What’s the next best thing to standing in a huge vegetable garden, picking ripe red tomatoes and green bell peppers and eating them right on the spot? Gazpacho (gahz-PAH-choh), the ubiquitous summer soup, that’s what. I realize it takes nearly an hour to prepare this no-cook cold soup; there’s a lot of slicing, chopping and dicing going on. But after just one bite – and knowing you’ll have a batch big enough to last several days – you’ll agree it was worth every second. All 3600 of them to be exact. Investing that hour means you didn’t have to heat the entire kitchen by turning on a 400 degree oven and you’re rewarded with powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
A one-cup serving of this Gazpacho is:
*Only 110 calories
*Over 4 grams fiber
*An excellent source of antioxidants A (35%) and C (133%)
*Numerous disease-fighting and immune-boosting phytonutrients from every vegetable, including the garlic and even the herbs!
*An excellent source of cancer-fighting lycopene from the pasta sauce or tomato/veggie juice
Refrigerate all leftovers in a tightly covered container. Enjoy a big bowl with a slice of whole grain bread or some whole wheat crackers and some fresh summer berries for dessert and you’ve got the perfect no-cook, light and easy summer meal!
Gazpacho (Summer Garden Soup)
3 large red tomatoes, chopped (about 3 cups)
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 each large red and green bell pepper, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 jar (24 to 26 oz.) pasta sauce or 3 cups tomato or vegetable juice*
½ to 1 cup water (optional, depending on thickness desired)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Dash hot red pepper sauce
Combine all ingredients in large bowl or container. Add at least one-half the mixture to a food processor bowl and blend until nearly smooth. Combine pureed soup with original mixture. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
*Use your favorite tomato-basil pasta sauce for a thicker gazpacho. Tomato or vegetable juice will work, too, but will make a slightly thinner soup. Use whatever you prefer!
Makes roughly 8 to 10 cups. (Depends on the size of your vegetables and how much you puree and whether you use additional water.)