On these sweltering days, a lot of variables come into play when we think of cooking. It must be healthy (because summer), but we also don’t want to spend time over a stove or checking on something in a hot oven.
Enter gazpacho. This Spanish cold soup is essentially raw veggies and spices blended into a flavorful bowl of summer goodness. Tomatoes are the main component, but there are variations with avocado or even cucumber and melon.
Its saving grace? No heat required, though it does need to chill a few hours to let the flavors come together. You can also adjust the blending time for a chunky or smooth texture to your liking.
The best part is the health benefits. It’s low in calories, high in vitamins and uses vegetables and herbs at the peak of their freshness. Eat gazpacho as a starter for a summertime outdoor grilling dinner or add a dollop of Greek yogurt or some torn crusty bread to make a more filling dish.
Below is a recipe for a traditional tomato gazpacho from the American Heart Association.
6 small ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeded)
2 cups low-sodium tomato juice or 2 cans no-salt-added tomatoes (undrained)
1 medium cucumber (peeled, seeded)
1 small red onion (finely chopped)
1 bell pepper (red or green), finely chopped
3 stalks of celery (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped) or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 clove chopped garlic, or 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
2 green onions (finely chopped)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon no-salt-added or lower-sodium Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until well mixed but slightly chunky.
- Chill up to 2 hours or overnight before serving. (NOTE: If you don’t have a blender or food processor, dice the vegetables as finely as possible and use a masher to mix and mash, for approximately 2 minutes to combine flavors.)
- Serve as a chilled soup or as a dip for low sodium, whole wheat crackers or tortilla chips made with liquid oil and no hydrogenated fat or tropical oils, such as palm or coconut oil.