These things I know to be true:
- It is no-cook July here at Simplicity’s Sake.
- I love soup. All soup.
- It is currently too hot to cook, or even think about eating, most soups.
Ergo, the only conclusion I can draw is that it is time for a no-cook soup that can be eaten cold. Which is, of course, gazpacho!
This cold summer soup, a traditional Spanish dish, usually has a tomato base – but not always, and that’s where the fun begins. You can put just about anything in gazpacho – fruits, veggies, herbs – and the variations are endless. So I am determined to bring you, fellow cooks, a veritable RAINBOW of gazpacho.
This is why I now have 4 quarts of varying colors of gazpacho in my fridge – from classic red, to creamy green, with orange and yellow in between. (With so much gazpacho, I clearly needed a sous-chef – Food Helper Cat Ollie, pictured above. You can see more of his kitchen exploits here and here.)
Even if cold soup freaks you out (like it used to for me), I beg you to at least try the classic red recipe… and then I bet you’ll want to try the others. If it helps, think of it as a (mostly) savory smoothie. You know, with olive oil. And herbs.
All of these recipes are no-cook and most come together in about 15 minutes – all you need is a blender. Most of these ingredients are in season now at farmer’s markets everywhere, and these dishes taste best with fresh ingredients, if you can get them. All should be chilled at least a few hours before serving, and will keep several days in the fridge, their flavors developing each day. They can be a side dish or a main attraction – just serve along with some really good crusty bread!
And now I present to you, a RAINBOW of gazpachos! If you’re entertaining, serve them as a flight! A flight of gazpachos. Fabulous.
The Classic Red Gazpacho
Adapted only a little from the inimitable Mollie Katzen
Time: 15 minutes Makes: 8 cups
Nutrition information (based on 6 servings): 91 calories; 5g fat; 12g carbs; 2g protein
- 2 cups tomato juice (such as Campbells. Do not use tomato cocktail.)
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow or white onion
- 1 medium clove garlic, crushed
- 1 medium bell pepper, coarsely chopped (I don’t like green peppers so I use the other colors; green pepper would be more traditional)
- 1 teaspoon light honey or sugar (I use honey)
- 1 medium cucumber (peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped)
- 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups coarsely shopped fresh, ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeded) (I actually don’t bother to peel or seed mine, but by all means, feel free!)
- Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
Purée all ingredients in blender. Chill several hours or overnight. Serve cold.
I like to reserve some finely chopped ingredients and herbs for garnish – bell pepper, scallions, parsley. You can also drizzle some olive oil on the top when serving, especially if you have really good olive oil.
Moving on down the rainbow ROYGBIV spectrum, next up is ORANGE.
The Orange Gazpacho, with Cantaloupe and Peaches
(yes, cantaloupe and peaches! Trust me, it’s not dessert.)
Adapted hardly at all from Cooking Light
Time: 15 minutes Makes 8 cups
Nutrition information (based on 6 servings, with prosciutto): 229 calories; 6g fat; 37g carbs; 12g protein
- 5 cups cubed peeled cantaloupe (about 3 1/2 pounds)
- 4 cups chopped ripe peaches (about 4 large)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 T minced shallots
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 T sherry vinegar – this is really important and adds the absolute perfect flavor. If you can’t find it, you could use another wine vinegar… but if you can, just buy the sherry. It won’t go bad (and you’ll need it for another of my recipes later this month!)
- 3/8 tsp kosher salt
- 4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into ribbons (or use prosciutto cubetti, like I do.) *
- fresh mint, basil, or cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*the soup really is to-die-for with the prosciutto, but it’s not necessary if you are vegetarian, or are vehemently opposed (as I am) to turning on the stove.
Place all ingredients except garnishes in a blender; process until smooth.
Chill several hours or overnight. Garnish as desired.
