Juicy, ripe tomatoes, cooling cukes, sweet peppers, a kiss of sassy garlic — all the makings of a refreshing salad that’s rainbow-bright for Pride Month. But the Spanish had an even more refreshing idea — whizz all the vegetables together in a blender, and you have a cool no-cook soup made for summer. Hello, gazpacho.
Naturally raw and naturally vegan, gazpacho dates back at least 200 years. I fell in love with it at first bite. It came in a martini glass, which seemed terribly grown up and sophisticated to me at twelve, besides which gazpacho was — and is — a brilliant way to enjoy vegetables. Alas, it wasn’t an enduring love for me. I discovered I’m allergic to cucumbers. Ridiculous, I know. Cucumbers and other cucurbits are about the most benign of fruits. Yes, botanically speaking, cucumber is a fruit, it’s part of the melon family. I’m allergic to every member.
Cucumber has long been a traditional gazpacho ingredient. It’s super-hydrating and helps create the brothy base of the soup. If you love your cukes, by all means, add them. But you don’t have to. Gazpacho is classic and the pride of Andalusia, but it has no limits, no rules. Turns out there are a million varieties, depending on what’s fresh, local and seasonal, and what you like. Variations include everything from avocado to cherries.
Gazpacho’s a favorite of Chef José Andrés, hero-in-chief of World Central Kitchen. Being Spanish, Andres’ own recipe is extra zesty, extra plush, with olive oil and stale bread for body and texture, and splash of sherry vinegar for a sparkle of acidity. Andrés’ wife, Tichi, also from Spain, has an even more robust recipe, calling for more olive oil, plus a generous pour of sherry.
My version, like the Andalusian original, is tomato-intense with peppers, garlic, and olive oil. A stalk of celery creates some of the juiciness of the cucumber. But I don’t cut out the cuke entirely. Thin slices of scallions and diced cucumbers can be added as garnish (or in my case, left out entirely).
What’s in your gazpacho?
How to Make:
- In a food processor or blender, process red pepper, garlic and tomatoes in a blender or food processor until chunky.
- Pour in the sherry vinegar then the olive oil in a slow stream.
- Drop in bread, and blend again until mixture becomes a rosy and thickish puree, but still has vegetable bits.
- Season generously with sea salt and pepper.
- Pour into a covered container, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.
Gazpacho has no limits, no rules. But there are a few guidelines for a proper gazpacho:
- Don’t over blitz or fuss. Gazpacho should be velvety but maintain a few vegetable bits for interest and fun. Some recipes call for straining the gazpacho. This isn’t gazpacho, it’s juice.
- Chill. Give gazpacho at least 4 hours in the fridge, or even better, overnight, to give the flavors a chance to blend. Make ahead, keep it covered and chilled, and it’ll be there in your fridge waiting for you.
- Garnish with teensy diced vegetables and/or finely chopped herbs
- For a fun presentation, serve in a martini or shot glasses.
- Jose Andres’ gazpacho
- Tichi Andres’ gazpacho
- Vegan chef Mark Reinfeld makes his gazpacho with watermelon
- Raw vegan Mimi Kirk replaces olive oil with avocado
- White gazpacho Also called white garlic soup, it’s legit, made with almonds, and I admit, it sounds weird. nd it sounds weird. also called white garlic soup, and it sounds weird. But I promise the garlic is mild, the soup is creamy, and a shot on a hot summer day is just the ticket.
- if the combination of peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and stale bread is familiar — or appealing — make my favorite dip — romesco sauce — also Spanish, also vegan, also awesome. Good. On. Everything.
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 red pepper coarsely chopped
- 3 pounds tomatoes 4 or 5 good-sized ones, coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 1 slice stale bread
- 1 scallion sliced thin
- 1/2 cucumber peeled and diced
- 3 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
- In a food processor or blender, process garlic, red pepper, garlic and tomatoes in a blender or food processor until chunky.
- Pour in the sherry vinegar then the olive oil in a slow stream. Drop in bread, and blend again until mixture becomes a rosy and thickish puree, but still has vegetable bits.
- If mixture seems too thick for your taste, add 1/3 cup water.
- 4 Season generously with sea salt and pepper.
- 5 Pour into a covered container, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.