When the summer heat is at full blast and the last thing you want to do is cook, it’s time to make Gazpacho. It’s cold, refreshing, it only takes a few minutes to make, and you never have to turn on the stove. Plus, the leftovers are *chef’s kiss* delicious, so you can eat for the next few days with no extra work! So hit up those summer farmers’ markets, grab some fresh produce, and let’s make some gazpacho!
Originally posted 5-3-2010, updated 7-3-2021.
What is Gazpacho?
Gazpacho is a cold, tomato-based soup made with puréed vegetables and other ingredients like bread, herbs, or even fruit. It kind of reminds me of salsa, but with a different flavor profile (so if you’ve ever been tempted to eat salsa straight, gazpacho might be for you). This recipe originated in the Iberian peninsula, namely Portugal and Spain, and has since spread around the world. And like many recipes that have been around for hundreds of years, there are many interpretations of this classic summer soup.
My interpretation of gazpacho is definitely a little non-traditional. For one, I used canned crushed tomatoes and vegetable juice (like V8) in place of fresh tomatoes. Yes, this will make some people clutch their pearls, but I like the full-bodied flavor that the crushed tomatoes bring to the party. Second, I don’t use bread in my gazpacho, which is a common ingredient in traditional gazpacho recipes. Blending a soft bread into the soup gives it an almost creamy flavor and is another way of adding body, so the soup isn’t too watery.
How Do You Serve Gazpacho?
CHILLED. While this soup is pretty tasty even at room temperature, it’s ultra-refreshing when chilled and can really take the edge off that intense summer heat. I like to serve it with some crusty bread on the side for dipping, because every meal is better with a little crusty bread on the side, IMHO. It would also be great with some garlic bread, a grilled cheese sandwich, or even some cold pasta salad on the side. And if you want to add a little protein, a few cooled cooked shrimp would be marvelous in this soup!
What Else Can I Add?
Gazpacho is wonderful because it’s very flexible, and that’s another reason there are so many interpretations of this delicious soup. Here are some other ingredients you can toss in, if you have them on hand:
- Fresh herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, chives)
- Soft bread (as mentioned above, this makes the soup almost creamy and gives it body)
- Red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar in place of the lemon juice
- Red bell pepper
- Avocado (try blending it into the soup for a creamy texture, instead of using it as a topping)
In addition to adding ingredients into your gazpacho, you can have a lot of fun with the toppings. Here are some ideas for topping your gazpacho:
- Steamed shrimp (cooled)
- A drizzle of pesto
- A drizzle of olive oil
- A drizzle of chile oil
- A drizzle of balsamic glaze
- A spoonful of corn salsa
- Fresh chopped herbs
- Flakey sea salt
- A pinch of crumbled feta
- 1 15oz. can crushed tomatoes ($0.69)
- 1 cup vegetable juice (like V8) ($0.35)
- 1/2 sweet onion (about 1 cup chopped) ($0.40)
- 1/2 cucumber (about 2 cups chopped) ($0.50)
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley ($0.35)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro ($0.20)
- 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
- 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
- 2 tsp lemon juice ($0.04)
- 1 avocado ($0.99)
- Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable juice to a food processor or blender.
- Peel the cucumber, if desired. Cut the onion and cucumber into chunks. Wash the parsley and cilantro well. Mince the garlic. Add the cucumber, onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to the food processor or blender.
- Purée the ingredients, or leave them slightly chunky, if preferred. Taste the gazpacho and adjust the salt, pepper, or lemon to your liking. Chill the soup for 30 minutes before serving. Give it one last taste after chilling, in case the flavors need to be adjusted.
- Dice the avocado just befor serving and add a few chunks on top of each bowl. Add extra pepper and olive oil to each bowl, if desired.
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How to Make Easy Summer Gazpacho – Step by Step Photos
Add one 15oz. can crushed tomatoes and 1 cup vegetable juice (like V8 juice) to a food processor or blender.
Cut ½ sweet onion (about 1 cup) and 1/2 cucumber (about 2 cups) into chunks. You can peel the cucumber or leave it unpeeled. Peeling the cucumber will allow your gazpacho to have a more vibrant red color. Wash the parsley and cilantro well. Mince the garlic. Add the onion, cucumber, ½ cup fresh parsley, ½ cup fresh cilantro, one garlic clove (minced), 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and 2 tsp lemon juice to the food processor or blender.
Purée the ingredients, or leave them slightly chunky, if you prefer. Taste the gazpacho and adjust the salt, pepper, or lemon to your liking. Chill the soup for about 30 minutes before serving. It’s not a bad idea to give it one final taste after refrigeration, as the flavors will begin to melt and shift as the soup refrigerates.
Dice the avocado and add chunks to each bowl. I also like to drizzle just a bit more olive oil and sprinkle a little extra pepper over each bowl, but that’s optional. The avocado really takes it to the next level, though, so I wouldn’t skip that!
Enjoy that cool, refreshing tomato-cucumber flavor!