The first time I ever had gazpacho was in a small apartment in Spain. I was an exchange student, living for a semester with Manuela and Paco, a couple in their late fifties who were hosting me and a roommate for the semester.
Each day, we walked to school in the morning and home again five hours later for lunch and siesta. (The Spanish sure have that right!) One afternoon, I dropped my backpack at the doorway and stepped into the kitchen. Manuela was blending tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in the food processor.
“Gazpacho”, she explained, when I asked what she was making. I had never had gazpacho, but I loved every other meal she had cooked so I eagerly took my place at the small round table where the four of us lunched each afternoon.
She served us each a small china bowl with cold, colorful soup. I took a spoonful and then another. The flavor! It was simple and complex and healthy. The ingredients multiplied each other to create a taste I couldn’t imagine came from just the vegetables I had seen Manuela add to the blender.
The next week, at my request, Manuela gathered more vegetables from the market. We stood in her kitchen and she showed me how to make gazpacho.
I took this recipe home as my prized souvenir from my semester abroad. That summer, I made gazpacho for everyone I knew. I don’t think there was a friend or family member who did not taste Manuela’s gazpacho that summer. For every possible occasion, I blended up a batch. That fall, I reached gazpacho over-saturation and stopped making it and forgot the recipe.
I never forgot the taste though. My periodic attempts to recreate it fizzled. I could not produce that magic bang of flavor. I ordered gazpacho a few times at restaurants, but it was always too watery, too tomato-y or too bland.
Last week, my brother-in-law Dave (my social media guru and one of the funniest people I know), said he had perfected a gazpacho recipe for my blog. “It is good,” he assured me.
I read it over and it looked promising, very promising. I recalled Manuela adding the cucumber to the food processor, something I had forgotten over the years.
This Saturday, my sister (in town visiting! Yay!) and I made this for dinner. As I mixed the ingredients together, the scent jumped up from the bowl. Then I tasted it. The flavor! I was transported back to that tiny kitchen in Seville with Manuela, blending vegetables, learning about Spanish and the magical flavor jubilee of a good gazpacho.
Here is the recipe and a few notes from Dave.
- This is a paleo, vegan and gluten-free recipe.
- Always wash, rinse and dry all vegetables well.
- No cooking required!
- Prep is time consuming but so worth the deliciousness factor.
- Leftovers, if there are any, get better and better.
Ingredients, Group 1 (for mixing bowl to stir)
Cucumber, 1/2 skinned and diced
Tomatoes, 4 medium, the freshest you can get, skinned & diced
Bell pepper, 1/2 diced
Garlic, 2 cloves minced
Green onion, 1/4 cup diced
Salt, 1 tablespoon
Pepper, ½-1 tablespoon
Cayenne, 1 teaspoon
Ingredients, Group 2 (for blender to puree)
Grape tomatoes, 1 pint
Olive oil, 1/4 cup
Basil leaves, ¼ cup (about 10 medium sized leaves)
Lemon and/or lime juice, 1/4 cup
- Add ingredients in group 1 to the mixing bowl and stir well.
- Put ingredients in group 2 into to a blender and puree.
- Pour pureed ingredients from blender through a strainer into the mixing bowl. (Editor’s note: I mistakenly omitted this step when I made it and thought it was still delish.)
- Put half of the mixture from the mixing bowl back into the blender and puree again.
- Pour puree back into the mixing bowl.
- Cover bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes. (Editor’s note: We skipped this too. Just ate it the second it was done.)
- Serve and be amazed.