If using prosciutto, about 10 minutes before serving, cook the prosciutto. Heat a skillet and coat it in cooking spray. Once hot, add prosciutto and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle over soup. Taste soup. Close your eyes and thank heaven you decided to put prosciutto in this soup.
I have served this several times for dinner guests, and it never fails to impress!
After orange, of course, comes YELLOW!
Golden Gazpacho with Corn, Yellow Tomatoes, and Beans
Adapted from a recipe on Spoon Fork Bacon
Time: 20 minutes Makes 7-8 cups
Nutrition information (based on 6 servings): 131 calories; 1g fat; 27g carbs; 7g protein
The Indian spices in this dish (garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and coriander) pair well with the veggies and add a deeper hue to the already golden ingredients.
- 4 ears of fresh corn (I implore you, do not used canned! Fresh is sooooo good.)
- 12 ounces (about 2 heaping cups) yellow tomatoes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1/2 medium shallot
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 can small white beans, drained and rinsed (navy beans work well)
- 3/4 to 1 cup vegetable stock or corn stock*
- juice of 1 lime (or 2T champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp of minced fresh ginger
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
* Did you know that you can make corn stock out of corn cobs? Once you’ve cut the kernels off ( or even once you’ve gnawed them all off when you eat corn on the cob) toss them in a pot, cover with water, and boil the hell out of them. Result: tasty corn stock, perfect for use in this recipe or in other soups, or to cook grains in (like quinoa or bulgur). Never throw away another corn stock again!
- corn kernels
- cilantro leaves
Cut the kernels off the cob. I like to break the ears in half with my hands so they are easier to cut, and so the kernels don’t fly quite as far. Maybe one day I’ll get a corn kerneler (yes, it is a thing), but until then, this works just fine.
Once all the kernels are off, scrape the cob with the back of your knife to extract the corn “milk,” and add it to the kernels.
Place the corn and all the other ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.
Refrigerate mixture for at least an hour, or overnight.
When ready to serve, divide into bowls, and garnish as you wish! I personally like a few corn kernels, scallions, and cilantro sprinkled around like they don’t care.
And last but not least, GREEN.
Fresh n’ Creamy Green Gazpacho
Recipe cobbled together from this and this, and edited considerably based on taste trials with a few friends whose cooking I trust more than my own.
Time: 15 minutes Makes 5-6 cups
Nutrition information (based on 4 servings): 111 calories; 5g fat; 17g carbs; 2g protein
In preparing for this post, I researched several green gazpacho recipes, but none of them seemed quite right. This Green Gazpacho recipe is actually a mix of two of the recipes I found, plus some tinkering of my own. This recipe had some intriguing flavor with the grapes and had a good amount of cucumber, but was otherwise bland; this recipe was delicious but it was almost too rich, and I wanted a better balance of cucumber to avocado. So I literally mixed the two batches together, and they were divine! A little bit of experimentation with spices and the amount of citrus/vinegar, and I now have a go-to Green Gazpacho recipe.
- 1 avocado
- 2 cucumbers (half-skinned, all seeded)
- 1 cup green grapes
- 2 scallions, chopped coarsely
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 T white wine vinegar
- 2 handfuls basil*
- 1 cup water, or as needed to achieve desired consistency
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
*normally I see gazpacho recipes with cilantro or parsley; or even dill (in green gazpachos). I really liked the basil in this, but it would be fun to experiment with the other herbs too. If you really want to go crazy, throw in some mint!
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, with some green specks.
Chill several hours or overnight before serving.
Garnish with a few grape slices or diced cucumber; watercress, dill sprigs, or pea shoots would also be really pretty if you happened to have them around
And there you have it – a summery, no-cook gazpacho rainbow! To complete the rainbow you could try this blue-indigo-violet blueberry gazpacho, but it requires a bit of cooking so I left it off out of respect for No-Cook July. Another cooking-required gazpacho on my list is this grilled veggie version. But it will have to wait for August. Do let me know if you try any of these, or if you have a much-loved gazpacho recipe you’d like to share!