The Best Healthy Chunky Gazpacho Soup Recipe
Healthy, Refreshing, Chunky Gazpacho Soup
It's Not Just for Summer!
Gazpacho is a delicious, refreshing chilled vegetable soup that requires no cooking, so it's a perfect summer meal. And since tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, apples and fresh herbs are always available you can enjoy this healthy, crunchy, refreshing low-calorie cold soup any time of year.
My chunky gazpacho recipe is healthy, delicious and filling and packs several servings of nutritious vegetables in every bowlful. It's perfect for lunch, dinner, or a snack and makes a great addition to your kids' lunch box meals with some plain Greek yogurt or vegan cashew sour cream for protein. This recipe makes a big batch for you and your family to enjoy eating all week long.
This vegetarian gazpacho soup recipe can easily be made into a vegan soup recipe by using a vegan Worcestershire sauce.
Use Just-Picked, Locally Grown Vegetables and Ripe, Flavorful Tomatoes and Vegetables for the Best-Tasting Gazpacho Soup
Since the ingredients in any gazpacho recipe are raw rather than cooked, it's important to use the ripest, most flavorful tomatoes and freshest, tastiest vegetables you can find. If you have your own vegetable garden, use as much of your own crop as you can. If not, consider buying from local farmers through a farm stand, food co-op, community supported agriculture (CSA) or farmers' market. Local fresh produce often costs less than the fruits and vegetables you find at the supermarket, which often are picked prematurely or genetically modified to withstand the rigors of shipping and other factors. Locally farmed and picked produce is fresher, more nutritious, less expensive and tastes so much better than the supermarket variety!
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 after you take it out of the refrigerator. Stainless steel is also unbreakable and dishwasher safe.
I'm guessing that the very large stainless steel mixing bowl I used while tweaking the final version of the soup recipe probably was about 8 quart capacity. At 12.5" wide by 5" deep it's plenty big. However, as you'll see in the photos, by the time I finished tasting, adding ingredients, tasting, adding more, etc., there wasn't enough headroom left for me to stir the soup!
I subsequently ordered a that has a large enough capacity for making this gazpacho recipe and stirring it without overflowing the bowl! Mine is about 14 3/8" wide (outside rim) and roughly 7" deep. 12-quart stainless steel mixing bowl
When it first arrived I worried about how much room it would take to store, but I just nest my other mixing bowls inside it so it doesn't take up that much more room. It's also a great size for making bread dough, tossing salads thoroughly without getting them all over the counter, washing vegetables that need to be soaked to remove grit or dirt, and many other uses. Now that I have them, I find I use both my 10- and 12-quart bowls all the time.
Gather the Gazpacho Ingredients
What you'll need:
- 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 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (For a vegan gazpacho recipe use vegan Worcestershire from Edward & Sons, Annie's Naturals or The Wizard's or make your own from a vegan Worcestershire sauce recipe, such as Martha Stewart's
- 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), preferably imported from Italy
- 1 to 1½ tsp. kosher salt (or 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. of table salt)
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh basil
- Fresh cilantro
Dice the Cucumbers and Place Them in a Very Large Mixing Bowl
Wash the cucumbers and trim off the ends, then slice them in half lengthwise and place them cut side down on the cutting board. Slice a cucumber half horizontally into 1/3" thick slices and reassemble them. Then slice the layers lengthwise into 1/3" wide strips and then crosswise into 1/3" dice. Repeat with the remaining cucumber halves and place the diced cucumbers into the very large mixing bowl.
Note: This gazpacho is designed to be chunky and crunchy, so the recipe specifies dicing and coarsely chopping the vegetables. If you prefer a less chunky or crunchy soup, give the veggies a rough chop and pulse them individually in a food processor to chop them more finely.
Dice and Add 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.
"I didn't care much for the gazpacho soup. I mean, where's the fun of sending it back because it isn't hot?"— Actress Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghy, Jack Donaghy's mother in the TV series, "30 Rock"
Coarsely Chop the Tomatoes and Onion and Add Them to the Bowl
Wash the tomatoes well (remove the stems with a sharp paring knife, if desired) and slice them into roughly 3/4" cubes / chunks. Then pulse them in a food processor a few times until they are coarsely chopped and add them to the mixing bowl. (If you prefer to peel the tomatoes first, plunge them in boiling water for a few seconds and then plunge them into a bowl of ice water and let them cool. The skins will slip off easily.)
Peel the onion, slice off the root end, and then cube and pulse in the food processor until it is coarsely chopped. Add the chopped onions to the bowl.
Add Finely Minced Garlic
Slice the root ends off the garlic cloves. Rotate your chef's knife 1/4 turn so that the wide, flat part of the blade is resting on a clove, then hit the flat of the blade with the heel of your hand (or the side of your fist) to smash the garlic. Peel off the papery skin, which should come off easily now. Repeat with the remaining cloves. Then mince the garlic very finely and add it to the bowl. Check out Chef Jamie Oliver's demonstration of how to prepare garlic, below, for some great tips!
Chiffonade / Finely Shred the Basil Leaves and Coarsely Chop the Cilantro Leaves
You can use as much or as little of the fresh herbs as you like. They're the only ingredients I didn't measure, I just used enough for a nice, tall stack of basil leaves and a good-sized pile of cilantro leaves.
To make the basil chiffonade (the culinary term for a mound of fine strips or shreds), wash, trim and stack the basil leaves. Roll this stack into a long, thin roll, like rolling up a jellyroll. Using a very sharp chef's knife, slice this roll into very thin slices. Then separate the slices into a fluffy pile of shreds and voilà — a chiffonade of basil. (In the photo I also chopped the chiffonade to get very finely chopped basil, but I've found I like it better with longer shreds.) Add the basil shreds to the mixing bowl.
