It’s tomato season, and what better way to celebrate the fresh, summer produce than to make Gazpacho! This chilled vegetable soup is refreshing and packed full of fresh, summer flavours, so it’s perfect served on a hot summer day.
I’ve been a fan of gazpacho since I visited Andalucía a few years ago. I first tried it at a little tapas bar in the city centre of Seville and I absolutely loved it! I visited at the end of August, and it was scorching hot! As I wandered around the streets of Seville, I wondered why the streets were practically empty (I’m guessing it was because of the heat), and after about 10 minutes of walking around, the heat became unbearable, so I rushed into the nearest tapas bar and ordered some gazpacho. I was hungry but I didn’t want to have anything hot or too heavy, so the ice-cold gazpacho really hit the spot!
What is Gazpacho?
If you’re not familiar with gazpacho, it’s a chilled vegetable soup that originated in Andalucía, Spain. Traditional gazpacho is made from fresh, ripe tomatoes, red bell peppers, cucumber, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and stale white bread, which helps to thicken the soup and to give it a creamier consistency.
How to serve Gazpacho
Gazpacho is traditionally served in glasses with ice cubes, but if you want, you can serve it in bowls with various garnishes. I like to serve mine with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper and topped with some of the leftover vegetables that went into the gazpacho. If I’m feeling extra fancy, I’ll make little vegetable skewers with cherry tomatoes and cucumber ribbons, to use as garnish. Whichever way you choose to serve your gazpacho, just make sure it’s chilled! The longer you refrigerate the gazpacho, the better it will taste, so prepare it at least 1 hour before you’d like to serve it.
What is the difference between Salmorejo and Gazpacho?
Salmorejo and gazpacho are both made with a tomato base, the main difference is that gazpacho traditionally has a few more vegetables such as cucumber and pepper. Salmorejo also tends to have quite a thick consistency, so it usually served in a bowl, whereas gazpacho has a thinner consistency, so it’s traditionally served in glasses.
Andalusian Gazpacho Ingredients:
Tomatoes: I’ve used two Roma tomatoes, but any ripe, good quality tomato will do. You could remove the skin if you like, but I find it doesn’t really make much difference either way.
Red bell pepper: the pepper adds a delicious sweetness to the gazpacho. I’ve used red bell pepper, but any colour bell pepper can be used.
Sweet yellow onion: I’d recommend you use a sweet onion because if the onion flavour is too strong it can sometimes give the gazpacho a bitter taste.
Cucumber: The cucumber adds a lovely fresh taste to the gazpacho. I’ve used around 120g English cucumber, but any type of cucumber will do.
Bread: Stale white bread is essential in authentic gazpacho. The bread helps to thicken the gazpacho and to give it a creamy texture. You can keep the crusts on because you’ll be soaking all the ingredients before blending.
Garlic: A small amount of garlic will give a delicious depth of flavour to the gazpacho.
Sugar: The sugar helps to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.
Ground cumin: I love adding cumin to this recipe! It adds a delicious subtle, earthy note to the gazpacho. I’ve added ½ tsp, but you can add a bit more to suit your personal taste.
Sweet paprika: The paprika brightens up the colour of the gazpacho.
Olive oil: Good quality olive oil is essential in traditional gazpacho! I’d recommend you use extra virgin olive oil.
Red wine vinegar: A splash of vinegar makes this soup come alive. If you don’t have red wine vinegar, you can substitute it with sherry vinegar or rice vinegar.
Sea salt and black pepper: you’ll need these to season the gazpacho.
You will need a jug blender or a hand blender.
A classic gazpacho is made with simple ingredients, but this is not to say you can’t experiment with it. You can adjust the amount of some ingredients to suit your personal taste, or you can add additional ingredients to it. Here are some ideas:
Add some heat: you can add some chilli flakes or a dash of tabasco to spice up your gazpacho.
Add herbs: you can try adding fresh herbs such as basil, thyme or chives. Chopped chives also make a lovely garnish for the gazpacho.
Different oils: traditional gazpacho is made with olive oil, but you van experiment with other oils such as avocado or grapeseed oil.
Vinegar: I’ve used red wine vinegar, but if you want you can use sherry vinegar or rice vinegar instead.
Can Gazpacho be made gluten-free?
Absolutely! Simply use your preferred gluten-free white bread when making the gazpacho. All the other ingredients are gluten-free.
How to make Gazpacho
Roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, pepper, cucumber and bread and add them to a medium sized bowl. Slice the garlic and add it to the bowl along with the olive oil, salt, black pepper, red wine vinegar, water, sugar and cumin. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients, cover the bowl with cling fling and place in the fridge to chill for at least 50 minutes.
Combine all your gazpacho ingredients in a blender or food processor for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. If you like your gazpacho to extra smooth, you can pass it through a sieve.
Transfer the gazpacho to a jug or container and chill for at least 10 more minutes (the longer you leave it to chill, the better it will taste). Serve the chilled gazpacho in glasses and garnish with your choice of toppings.
Tips for making Gazpacho
Use good quality oil - good quality olive oil is essential in traditional gazpacho! I’d recommend you use extra virgin olive oil.
Chill your gazpacho for a least 1 hour - the longer you chill the gazpacho, the better it will taste as it will allow the flavours to infuse together.
Be sparing with the vinegar - do not add more than 1 tbsp as too much vinegar can give the gazpacho a really bitter taste.