Gazpacho, a raw summer vegetable soup that hails from the south of Spain, is one of the simplest and most delicious summer dishes in my repertoire. When I lived with my family in the south of France, we would buy cartons of ready-made gazpacho at our local country supermarket and my children loved it so much, they would take hearty glugs of the stuff every time they opened the fridge.
Gazpacho isn’t only delicious — it’s also been shown to boost vitamin C levels and lower oxidative stress and inflammation, all of which are associated with a lower risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In one study, gazpacho consumption was linked to lower blood pressure and reduced hypertension in people at high cardiovascular risk. Researchers cited two reasons: For one, gazpacho is made from raw ingredients at peak ripeness and nutritiousness. Moreover, the combination of a large variety of plant foods with highly diverse nutrient profiles increases the scope for “nutrient synergy” whereby one nutrient reinforces another, resulting in a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
This soup is a cinch to make in bulk, so why not pretend you’re a Spaniard and drink a glass of gazpacho every day this summer? Make sure all your ingredients – tomato juice, peppers, cucumber, onion – are well chilled so the soup is nice and cold. If you don’t have a blender, you can make a chunky gazpacho by finely cubing all the ingredients (fruit-salad style) and combining them with the tomato juice. As an alternative to shrimp, you can top gazpacho with chopped hard-boiled egg, olives, cubed veggies and toasted almond slivers. Serves 6 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course.
Gazpacho with garlicky shrimp
- 2 cups tomato juice low-sodium
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 12 oz roasted peppers I like Cento's
- 1 English cucumber washed & coarsely cubed
- 10 oz grape tomatoes
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 avocado ripe
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
Garlicky shrimp (gambas a l'ajillo)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 10 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 lb medium shrimp de-veined, defrosted
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 11/4 cup parsley chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Combine tomato juice, roasted peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, onion,garlic, avocado, olive oil and vinegar in a large, high-powered blender. If you can't fit all the ingredients, combine them in a large bowl, toss and blend in 2 or 3 batches. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving (can keep for several hours).
- Five minutes before you are ready to eat, cook the shrimp. Warm tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 20-30 seconds. Don’t brown the garlic or it will taste bitter.
- Add shrimp and lemon juice. Sauté, stirring briskly, until the shrimp turn pink – two to three minutes. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and stir to combine.
- Ladle soup into bowls, top with shrimp and serve immediately.