Experience the vibrant flavors of Spain with this refreshing, super easy gazpacho recipe. It’s perfect made ahead, enjoyed as an appetizer or light meal.
Gazpacho, a chilled tomato-based soup, is a beloved dish from Spain that captures the essence of summer. Whether you’re seeking a light meal or appetizer, a cooling refreshment on a hot day, or a taste of Mediterranean cuisine, this gazpacho is a flavorful journey to the heart of Spanish tradition!
While there’s some controversy over whether traditional gazpacho includes bread, when I visited Spain, I had a breadless gazpacho that was life-changing. This recipe mimics that amazing experience!
Serve with Crostini and fun toppings in my blog post below!
What is Gazpacho?
Gazpacho is a cold Spanish soup that’s typically made with a combination of raw vegetables, particularly tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and garlic. It’s a refreshing and flavorful dish that’s especially popular during the hot summer months in Spain.
The preparation of gazpacho involves blending or pureeing the vegetables along with other ingredients like high quality extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and sometimes bread crumbs. The result is a smooth, chilled soup that’s usually served as an appetizer or light meal.
- Ripe tomatoes – heirlooms tomatoes are my favorite option for gazpacho, but you can also use ripe regular tomatoes or Campari tomatoes.
- Cubanelle pepper – cubanelle peppers are mild, sweet, and have thin skin. You can also use another type of Italian frying pepper (like an Anaheim) if you can’t find a cubanelle. Red bell pepper works too.
- Cucumber – cucumber in gazpacho is traditional, adding bright, fresh flavor.
- Red onion – red onion adds tang and color.
- Garlic – garlic…because garlic!
- Extra virgin olive oil – good quality olive oil is key! I recommend using Spanish olive oil. The flavor of your olive oil will significantly impact the flavor of your gazpacho, so use one you like!
- Sherry wine vinegar – sherry vinegar is a classic in gazpacho, adding brightness and acidity.
- Cayenne (optional) – a dash of cayenne adds a little back heat.
- Toppings of choice – authentic gazpacho toppings include chopped veggies, Croutons, Hard Boiled Eggs, serrano ham or prosciutto, and a drizzle of olive oil. See blog post below for more fun topping ideas!
How to Make Gazpacho
Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!
If using tomatoes with a firm core, such as heirloom tomatoes, remove the core. In a blender or food processor, add tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, and garlic. Blend for about 30 seconds.
Add salt, cayenne pepper (if desired), sherry wine vinegar, and olive oil. Blend the mixture until completely smooth and creamy. If the gazpacho is too watery, you can add an additional 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to achieve the desired consistency, blending again.
Refrigerate the gazpacho for at least 1 hour before serving to enhance its flavors.
Authentic gazpacho is often served with a variety of toppings that enhance its flavor, texture, and visual appeal. Some traditional and popular toppings for gazpacho include:
- Croutons: they add a delightful crunch and absorb some of the soup’s flavors.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: sliced or chopped hard-boiled eggs can be used to provide a protein-rich element to the gazpacho.
- Chilled shrimp: shrimp adds protein and something to dip in the gazpacho!
- Serrano ham or prosciutto: thin strips or bits of ham or prosciutto can be added for a savory and salty contrast to the soup’s flavors.
- Fresh herbs: chopped fresh herbs like chives or basil can be sprinkled on top to add a burst of herbal freshness.
- Extra virgin olive oil: a drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil is a classic finishing touch. It not only adds richness but also complements the flavors of the vegetables and other toppings.
- Chili flakes: for those who enjoy a bit of heat, a pinch of red chili flakes can be added to provide a subtle kick.
- Cubed avocado: adding cubed avocado on top can bring a creamy texture and a mild, buttery taste to the gazpacho.
- Smoked paprika: a light dusting of smoked paprika can contribute a smoky depth of flavor to the soup.
- Microgreens: delicate microgreens or sprouts can be used to add a fresh and visually appealing element to the dish.
