julie’s healthy gazpacho

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes + 1 hour chilling time

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gazpacho

The technique to making my friend Julie’s gazpacho is what sets it apart: she grinds up the veggies first in the processor, then adds the liquid. If you blend it all at once, you end up with something more like liquid salad than cold soup. You can serve it plain or with avocado as a first course or add shrimp, chopped eggs, or crab to make it a light main dish. Either way, it’s a great way to keep summer heat at bay.

ingredients

3 celery stalks
2 green onions
1 small green bell pepper
1 regular cucumber
1 ripe red tomato or 1 cup red cherry tomatoes
handful fresh basil or cilantro (either or both), optional
1 quart V-8 juice
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1 lemon
Tabasco sauce
kosher salt and pepper
garnishes, optional (see note)

directions

Cut celery and green onions into 2-inch lengths; roughly chop the bell pepper, discarding stem and seeds. Peel and seed the cucumber and cut it into 2-inch chunks. Cut the tomato in half and squeeze out the seeds, then chop it into chunks (if using cherry tomatoes, just pull off stems). Put vegetables and basil and/or cilantro (if you have them) in a food processor with the metal blade and pulse several times until minced, but not pureed. Pour in 1 cup of the V-8 juice, then pulse the mixture to blend quickly but not puree. Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the V-8 juice. With a garlic press, squeeze the garlic directly into the bowl, then add the juice from half the lemon. Stir and taste the gazpacho; season as needed with more lemon juice, Tabasco, and salt and pepper. Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator; chill for at least an hour before serving.

To serve, ladle the gazpacho into bowls and garnish as desired. The gazpacho lasts, covered in the fridge, for up to 2 days, but tastes best the day it is made.

note: garnish with chopped avocados or hard-boiled eggs for a first course. To make more substantial, put a scoop of bay shrimp in each bowl. I like to put the garnishes out in little bowls and set a bottle of Tabasco on the counter and let everyone customize their own.