When using fresh cilantro, the most important thing is to wash away all the stubborn grit from the leaves. Pull out as many stems of cilantro as you want to use and gather them back into a bunch. Fill a bowl with cold water and, holding the bunch of cilantro by the stems, swish the leaves around vigorously in the water. Dump out the water, rinse the bowl, fill it with fresh water and repeat until the water stays clear.Shake off the excess water briskly and pat the leaves dry between paper towels. Lay the cilantro flat on a cutting board and, holding it by the stems, slice through the leaves with a sharp chef's knife. Discard the stems and coarsely chop the cilantro. Scrape the chopped cilantro into the mixing bowl.
Then give all the vegetables and herbs a good stir.
Add the Liquids
Stir in the tomato juice, V8 mixed vegetable juice, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce (regular or vegan). Then stir in most of the 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, AKA EVOO, and taste the soup. If the flavor is a bit too sharp for your liking, add the rest of the olive oil to smooth it out.
"Wait Dad! Good news, everyone! You don't have to eat meat! I've got enough gazpacho for everyone."— Lisa to Homer Simpson in "The Simpsons" TV series episode, "Lisa the Vegetarian"
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 gazpacho definitely should not taste salty, just well seasoned! Also, the soup will get saltier as the flavors meld while chilling, so err on the side of using too little salt. You can always add more after the soup has chilled, if you wish.
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.
Adjust Seasonings and Serve with Desired Accompaniments
Keep the soup in the refrigerator until just before you're ready to serve it. Then take it out of the fridge, give it a good stir and taste it to see if it needs any more salt or pepper if any of the other liquid ingredients need to be adjusted a tad to get the taste exactly to your liking. (Learn from my mistakes and note the adjustments on the recipe for future reference!) Then serve the gazpacho ice cold.
My husband adores my homemade cornbread, so that's what I usually serve alongside my chunky gazpacho soup. I've also served several different types of whole grain bread with it, which is another tasty pairing. I prefer my gazpacho soup plain, but my husband and brother love theirs with either plain Greek yogurt, low-fat or fat-free sour cream, or vegan cashew sour cream, which is a wonderful non-dairy, soy-free, vegan substitute for dairy sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
Cold Soup Smackdown: Fresh-Tasting Gazpacho v. Rich, Creamy Vichyssoise
Which cold soup is better, gazpacho or vichyssoise (chilled cream of potato and leek soup)? Cast your vote and then read what others say!
Chilled gazpacho soup is a delicious, cool summer refresher. It's like a crunchy, drinkable fresh salad!
Chunky Gazpacho Recipe Formatted for Easy Printing
Cool, refreshing, crunchy and delicious, this flavorful chunky gazpacho recipe makes a great healthy, filling and low-calorie snack, lunch or light supper. Serve this chilled fresh vegetable soup plain or with a generous dollop of plain greek yogurt, light sour cream or non-dairy, soy-free, vegan cashew sour cream and maybe a sprinkling of additional basil chiffonade (fine shreds) or chopped cilantro.
It's wonderful paired with a slice of hearty homemade and/or whole grain bread; I usually serve mine with homemade cornbread. No matter how you serve it, everyone's sure to ask for seconds.
- 2 long thin hothouse cucumbers AKA called English cucumbers or European cucumbers
- 3 bell peppers - any combo of yellow / orange / green
- 1 -1/2 pounds of ripe flavorful tomatoes - e.g. Roma / plum tomatoes / grape tomatoes / Campari tomatoes
- 1 large sweet onion - I prefer Vidalia onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 cups of tomato juice - low sodium if desired
- 4 cups of V8 vegetable juice - reduced sodium preferred
- 1/2 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar - preferably imported from Modena Italy
- 2 Tbsp. regular or vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil AKA EVOO - preferably imported from Spain or Italy
- Kosher salt or table salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh basil leaves
- Fresh cilantro
- Wash and dry all produce. Cut the cucumbers into 1/3" dice and place them in a VERY large mixing bowl.
- Slice and dice the peppers (approximately 1/3" dice) and add them to the bowl.
- Cut the tomatoes into roughly 3/4" cubes (if using grape tomatoes, halve them) and pulse them in a food processor until coarsely chopped and add them to the mixing bowl.
- Peel, trim and cut the onion into roughly 3/4" cubes, then pulse in the food processor until coarsely chopped and add them to the bowl. Alternatively you can dice the onion finely by hand.
- Mince the garlic very fine with a sharp chef's knife and add it to the bowl.
- Wash and dry the basil leaves, then chiffonade them: stack the leaves, roll them tightly lengthwise, slice them crosswise as thinly as possible with a very sharp chef's knife and pull the shreds apart to separate them. Add the basil chiffonade to the mixing bowl. I usually use about 3 to 4 tablespoons of basil shreds.
- Take out as many stems of cilantro as you want to use and swish the leaves vigorously in a large bowl of cold water to remove the grit. Rinse and repeat, then shake off the excess water and pat dry. Remove the leaves and chop them, discarding the stems, then add them to the bowl. I usually use around 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves.
- Stir in the tomato juice, V8 juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and about 2/3 of the olive oil (1/3 cup), then taste, adding part or all of the remaining olive oil if the taste is too sharp.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, making the soup a little less salty that you want - the salt will become more prominent after the gazpacho has chilled. You may not need to add salt at all; I recommend using no more than 1 to 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt or 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. of table salt.
- Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight so the flavors can marry and mellow. Just before serving, remove the soup from the refrigerator, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve well chilled.
Please Rate This Gazpacho Recipe - Thank You!
© 2013 Margaret Schindel