The best gazpacho recipe starts with perfect tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are incredibly sweet, making them a great candidate for gazpacho soup that’s bright, flavorful, and perfect for summer. This version comes together quickly and includes classic ingredients like cucumbers, red bell peppers, red onions, garlic, white wine vinegar and olive oil.
At this point, I think we know that not all tomatoes are created equal. There’s a reason I recommend sticking with canned tomatoes during the off-season. “Eat Local” has turned into a bit of a catch phrase in recent years, but there’s a reason for it.
We’ve all tasted those imported, grocery store tomatoes; the ones that are mealy and flavorless. Those tomatoes don’t belong on your sandwich, let alone in gazpacho!
On the other hand, heirloom tomatoes are legit.
What are Heirloom Tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes, also known as heritage tomatoes in the United Kingdom, are open-pollenated tomatoes that have been passed down through generations.
They have a shorter shelf life than most other tomatoes. Many heirlooms are missing the genetic mutation that give tomatoes their typical red color. They’re also often much sweeter.
They’re gorgeous. I won’t lie; it can be a bit difficult to puree them for soup. My favorite way to serve heirloom tomatoes is sliced on a salad or tart, so you can really appreciate their beauty.
However, once I tried heirloom gazpacho, I got over it.
How to Make Gazpacho
Sometimes I’m in the mood for a gazpacho that’s silky and smooth, like my roasted tomato gazpacho. However, that version takes a lot more time to prepare. When I’m making a classic raw gazpacho, I prefer a lot of texture.
A friend once told me she likes to chew on her gazpacho, and I’m the same way. Since the ingredients won’t all fit into a food processor or blender at once, I pulse them individually in order to have to total control over the texture of each one.
I pulse the tomatoes until they’re partially pureed. After this step, I transfer the tomatoes into a large bowl, making room for the next ingredient.
For the red pepper, I prefer to leave more texture. Mmmmm chewy soup!
I leave the cucumber unpeeled for maximum texture, but you can peel it if you prefer.
You can also chop the red onion using the same method as above, but I like to puree it with the garlic and olive oil, making a smooth liquid to combine with the other ingredients.
- Gazpacho tastes very different after the flavors have a chance to mingle in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Taste it for seasoning, but I recommend waiting to truly enjoy it.
- As I said, I like a very textured gazpacho. However, you can puree all of the ingredients for a smoother soup. Adding tomato juice to the food processor along with the vegetables will help smooth them out, as will peeling the cucumbers.
- One time I accidentally purchased 100% vegetable juice instead of tomato juice (think V8). I hate to admit it, but the results were tasty. I typically stick with pure tomato juice, but it’s an option.
- I store my gazpacho in this pitcher. The recipe fits perfectly.
What to Serve With Gazpacho
- Crostini topped with olive tapenade
- Crusty artisan bread for dipping
- Fish or shellfish (grilled shrimp served on top is an excellent option)
- Tapas: Jamón serrano, chorizo, patatas bravas
- Mini Zucchini Ricotta Galettes
- Cheddar Chive Crackers
- Spinach, Artichoke and Caramelized Leek Tart
Looking For More Tomato Recipes?
- 4 medium or 3 large heirloom tomatoes (approximately 2 pounds), cored and coarsely chopped
- 2 medium red peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 large seedless cucumber, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 small red onion coarsely chopped (1/3 - 1/2 cup)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups tomato juice (vegetable juice may be substituted)
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- Optional garnishes: diced avocado, sliced scallions, a small dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche
- Add the tomatoes to a food processor and pulse or puree until the desired texture is reached. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat the same process with the red peppers and cucumber, adding each ingredient to the same bowl.
- Add the red onion and garlic to the food processor and pulse to chop several times. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse again. If a thinner texture is desired, pour some of the olive oil into the food processor while the machine is running. Scrape the contents into the bowl with the other vegetables.
- Stir in the remaining olive oil, tomato juice, and white wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight so the flavors have a chance to combine.
- Serve chilled. Gazpacho keeps in the refrigerator for up to one week, but will taste best within 4-5 days.
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