This authentic gazpacho soup is refreshing, flavor-packed, with a rich, smooth texture. It’s incredibly easy to make, with just a few simple ingredients. There are a million and one versions of gazpacho out there, so here is my most basic recipe to get you started. It’s vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free, soy-free, and nut-free.
I have been a fan of gazpacho soup for years. After I had a chance to spend a few months in Spain, it truly became one of my favorite soups. In the Andalusia region of southern Spain, where gazpacho originated, you can find this soup just about anywhere you go – from restaurants, to bars, to street-side cafés, and to small supermarkets (where they sell grab-and-go bottled gazpacho).
Gazpacho is perfect during the summer months when it’s too hot to eat, but you need cold, salt, and lunch all at the same time. It’s more of a drink than a soup, actually. It’s served cold (but not iced) in frosted glasses or tumblers.
The most popular gazpacho – and the one that probably comes to mind – is tomato-based. However, the ingredients, texture, and thickness of gazpacho vary slightly from region to region. Of course, there are also a million and one non-traditional ingredients and twists that modern cooks love to try and rightly so. The term “gazpacho” is a reference only to a cold soup. It can be made with whatever is ripe and ready. Some of these ingredients include avocado, parsley, cilantro, watermelon, cantaloupe, or grapes.
There are red gazpachos and white ones, green ones and yellow ones. There are gazpachos thin enough to drink like juice (from a chilled glass) and others so thick you need to use a spoon. If you take the basic idea of gazpacho — a chilled soup made of fresh, seasonal vegetables balanced with acid and salt — then you can conceive of any variation of flavors.
Tips for Making Gazpacho
Seasonal ingredients are the key to any good vegetable dish, including gazpacho. Any gazpacho is only as good as the produce. When making gazpacho of any kind, it is imperative you use only fresh, ripe ingredients. Anything less makes an inferior product. I have made gazpacho in the winter a few times and it doesn’t even come close to the summer version with end-of-summer produce from the farmers market. Granted, if you live in a region where you’re blessed with ripe and juicy tomatoes eight months out of the year, have at it. But, for the rest of us with a short growing season, traditional gazpacho should be reserved as a seasonal treat.
To make homemade gazpacho, you will need these ingredients:
- Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are a standard for most gazpacho recipes. But really, any ripe, end-of-summer, super-sweet, juicy tomatoes will do. An easy rule of thumb is three parts sweet and juicy tomatoes and one part other vegetables, typically bell peppers and cucumbers. Because all these vegetables are so high in water, there is no need to add any extra water before blending.
- Bell pepper: authentic Spanish gazpacho is usually made with green bell pepper. However, I prefer red bell pepper because it is sweeter and enhances the orange color of gazpacho. An orange or yellow bell pepper would work too.
- Cucumber: English or Persian cucumbers are ideal for this recipe because they contain less water and less seeds than field cucumbers.
- Sweet onion and garlic: raw aromatics are quite pungent, so make sure you don’t use more than the recipe calls for to let the other flavors shine through. That being said, when you chill the soup, the pungent flavor does mellow considerably.
- Olive oil: many traditional gazpacho recipes are loaded with olive oil. But nowadays in Spain, they often cut down the amount of oil to make the soup a bit healthier. Extra virgin olive oil is always the way to go.
- Sherry vinegar: Spain is known for its sherry. Sherry vinegar adds a crisp, distinctive taste and makes this soup come alive. If you can’t find sherry vinegar, you can substitute it for red wine vinegar.
- Salt & black pepper: as with any soup that is served cold, make sure you add plenty of salt and black pepper. The colder the soup, the less flavorful it will seem.
How to Make Gazpacho
- Blend. Traditionally, all ingredients for gazpacho would be pressed through a cone-shaped, metal sieve with a pestle. So, gazpacho is supposed to have a slight texture. However, I prefer a smooth, almost fluffy texture, so I use a blender. If a creamy, velvety soup is what you are after, use a blender. If you like a slight texture, blend half of ingredients until completely smooth. Then, add the other half and blitz until they break into tiny pieces.
- Chill. Transfer the soup to a sealed container and refrigerate overnight (or at least for 3-4 hours). This gives the flavors time to fully develop, and the soup time to chill completely.
- Re-season. Always taste and season gazpacho after it’s chilled. You will be surprised how much the flavors become muted after a rest in the fridge.
How to Serve Gazpacho
You can serve gazpacho either in chilled serving bowls or in chilled glasses with a straw. The most important thing is that both the soup and the serving bowls/glasses are cold.
Since gazpacho is a pureed soup, toppings are a nice addition. I usually reserve some of the ingredients – tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers – and chop them up for garnishing. Another option is to serve gazpacho with some crostini on the side, which turns the soup into a heartier meal. A few fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper are always nice too. Just be sure to add the toppings right before serving.
More Cold Soup Recipes
Gazpacho isn’t the only soup that benefits from being chilled. While it’s probably the favorite summer (cold) soup in my family, this cucumber soup with tangy yogurt is a close second. Just like gazpacho, it’s packed with fresh garden flavors, requires no cooking, and takes only a few minutes to prepare. Both gazpacho and cucumber soup make a wonderful first course or a pretty appetizer.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Blender (Vitamix 750) | 2. Knives Set (Set of 5, Utopia Kitchen, Stainless Steel) | 3. Cutting Board (24″x 18″, Michigan Maple Block, Maple) | 4. Measuring Cup (2 Cups, Anchor Hocking, Glass) | 5. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 6. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
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- 10 Roma tomatoes , halved
- 1 red bell pepper , cored, seeded, and quartered
- 1/2 English cucumber , peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/8 sweet onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar *
- fresh basil (optional)**
- sea salt , to taste
- Blend. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, fresh basil, and salt into a high-speed blender, and blend until completely smooth. (If you don't have a high-speed blender, you may need to work in batches and strain the soup). If the soup seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until creamy.
- Season. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness, sherry vinegar for acidity, and garlic for pungency.
- Chill. Cover the soup and refrigerate until chilled, 2-4 hours.
- Serve. Taste the soup once again right before serving (chilling the soup will mute the flavor), and season as necessary. Divide the soup into chilled serving bowls. Garnish with a few basil leaves, drizzle of olive oil, and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.
- Store. Leftover gazpacho soup keeps well covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
**I used ~ 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves.
***Prep time doesn't include chilling the soup, 2-4 hours.
****Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.
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