The Best Chunky Gazpacho Soup Recipe
Gazpacho, a refreshing, chilled vegetable soup that requires no cooking, isn't just for summer! Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, apples, and fresh herbs are available year-round, so you can enjoy this delicious, healthy, low-calorie "liquid salad" all year long.
My chunky gazpacho recipe is thicker and more filling than most. It also packs several servings of nutritious vegetables into every bowlful! Pack some in your kids' lunchboxes inside a chilled thermos. Add some plain Greek yogurt or vegan cashew sour cream to top it off for some added calcium and/or protein.
This recipe makes a big batch, enough to feed a family for several meals. If your family is small, you may prefer to halve the quantities.
To make this vegetarian recipe vegan, just use a vegan Worcestershire sauce.
You'll Need a Huge Mixing Bowl to Make the Full Recipe
I recommend using a stainless steel mixing bowl because it will help your gazpacho chill much faster and stay cold longer. Stainless steel is also unbreakable and dishwasher-safe.
I took the step-by-step photos for this article when I was still perfecting this recipe. I was using an 8-quart mixing bowl, the largest I had at that time. However, as you'll see in the photos, by the time I finished tasting, adding ingredients, tasting, adding more, I couldn't fit all the ingredients in the bowl.
Next, I purchased a 10-quart mixing bowl. All the ingredients fit, but there wasn't enough headroom to stir the soup without spilling it.
Since I knew I would be making this recipe often, I ended up also buying a 12-quart stainless steel mixing bowl that lets me stir my gazpacho without it overflowing. I also find myself reaching for it often while making other recipes. It's very large—about 14 3/8" wide (outside rim) and roughly 7" deep—but since I nest my other mixing bowls inside it for storage, it doesn't take up that much more room.
If you can't fit a 12-quart mixing bowl into your cabinet for storage, I suggest using a 10-quart bowl and stirring slowly to avoid spillage.
- 2 hothouse cucumbers, also called English cucumbers or European cucumbers (the long, thin cukes with dark green skin, sometimes sold sealed in plastic)
- 3 bell peppers—yellow, orange and/or green (for a nice color contrast)
- 1½ pounds of ripe, flavorful tomatoes (plum, Roma, grape or Campari tomatoes, or locally grown tomatoes)
- 1 large sweet onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 cups of tomato juice (half low sodium, if desired)
- 4 cups of V8 vegetable juice (reduced sodium preferred)
- 1/2 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (for a vegan soup, use a vegan Worcestershire sauce, e.g., Edward & Sons, Annie's Naturals or The Wizard's)
- 1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 to 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt (or 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons of table salt)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh basil
- Fresh cilantro
- Dice the cucumbers and place them in a very large mixing bowl (12-quart or larger)
- Dice the bell peppers and add them in
- Chop the tomatoes coarsely and add them
- Coarsely chop the sweet onion, mince the garlic, and toss them in
- Shred the basil finely and chop the cilantro coarsely before you add them
- Stir the contents of the bowl thoroughly
- Add the liquids
- Season to taste and chill well
- Adjust seasonings and serve with desired accompaniments
Use Just-Picked, Locally Grown Vegetables and Ripe, Flavorful Tomatoes
Since this soup is raw, it's important to use the ripest, most flavorful tomatoes and freshest, tastiest vegetables you can find.
Local fresh produce often costs less and tastes better than the fruits and vegetables you find at the supermarket, which often are picked prematurely or are genetically modified to withstand the rigors of shipping and other factors.
Buy from local farmers through a farm stand, food co-op, farmers' market or CSA, or grow your own if you can!
1. Dice the Cucumbers and Place Them in a Very Large Mixing Bowl
Wash the cucumbers and trim off the ends. Slice the cukes in half lengthwise and place them cut side down on the cutting board. Slice one of the halves horizontally into 1/3" thick planks. Slice the planks lengthwise into 1/3" wide strips, then crosswise into 1/3" dice. Repeat with the remaining cucumber halves and place the diced cucumbers into a 10- or 12-quart mixing bowl.
