Eat Your Vegetables: Great Gazpacho

I know you're tired of hearing it, but I'm tired of living it, so I'll say it again: It's hot.

We're having a summer for the record books over here on the East Coast. More 90+ degree days than the past 11 years combined, or something like that. I don't pay much attention to the weather forecast anymore. It's too depressing.  But, if there's one great thing about the heat, it's that it puts the focus on tasty food that doesn't have to go anywhere near the oven.

Chris and I have been noshing on summer delights like cold chicken, crusty bread, olives, ripe tomatoes, creamy avocados -- and my favorite summer soup: Gazpacho.
I like making gazpacho, because it turns out a little bit different each time I make it, depending on the ingredients. This time, I had some V-8 in the fridge from a brunch batch of Bloody Marys, and the blender was still  out, so I just grabbed a few things from the fridge, and in literally 10 minutes, had a batch of bright, zingy gazpacho. I let it chill for an hour or so before Chris came home, and that was it. Easy as pie...mmm, now I'm thinking about pie. And you probably are too. Sorry!

Great Gazpacho
12 oz. V-8 juice
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large slices of roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
1 TBS diced jalapeño, stemmed and seeded
1 bunch each of mint, parsley and basil leaves, chopped
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up Category 1

To Do:
  • Add 1/4 cup of V-8 to the blender cup along with the carrots and finely chop.
  • Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Do the same with the cucumber and tomatoes (chop each in the blender with a bit of juice, separately), then add to the bowl of carrots and stir together.
  • Reserve about 11/4 cup of the cucumber, tomato and carrot mixture, then return the rest to the blender.
  • Add the roasted pepper slices, jalapeno, herbs, and the rest of the V-8 and puree until you have the consistency you like (I like mine a bit chunky).
  • Pour over the reserved veggies and stir.  Season to taste with vinegar and olive oil, and a few pinches of salt/pepper.
  • Let chill at least 1 hour so flavors can merge. Adjust seasonings before eating.
  • To serve: place avocado slices in the bottom of each bowl and ladle soup over them. Garnish with fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with crusty bread.