We’re in the middle of a heatwave here in Seattle. The temps outside have been in the upper 80’s and low 90’s for over a week and there is no sign of it changing. And I know, the 80’s themselves aren’t all that bad, except that Seattle isn’t used to this heat at all—I am actually really surprised at how much my body has acclimated in the last 15+ years. I would have laughed at my current self 15 years ago when I lived through the brutally muggy summers of Philadelphia. But here we are—hot, with no AC. To make things worse, our house is one big stagnant air mass—even with 4 fans running on blast it registers 97° in my kitchen….at 11pm. (Although, thankfully, Irving is my hero and just ordered “me” a portable AC—it arrives Thursday, not that I’m counting or anything.).
So, yesterday I posed a question on Facebook—”Does anyone have a great gazpacho recipe?”—because there is no way I’m turning on stoves and ovens in this heat! Several of you responded with great suggestions, and I found a few recipes online and in my own cookbooks. I never found one recipe that was exactly what I wanted, so I combined little bits of each recipe into my own, which Irving declared to be one of my Top 10 recipes of all time. Ever. I’ve been cooking for him for over 10 years now, from omnivore to vegetarian to vegan, so that says a lot!
Before I share the recipe, let me back up and tell you about gazpacho. Gazpacho is a raw (most of the time) tomato based soup that is served cold. The style originated in the south of Spain—and after spending time there a few years ago I can attest to the need for a cold soup. Irving and I travelled through Spain in 2009—about 6 months before I became a vegetarian. We joked that our trip might have put me over the edge, as it seemed like vegetables were few and far between. Except for gazpacho, which was served as an appetizer in every restaurant. And wouldn’t you know it, I declared that I didn’t like it and didn’t even want to taste it, based on preconceived notions formed back when I was high school. Looking back I am so sad that I missed out on amazing, authentic Spanish gazpacho—what was I thinking?
^^^ Spain in August was beautiful…and hot. I completely understand the gazpacho obsession!
Thankfully I’ve come around and I have a recipe to share with you today! While most gazpachos use tomatoes and peppers as their base, this one uses watermelon with a small amount of tomato. Although it is fruit based, it is definitely a savory soup. It tastes best when allowed to chill for a few hours, so plan accordingly. I puree a large portion of the ingredients, but leave a small amount separate like a salsa garnish—I like to have a little bit of texture so I don’t feel like I’m drinking a smoothie for dinner!
I also like to serve mine with a few big slices of garlic bread—I’ll put a note on how to prepare it below. I also served mine with an Italian version of my 3 Bean Salad. I haven’t written up that recipe yet, but you can find a similar recipe here. Keep things super authentic and serve with some Tinto Verano (sangria)!
I hope this soup helps you get through the heat this summer. I know it will be a recurring meal around here—between Irving and Jonathan we barely had enough! This gazpacho would be a fun twist on a watermelon dish for your 4th of July BBQ—try it out and wow your friends! I’d love for you to follow me on Instagram, and tag photos you post of my recipes with #frieddandelions so that I can see! I love to see your creations!
Watermelon Gazpacho, serves 4 adults as a main dish, 6-8 as an appetizer
5 c watermelon, rough chopped (I used a small globe shaped watermelon)
3 roma tomatoes (1 c), roughly chopped
1/2 c cucumber, roughly chopped
1 T basil (chop up a bit and pack a tablespoon full!)
1 T champagne vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
zest and juice of 1 lime (about 2T of juice)
1 clove garlic
1/4 c red onion, diced
1 c watermelon, finely diced (1/4 inch cubes)
1 roma tomato, finely diced (1/4 inch cubes)
1/4 c red onion, finely diced (1/4 inch cubes)
2-3 T cucumber, finely diced (1/4 inch cubes)
1/2 c basil, julienned
1 T champagne vinegar
1 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
Place all of the ingredients in the first portion of the recipe in a blender (watermelon through red onion). My food processor doesn’t hold liquid well anymore, so I used my Vitamix. Blend well until all chunks are gone and it is smooth. Place in a large container with a lid and refrigerate for 3 hours to allow flavors to mingle.
For the Salsa Garnish, finely chop the ingredients as noted above and place in a small container with a lid. Add the basil, vinegar, olive oil and salt and mix gently. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours to allow the flavors to mingle.
1-2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled with point sliced off to reveal a flat surface
Preheat your oven on the broil setting (I promise, just for a few minutes). Slice the bread into 1/2-3/4″ thick slices. Brush the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Place in the broiler and watch carefully. Once the bread has browned remove it from the oven immediately. Rub the flat cut surface of the garlic clove over the surface of all of the bread slices.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Place one scoop of the salsa garnish in the center of each bowl. Serve with several slices of garlic bread. Enjoy!