2. Dice the Bell Peppers
Slice off the ends (top and bottom) off the peppers with a sharp chef's knife. Remove the stems and reserve the ends. Stand a pepper on end and slice straight down through one wall. Slide the knife along the inside of the wall to slice away the whitish ribs. Then flatten the pepper against the cutting board and slice it into strips (julienne) around 1/3" wide. Slice the strips crosswise into dice, the dice the reserved ends and add the peppers to the mixing bowl.
3. Chop the Tomatoes Coarsely
Wash the tomatoes well and slice them into approximately 3/4" cubes. Pulse them in a food processor a few times until they are coarsely chopped and add them to the mixing bowl.
4. Coarsely Chop the Sweet Onion and Mince the Garlic
Peel the onion, slice off the root end, and then cube and pulse in the food processor until it is coarsely chopped, as you did with the tomatoes.
Slice the root ends off the garlic cloves and peel the cloves. Mince the garlic very fine.
Add the onion and garlic to the bowl.
5. Shred the Basil Finely and Chop the Cilantro Coarsely
To make a basil chiffonade (the culinary term for a mound of fine strips or shreds), wash, trim and neatly stack 5–10 large basil leaves. Roll the stack tightly, lengthwise, so it's long and thin. Use a very sharp chef's knife to cut very thin slices. Separate and loosen them to create a fluffy pile of shreds. Measure and repeat, if necessary, to get 2–3 tablespoons of shreds.
Note: For the batch I photographed, I chopped the basil shreds as an experiment and decided I prefer the full shreds.
Next, hold half a bunch of fresh cilantro by the stems and swish them vigorously in a bowl of cold water to remove any grit from the leaves. Dump out the water, rinse the bowl, fill it with fresh cold water and, again, swish the cilantro vigorously in the water. Repeat, if necessary, until the water remains clear. Shake off the excess water briskly and pat the cilantro dry between paper towels. Lay the stems flat on a cutting board and use a sharp chef's knife to slice off the leaves. Discard the stems. Chop the leaves coarsely and measure. Repeat, if needed, so you have 3–4 tablespoons of chopped cilantro.
Scrape the basil shreds and chopped cilantro into the mixing bowl.
6. Stir the Contents of the Bowl Thoroughly
7. Add the Liquids
Stir in the tomato juice, V8 mixed vegetable juice, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce (regular or vegan). Stir in most of the 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil and give taste a spoonful. If the taste is a bit too sharp for your liking, add the rest of the olive oil to smooth it out.
8. Season to Taste and Chill Well
Taste the soup for saltiness. Depending on whether you used low sodium tomato juice and/or V8 juice and also how salty the Worcestershire sauce you used is, your gazpacho might not need any additional salt. If it does, add up to 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt (or up to 3/4 tsp. of table salt). I prefer to use kosher salt for most dishes because it doesn't have the slightly metallic taste of iodized table salt, but either type is fine. Stir in only a little salt at a time, taste, and repeat. The soup definitely should not taste salty, just well seasoned! Err on the side of using too little salt, since the flavor of the salt seems to develop during the chilling period. You can always add more later.
Stir in some freshly ground pepper to taste, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill the gazpacho for at least 8 hours or overnight. Then taste for seasonings and adjust them if necessary to suit your personal preference.
9. Adjust Seasonings and Serve with Desired Accompaniments
Just before you're ready to serve, remove it from the refrigerator. Give it a good stir and taste it. If needed, add more seasoning and/or a bit more of any of the liquid ingredients to adjust the taste as you prefer. Serve the gazpacho ice cold.
It tastes great either plain or with a topping. My family likes to add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, low-fat or fat-free sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro. Vegan cashew sour cream would be a wonderful non-dairy, soy-free, vegan substitute alternative.
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© 2013 Margaret Schindel