- Crème fraiche: a dollop adds creaminess and indulgence.
- Nuts: like marcona almonds
What to Serve With Gazpacho
Here are some of my favorites ways to serve gazpacho:
- As an appetizer or lunch: alone with toppings (listed above)!
- With Spanish cheeses: A plate of Spanish cheeses pairs well with the fresh and tangy gazpacho.
- With bread: serve with Crostini, crusty Baguette, or Parker House Rolls on the side. They can be enjoyed with the soup or used to dip into the gazpacho.
- With olives: a bowl of marinated Spanish olives can deliver a briny and flavorful addition to the meal.
- With tapas: create a tapas spread with a variety of small plates like Spanish tortilla (potato omelet), Salmon Croquettes, marinated artichokes, patatas bravas, or other small appetizers and bites.
- With chilled white wine: a glass of chilled Spanish white wine, such as Albariño, complements the gazpacho’s flavors and adds to the overall experience!
- As gazpacho shooters: instead of serving in a bowl, serve gazpacho in small glasses like shot glasses as a drinkable hors d’oeuvre.
Gazpacho Recipe Tips
- Opt for ripe heirloom tomatoes for the best results. In case heirlooms are unavailable, ripe regular tomatoes or Campari tomatoes (which are often nice and ripe) can be used.
- No need to peel tomatoes.
- The taste of your gazpacho can be notably influenced by the type of olive oil you use. Different olive oil profiles such as fruity, bold, or mild will yield distinct outcomes.
- While Cubanelle peppers are commonly accessible, if they’re not on hand, you can substitute them with other mild Italian frying peppers like Anaheim peppers (which may have a slight spiciness). Alternatively, a small red bell pepper can be used.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Absolutely yes! Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Yes, you can, but the texture and consistency of the gazpacho might change slightly after freezing and thawing, especially since gazpacho contains vegetables and their water content can affect the overall texture. Freeze for up to 3 months, thawing in the fridge for 24 hours before serving.
Yes, gazpacho is served cold…never warm!
This gazpacho recipe is loaded with veggies and healthy fat from extra virgin olive oil. Consult your physician for guidance, however, because I’m not a doctor!
No need to peel your tomatoes for gazpacho. In fact, the skins add texture!
More Soup Recipes You’ll Love!
- Easiest Chicken and Rice Soup
- Easy Chipotle Black Bean Soup
- Dad’s Split Pea Soup With Ham
- Best Easy French Onion Soup
- Large blender or food processor
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes see notes below for best options
- 1 Cubanelle pepper seeded and cut in rough chunks
- 1 medium cucumber peeled and cut in rough chunks
- 1 small red onion cut in chunks
- 1 large clove garlic peeled
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ½ teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
- Dash of cayenne optional
- Salt to taste
- Toppings of choice see blog post above for suggestions
- If you’re using tomatoes with a tough core like heirloom tomatoes, cut the core out. In a large blender or food processor, add tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic. Blend for 30 seconds until almost smooth.
- Add salt, cayenne (optional), sherry wine vinegar and olive oil. Blend for another minute or until completely smooth. Gazpacho should be creamy from the olive oil. Add 2-3 tablespoons more olive oil if gazpacho is too watery, blending again.
- Chill for at least 1 hour before serving for best results!
- The best tomatoes to use are ripe heirloom tomatoes. If you can’t find heirlooms, you can use ripe regular tomatoes or Campari tomatoes, which are usually riper than your standard grocery store tomato. No need to peel them.
- The flavor of your olive oil will significantly impact the flavor of your gazpacho (fruity vs. bold vs. mild olive oils will yield different results!).
- Cubanelle peppers are usually easy to find, but if you can’t find one, use any other kind of mild Italian frying pepper like an Anaheim (which are occasionally a bit spicy). You could also use a small red bell pepper.
- While there’s some controversy over whether traditional gazpacho includes bread, when I visited Spain, I had a breadless gazpacho that was life-changing. This recipe mimics that amazing experience!