Whatever the ingredients, gazpacho is a healthy soup rich in minerals, antioxidants, fiber and in vitamins C, A and E. Red tomatoes, for example, are high in carotenoids such as lycopene and beta-carotene, antioxidants that can prevent prostate cancer, high blood pressure and eye problems.
So let’s learn how to make it!
Gazpacho is the quintessential summer soup because all of the fresh ingredients are deliciously in season this time of year, and there’s no need to heat up your stove or oven! Just prep your ingredients on a cutting board. Then your blender or food processor will take it from there. To make this homemade gazpacho recipe, you will need:
- Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes or what we call “branch tomatoes” here in Spain (medium, round, soft-skinned tomatoes on the vine) are standard for traditional gazpacho. But really, any ripe, juicy, fresh tomatoes will do. There is no need to peel your tomatoes for gazpacho, but I do recommend coring them (scoop out the white flesh and seeds).
- Cucumber: 6-inch Persian or Kirby cucumbers are most often used in Spain, peeled and seeded. But I usually just toss in half of an English cucumber instead. Whichever works for you!
- Green bell pepper: Some of my Spanish friends are firm believers that green bell peppers, specifically, are a must for authentic Spanish gazpacho. But I’d say that any color of bell pepper you have on hand will do. 🙂
- Bread: Leftover white bread is the key to the texture of authentic gazpacho, helping to thicken it slightly and round out the flavors. Our friends here taught us to discard the crusts for optimal texture. Then to help the bread blend well, you can either:
- blend up the gazpacho, then poke the slice of bread into the center of the soup and let it sit there for 10 minutes to soften before blending it into the soup, or…
- just run it under the faucet and soak completely with water, ring it out completely with your hands, then add the bread to the soup ingredients and puree
- Red onion: Just half of a small red onion, peeled.
- Garlic: I use two small garlic cloves, or one large clove.
- Olive oil: Many traditional gazpacho recipes are loaded with lots of olive oil. But nowadays in Spain, they often cut down the amount of oil to make the soup a bit healthier. This recipe just uses 3 tablespoons.
- Sherry vinegar: Andalucía is known for its sherry. And of course, it’s sherry vinegar (vinagre de Jerez), which is always used to make gazpacho here in Spain. That said, though, if you can’t find sherry vinegar at your grocery store, you can sub in some red wine vinegar.
- Ground cumin: One of our friends in Andalucía taught me the secret of adding cumin to your gazpacho, which is actually a popular ingredient in the south of Spain due to the region’s proximity to Morocco. I love the subtle, earthy note that it adds to this recipe.
- Sea salt and black pepper: Essentials!
To make homemade gazpacho soup, simply:
- Puree the soup: Combine all of your gazpacho ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree for 1 minute or until the gazpacho reaches your desired consistency. (I love mine super-smooth.)
- Chill: Transfer the soup to a sealed container and refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely chilled.
- Serve: Then serve the soup nice and cold, garnished with your favorite toppings.
With such a simple pureed soup, toppings are a must! I like to add any combination of the following to gazpacho:
- Fresh herbs: Basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary and/or chives are some of our faves.
- Fresh-cracked black pepper: Always a must, in my book.
- Olive oil: An extra drizzle on top is traditional in Spain.
- Cream: A drizzle of cream (or sour cream) can be nice, if you would like a creamier soup.
- Spanish ham and chopped hard-boiled eggs:These toppings are traditional with salmorejo, but they are also popular with gazpacho in the south of Spain.
Or, of course, it’s probably most common to just sprinkle a few of the leftover chopped gazpacho veggies on top (such as tomato, green pepper, onion or cucumber). Whatever sounds good to you!