Meatless Monday with Easy Peasy Gazpacho

Jul 2012

My family loves gazpacho in the summer time, and with farmer’s markets coming into full swing, there’s no time like the present to make up a new batch for dinner. Problem is, most recipes are pretty time consuming. So…I’m going to let you in on a little secret of mine on this Meatless Monday.

I look to gazpacho as an excellent way to eat down the fridge, prep something really healthy and low fat for my family, and keep the stove off in summer. With the addition of some shrimp, crabmeat or lobster, it becomes an elegant meal, and I’ve never served it to anyone who doesn’t ask for more. Aside from the basics, I don’t really use a recipe for it, just whatever is on hand in the fridge, so I hope this will inspire you to get a little creative and experimental in the kitchen.

My secret ingredient is V-8 juice. It forms the base of the soup, and is packed with flavor. Yes, yes I know, scratch is better, but sometimes life calls for a little shortcut. And this is one I use without guilt. To that base, I add puréed seeded cucumbers, red pepper, celery, onion, chives, scallions or my new favorite-garlic scapes, green pepper, basil, lemon or lime juice, and any type of tomatoes I have on hand. The skin stays on everything, so organic is better if you can do it. Any salad greens on hand-throw those in as well. My cuisinart and blender were wedding presents, so I don’t need to tell you how old they are. No fancy equipment needed here! Stir all these ingredients together and taste. Add a little vinegar or more citrus if it needs some zing. A dash of Worcestershire sauce or red chile oil is an option, and a touch of good quality olive oil will give it some depth. Salt and pepper to taste. It’s all very scientific, as you can see! Let the soup chill for a bit so the favors come together, and I think you’ll be amazed at the results. It will lead you down a path of no return. Do let me know how you make out, and if you have any delicious combinations of your own, be sure to share your secrets…