My easy gazpacho, with some crusty french bread, is perfect for a quick lunch or as a starter for a summer evening, grilled dinner with guests. Make it ahead and keep it in the fridge, so it’s chilled to perfection and ready to serve whenever those cravings for the fresh, delicious and wholesome flavors of summer overwhelm you. Simple make-ahead dishes, like this one are an important part of entertaining, since making them ahead lets you focus on the items that need attention right before the meal and helps you to time everything to be ready at the appropriate serving time. And, if we’re being 100% honest, here, having it made ahead means I will eat a healthy, nutritious lunch instead of grabbing a pre-made, processed something-or-other. Summer is just as busy as the rest of our year — maybe even more. Getting lunch quickly is a must and this is one way to be sure I grab something healthy, as well as tasty and satisfying.
There are a LOT of different recipes for gazpacho and I think everyone puts their own twist on it, but at the heart of every great gazpacho there are tomatoes and cucumbers. After that, all the fabulous fresh vegetables and herbs of summer that inspire you can put your own unique flair on this delicious chilled soup. Mine has a little heat, ’cause that’s just the way I roll. 🙂 And that can be easily adjusted by using fewer, or more, of the veins and seeds of the jalapeno. It’s still a little early in my part of the country to get really good, vine-ripened tomatoes, which are critical to great flavor in a gazpacho, so I used Hunt’s Sweet Onion Diced Tomatoes in this recipe.
Hunt’s uses a flash steaming method to peel their diced, stewed and whole tomatoes, instead of the lye that is common in some other brands. 100% of Hunt’s tomatoes are grown in California and their tomatoes are canned within hours of being picked. From the field to the finished canning process, it takes about 10 hours. The attention to freshness follows through in the flavor that Hunt’s tomatoes bring to my recipes. Hunt’s has some great recipes to share with you, too. For even more ideas, I’m following them on Facebook and Pinterest. Hunt’s has quite a few varieties of tomatoes to choose from. I find them in the pasta aisle at my local Walmart.
My easy gazpacho recipe will have you eating scrumptious, nutrition-packed lunches all summer long, without any extra effort to get it to the table. I make a batch on Sunday night and it keeps well, for the entire week. As a matter of fact, the flavors meld and intensify, the longer it sits. So grab your cutting board and a sharp knife, because the first thing you will do is dice up all your vegetables. It’s purely a matter of preference, but I do a small dice for this dish. The easiest way is to cut each veggie into long matchsticks and then turn them, and cut the other direction for the dice. The only exception is the jalapeno, which I leave in larger chunks, because ALL of it is going in the blender.
You’re going to place ALL of the garlic, vinegar, jalapeno, parsley and cilantro into the blender. Then add 1/2 of each of the vegetables you diced up. (The diced veggies that are left should be mixed up in a large bowl with a lid and placed in the refrigerator.) Pour two cans of the Hunt’s diced tomatoes into the blender,along with 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable juice.
Blend on high speed until all the chunks are gone and you have a nice smooth puree. Pour the puree into a large container that can be sealed tightly. Add the last can of Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes and the last 2 1/2 cups of vegetable juice. Salt and pepper can be added, at this point, to taste. Stir to incorporate everything, then cover the soup and refrigerate it until time to serve.
At serving time, ladle soup into bowls and add some of the crisp, crunchy fresh diced vegetables, that you reserved earlier, to each bowl. This will add color, texture and even more flavor to your amazingly flavorful and nutritious chilled soup. I love it served with toasty French bread, so I can soak up every delicious drop. Enjoy!
- 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 large cucumbers, peeled and small diced
- 3 cans Sweet Onion Tomatoes, divided
- 1 large red bell pepper, small diced
- ½ red onion, small diced or minced
- 1 yellow squash, peeled and small diced
- 3 stalks celery, small diced
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 4 cups tomato vegetable juice, divided
- 1 small jalapeno ( or ½ a large one), some seeds and veins removed, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional, sour cream and fresh cilantro to garnish
- Wash, peel and small dice all the vegetables.
- Place ALL of the jalapeno, cilantro, parsley, garlic and vinegar in the blender.
- Divide all the veggies, you diced, in half. Place one half of them in the blender.
- Place the remaining half in a tightly sealed container and place it in the refrigerator.
- Add TWO cans of the Hunt's Diced Tomatoes with Sweet Onions to the blender.
- Pour 1½ cups of the tomato vegetable juice into the blender.
- Puree the vegetables on high speed until no chunks are left and the soup is very smooth.
- Pour the puree into a large container (at least 4 qt) that has a tight-fitting lid.
- Add the last can of tomatoes and remaining 2½ cups of tomato vegetable juice to the puree.
- Stir to combine and then cover and and refrigerate.
- When ready to serve, ladle the chilled soup into serving bowls and add at least ¼ cup of the crisp, crunchy, freshly diced vegetables that you reserved from earlier.
- Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and fresh cilantro. Serve with some toasty French bread.
What are your favorite make-ahead recipes for quick summer lunches? I hope you’ll share some in the comments, below.