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Cold Summer Soup: Gazpacho.

Updated on April 18, 2014

Origins of Gazpacho

Summer is upon us and we are all tired and thirsty. Perhaps the word "soup" is not the first thing you would think of! But here, in Andalusia, soup is what the natives have been having in summer for centuries ......and as we know, the natives of any territory are usually right!

Location of Andalucía, southern Spain.


Introduction of the tomato from the Americas

The Spanish Empire expanded to the New World in the late 15th Century. Many wonderful new fruits and plants were brought back and introduced firstly toSpain and then to Europe at this time. The humble tomato was one of these new exotic fruits. Thus the tomato became one of the fundamental ingredients of the modest 'gazpacho'. Also, during the same period, cucumbers and other foods and spices were being introduced from India.

So it was after the discovery of the Americas, and the introduction of the tomato that the simple gazpacho evolved into what we know it as today. In Andalusia it has always been considered an economic dish due to the great abundance of the ingredients in the Andalusia countryside which renders it low-cost yet healthy.

Reaping the harvest under the sun


Origins of 'gazpacho'

For centuries Andalusian farm labourers have been be working beneath the scorching Andalusian sun. 500 years ago the word "gazpacho" was used to described a type of emulsion made from the mashing up or pounding of what was easy at hand in the Andalusian countryside. The process would have been done using a mortar and pestle. What else other that pure olive oil, garlic, vinegar and stale bread? This was a nutrtious and also refreshing snack and was deemed so important for the labourers that a "gazpachero" (gazpacho maker) was employed as part of the gang to make the concoction when necessary.

The etymological history of the word holds several theories about the orign of the word 'gazpacho'. Andalusia was the home to Arabs, Mozarabs and Jews for centuries. It was during these yeas that the word 'gazpacho' appeared as a term to describe the pounding of ingredients such as garlic and oil (to make an 'emulsion' and the gradual adding of others. One theory suggests 'gazpacho' originates from the the Mozarab word 'caspa' denoting 'what is left over'. This may have referred to the use of 'left-over' garlic and oil used in the making of gazpacho. Another theory point out the similarity of 'gazpacho' with with the Hebrew word "gazaz" meaning to 'break into small bits', referring to the actual process of pounding the garlic and other ingredients together to form the 'soup'.

A taste of summer


Viva el rey! Viva el gazpacho!

In recent years there has been a surge of interest in the health benefits of Mediterranean diet. Even in Spain itself, the humble gazpacho, the poor man's dish, has become more fashionable and was, for the first time, served at a reception given by the King and Queen of Spain at the Palacio de la Zarzuela in Madrid in June, 2013. See the King and Queen of Spain offering gazpacho to guests at the Palacio de la Moncloa. Click here to see the photgraph of the meal in the Kings private dining room. The gazpacho was even served in traditional rustic wooden bowls!

Ana María

There are dozens of different recipes for gazpacho in Andalusia, much as there are for making Yorkshire puddings in Yorkshire! In the old days, each Spanish housewife or cook would learn a recipe handed down from their grandmother or aunt and incorporate into their own kitchen. Recipes have always been handed down through families and the gazpacho recipe is no exception.

There are lots of variants to the recipe. Some people add carrots, green peppers, red peppers, or onion. Add what you fancy!

I learned the recipe below from my Spanish mother-in-law, Ana María Fernández, from Málaga, who has been making gazpacho for many of her 83 years of life and has taught me all I know about Spanish cooking.! She swears by the quality of the tomatoes and top quality olive oil!

The measures and quantities used below are VERY approximate. Ana María has never been able to say exactly how many of this or how much of thatin any of her recipes. I have mainly just learned by watching her make them and writing them down as she goes!

No cooking ....just quick blending

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: 6


  • 8 ripe tomatoes
  • 150 ml olive oil, virgin extra
  • 3 slices stale bread
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 tabelspoon vinegar
  • salt
  • water
  1. Soak the bread in water for twenty minutes.
  2. Peel the tomatoes, cucumber and garlic. Chop roughly and add to food blender.
  3. Add the oil, vinegar and salt.
  4. Blend all ingredients for several minutes. Check for seasoning. If soup is too thick, add a little water and briefly blend again.
  5. Serve as starter/first course or as a refereshing summer snack.

