It is SO HOT here. And humid. I’m not going to complain, I love heat. I’ll take a warm climate over a cold one any day. The problem is I’m a little tired of eating salads for lunch everyday. And that’s a big statement for me to say because I consider myself the Salad Queen. Throughout university I was known among my friends to always be the one bringing salads to potlucks. Now don’t get the wrong ideas, I didn’t make salads because I thought that would be quicker and easier. In fact, quite the opposite. I take making a salad as a challenge: How am I going to come up with a new combo of flavors and colors? How am I going to something that is commonly thought of as boring into something everybody will talk about? While I’m getting a little offtrack here, I stress the fact that it is unusual of me to get bored of salads. All this to say that today I decided to make something different!
Gazpachos bring me back to my summers spent in France. My family owns a house in the South-West of France in the Basque Country, right by the Spanish border. Over there you can get some really good (tasty and healthy) gazpacho from the supermarket. Since we are a large family, that’s usually the easiest solution to satisfy a big bunch of gazpacho lovers! This traditional Spanish dish a tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper-based soup served cold. It’s a genius way to drink soup in the summer: it quenches your thirst and hunger, all the while refreshing your entire self. Pure goodness! As much as I’m very familiar with gazpacho, I had never made it from scratch before. And for some reason I was very intimidated by the process. I suppose I was terrified by the possibility of ruining a dish that I have revered for many years…
This is therefore my first attempt, but definitely won’t be my last! Since I didn’t want to add the traditional stale bread to this version, I thought soaked cashew might do the trick. Although it doesn’t alter the taste whatsoever, it does change the texture of the soup. Personally, I enjoy rich textures so I didn’t mind it at all, but my mother was expecting the dish to be a little smoother in the mouth. I think it would’ve been less grainy if I had blended the cashews first, until it had reached a cream-like consistency, and then added the rest of the ingredients. Instead, I added the cashews to the mix half-way through. So as a not for this recipe, I suggest to either start with the cashews or skip them all together. You could also replace the cashews with half an avocado. I will try that next time and let you know how that goes! ;) Regardless, I was very pleased with the final product. Refreshing. Sooo flavorful. A little spicy but not too much. And I didn’t regret having gazpacho instead of a salad for lunch!
Spanish Gazpacho – serves: 4 | prep time: 1h10 min | cooking time: 20 min
- 5 large tomatoes
- ½ English cucumber, peeled
- ½ red bell pepper, seeds removed
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 1 garlic clove
- ¾ cup fresh parsley, stem removed
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- a dash of ginger and ground coriander
- 1 tsp of Mediterranean Fleur de Sel (coarse sea salt)
- pepper to taste
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (optional)
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped into small cubes
- 3 or 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- a drizzle of olive oil
- a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the onion into 4 quarters, and place them cut side down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cook for 20 minutes or until they become golden brown.
While the onion is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients. If you’re using the cashews, start by placing them in a food processor and mix until they reach a creamy texture. Chop the tomatoes, bell pepper, and cucumber and add them to the food processor. Blend until it’s becomes liquid. Then add all the remaining ingredients: garlic, lemon juice, parsley, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, ginger and ground coriander, salt and pepper.
Once the onion quarters are ready, let them cool a little and then add them to the rest of the ingredients. Blend everything for a couple minutes until the soup reaches a smooth-like texture. Taste and adjust seasoning to your personal preferences.
Pour your soup into a big bowl, cover and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour.
Once your gazpacho is nice and chill, pour into 4 bowls and add the toppings. Start with layering the radish, then add the bell pepper cubes and parsley. Finally drizzle a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle some red pepper flakes. Enjoy! :)