust the amounts of each ingredient to suit your taste. I highly recommend using organic ingredients, and include them in the recipe below.
Total time required: 40 min prep, 1 hour to chill
Shopping list (makes 8 servings – lasts up to one week)
46-64 oz. organic tomato juice (2 32-oz. bottles)
1-2 organic tomatoes
2 organic cucumbers, at least one large
2 organic medium green peppers
1 organic sweet onion (like Vidalia) or Spanish onion
Organic garlic clove
2-3 slices organic French or sourdough bread
Organic wine vinegar
Organic olive oil
Organic tarragon (1/2 teaspoon)
Organic sugar (1/2 teaspoon)
The soup base
Note: whenever there is a range of ingredient amounts to add, use the amount of that ingredient based on how much you like it. For example, I like mine with less onion, and prefer sweet onion, so as not to overpower the other ingredients.
1 large bottle organic tomato juice
1 large organic cucumber
1 medium-large green pepper
1/2-1 sweet or Spanish onion (I prefer to go light on the onion – 1/2 onion is usually enough)
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2-1 teaspoon sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon tarragon
2-3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 piece French bread, soaked in water and squeezed to get most water out (optional)
Garnish (1-2 spoonfuls of the ones you like – I use them all!)
Diced green pepper
Croutons (best if homemade with any organic crusty bread – see below)
Step 1: Prepare the base
Coarsely chop the cucumber, onion, green pepper, and garlic. (You may add tomatoes if you have a few extra, but the organic tomato juice has a wonderfully rich flavor that is usually sufficient.)
Soak one piece of bread in water and squeeze as much of the water out as possible. Blend the vegetables in batches in a juicer, blender, or food processor, mixing with tomato juice, vinegar, and olive oil to make the blending easier. Add the bread, sugar, and tarragon in any one of the batches. Pour each batch into a large bowl, mixing gently. If you have any tomato juice left after all the batches, add it to the large bowl, to taste. Chill for at least one hour; the soup gets better after chilling overnight.
Note: If you have a really strong blender or juicer, like Nutrabullet, pulse each batch twice to make the soup base very smooth. If you use a food processor or standard blender, press the slightly thick mixture through a large, fine sieve, keeping the thinner juice that comes out and discarding the remainder left in the sieve. Regardless of the equipment you have the recipe is easy to do.
Step 2. Prepare the garnishes
Dice enough tomatoes, cucumber, onion and green pepper for one-two day’s servings (about 1-2 spoonfuls of each vegetable per serving.)
For homemade croutons, dice two 1″-thick pieces of organic crusty bread into small cubes and toss in organic olive oil (with minced garlic, if desired.) Toast in 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Note: many thanks to Rachel Cooks for some good tips on baked croutons. Be sure to visit https://www.rachelcooks.com/2016/03/28/homemade-croutons-baked-wholegrain/ for more details.