Top quality olve oil


Much easier than in the past!

growing out of my spider plant
growing out of my spider plant | Source
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 200ml serving
Calories 350
Calories from Fat198
% Daily Value *
Fat 22 g34%
Carbohydrates 38 g13%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Olive oil is GOOD for you!

Due to the quantity of olive oil in gazpacho, the calorific value may seem quite high. However, because extra virgin olive oil is high in unsaturated fats, which are the "healthy" fats, they are highly benficial to health. See the website for an exhaustive analysis of the benefits of olive oil and the Mediterranean diet in general.

If I can do it so can you.

Move over, Spider plant!
Move over, Spider plant! | Source

The old fashioned way!!

Enormous mortar and pestle, perhaps the size used for a big group of farm labourers
Enormous mortar and pestle, perhaps the size used for a big group of farm labourers | Source

Still not convinced about a 'cold' soup?

Enjoy the refreshing taste of gazpacho knowing that you are taking in all the benefits of the widely-acclaimed Mediterranean diet. If you still are not convinced to give it a go, then just see the 6 reasons why I love gazpacho:

  • Easy to make!
  • Economical!
  • Healthy!
  • Tasty!
  • Refreshing!
  • Satisfying!

Spider plant trying to take a sip of my gazpacho!
Spider plant trying to take a sip of my gazpacho! | Source

Cold Soup??

Does the term "cold soup" put you off eating or making gazpacho?

See results
5 stars from 1 rating of Gazpacho; Cold Tomato Soup


Other variations of the basic gazpacho recipe:

  • Gazpachuelo,
  • Salmorejo,
  • Zoque,
  • Ajo Blanco.

All these cold soups are based on the pounding of ingredients and gradual incorporation of other ingredients. Watch out for more information on these variation in my next article.


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    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 

      4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      I have never heard of cold soup, but the ingredients make it sound alright. Still, I'd probably be most attracted to it if I worked a day sweating under the hot sun! Voted interesting.

    • marieryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Ryan 

      5 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      @ billybuc...Thanks for reading my gazpacho hub and thank you for the lovely comment. I am still a relative newbie to writing.

      I am trying to transmit some of the passion and fascination I have for Spain and Spanish culture and I hope this comes through in my hubs. I know I still have a long way to go in order to develop a style and a flair for the written word. I am inspired by your many hubs and now by your site "Artistry with Words".

      You know you are a great inspiration to many hubbers!

    • marieryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Ryan 

      5 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      hi drdspervez

      thanks for reading the hub. I'm sure you must have similar "cold" soups in Pakistan to deal with the heat during the summer!

    • marieryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Ryan 

      5 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      hi, bac2basics,

      I know many people are put off by the term "cold soup" . Try it with soaked bread, which adds a bit more body to the mix. Enjoy in this hot weather in Spain!

    • drdspervez profile image


      5 years ago from Pakistan

      It's a nice hub and the pictures are owsome, I feel like having it now, keep on writing good recipes. DR.DURRESHAHWAR PERVEZ

    • bac2basics profile image


      5 years ago from Spain

      Hi Marie.

      When I first came across Gazpacho I must admit I found the concept of cold soup very unappetising, that was until I tried it and found it to be delicious and refreshing in the heat. I have never had it with bread added to the mix so will give that a try. I have had the winter ( hot ) version of this dish made with thin crackers and meat along with anything else going at the time , but I much prefer the summer ( cold ) Version.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent job with this recipe. You mixed some history with some personal experiences, and your voice shines through. One of the better recipe hubs I have read.

      Have a great weekend!


    • marieryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Ryan 

      5 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      Thanks Susan, yes it's delicious!

      I'm just sneaking off to the fridge to have a little taste myself!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sounds and looks delicious. Will try your recipe soon. I'm sure it will be a big hit at my house.


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