Not to be confused with a savoury smoothie
So chilled soup. It’s totally a thing.
I always shied away from tomato gazpacho in the past because I thought that something that seemed to resemble a tomato smoothie wouldn’t really work for me. I made my first batch just a few years ago and right then I discovered that actually a tomato smoothie flavoured with a good dose of herbs, vinegar, seasoning and finished with good quality extra virgin olive oil was rather good.
Traditionally gazpacho, which originates from the Andalusia region of spain, includes stale bread. One could only assume this was to make the ingredients stretch that little bit further, though not a requirement set in stone I was happy to discover when researching this dish. Before the invention of blenders gazpacho would have been squelched together by hand. It turns out I don’t have that much patience and sometimes I believe technology has evolved for the better. On this ocassion a cheap immersion blender did a fantastic (and quick) job, still leaving some rustic texture from the tomatoes and peppers. I do believe a high powered jug blender might pulverise the ingredients a little too smoothly.
I’ve been saving this recipe to share since last summer after I served it as a starter at one of my yin yang yum yoga supper clubs hosted with Emma Peel Yoga. I actually started to write up the post in August, but then the cool autumn came rather quickly and I thought it a little less appropriate! There was just a hint of spike in this from the tabasco, perfect to bring all those zened out yogis back into the moment, and the perfect prequel to a 4 course seasonal vegetarian feast.
The British tomato season runs from May to October, so I was right on cue to plan them in this late summer menu alongside aubergines and cauliflower as part of the main dishes. Beautiful colours, beautifully ripe and beautifully British (Though I must admit to being somewhat biased toward the intense flavour of tomatoes grown on the mediterranean – lets glaze over that for now). One day I hope to grow tomatoes at home, just like my expert tomato growing Welsh Granddad did.
The meal followed a 2 hour yin yoga & meditation led by the wonderful Emma Peel in her Peckham Yoga Den – a beautifully converted sasparilla factory at the end of her garden! We are now hosting these events monthly alternating between Sunday brunch and a mid week dinner. In fact our next events are on Sunday 26th June (brunch) and Thursday 14th July (dinner), and I have just announced the menus! Best of all, because yin is such a gentle form of yoga, it really is suitable for all levels of yoga experiences and flexibilities (incidentally increased flexibility is not really why we do yoga). I’m continually gutted that I can’t join in too.
My gazpacho recipe is adapted from Epicurious
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- 2 large beef tomatoes, diced,
- 4 medium vine ripened tomatoes, diced
- 220g sunglow cherry tomatoes (yellow ones)
- 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
- ½ large cucumber, peeled and cubed
- 3 bell peppers, a mix of red, yellow and orange
- Large handful of fresh coriander
- 90mls balsamic vinegar
- 60mls extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tsp Tabasco (or more to taste)
- salt and pepper
- 1 spring onion, finely sliced.
- Black olives, stonned and diced
- Coriander leaf
- Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
- In a large bowl combine, tomatoes, onion, cucumber and peppers. Using an immersion blender, blitz until the ingredients are broken down and combined.
- Add the coriander,. Blitz again until combined, you still want to see some coriander leaf.
- Stir in all the liquids and seasoning till well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, If it lacks depth of flavour another tsp+ of salt, and extra balsamic vinegar may help.
- Refrigerate till ready to serve, best served chilled
- Garnish with any of the ingredients listed above.
If the idea of a savoury soup smoothie, is appealing, how about trying these other gazpacho or chilled soup recipes?
- Chilled Avocado Soup, by Jamie Oliver (I made a version of this on a yoga retreat recently – its fab!)
- Chilled Almond Soup / Ajo Blanco by Delia Smith (I tried this at a supper club years ago – again, very good and naturally dairy free!)