This refreshing raw summer soup is a salad in a bowl. The classic Spanish recipe has more olive oil and includes bread crumbs; this version uses less oil and substitutes croutons for the crumbs, reducing the calories and improving (I think) the flavor and texture. Dill and cilantro aren’t traditional Spanish flavors, but both work in this recipe. The feta isn’t traditional either, but it’s still very tasty.
My son, Ben, says he isn’t a soup lover but he loves gazpacho because it’s cold, spicy, and vegetable-packed. In fact, every time he sees a Bloody Mary, he asks if it’s gazpacho.
This soup cannot be frozen.
Yield: 10 to 12 cups.
2 English cucumbers, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 large perfectly ripe vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 small red, Vidalia, or Spanish onion, halved and coarsely chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
2 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
3 cups tomato or V8 juice
1 cup ice water
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
⅓ cup chopped fresh dill, cilantro, or basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese, for garnish (optional)
2 cups croutons, for garnish
1. Place the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers in a bowl and toss to combine. Remove half the mixture and place it in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 2 or 3 times, until chopped and combined. Return to the bowl.
2. Add the oil, vinegar, tomato juice, ice water, cayenne, and salt, and stir to combine.
3. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. Serve, garnished with the dill, feta, and croutons, if desired.
From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)