How’s your garden doing? We’re having a bountiful year with plenty of zucchini, yellow squash and peppers of many shapes and colors by the basketful and a surprising surplus of tomatoes after a disappointing season last year. We freeze, we pickle, we juice and we eat. Boy, do we eat. A favorite dish makes great use of our backyard surpluses. It requires no cooking, can be easily adjusted to use whatever is ripe, can be enjoyed at an elegant dinner party or from a “go” cup in the car and tastes like summer should. Gazpacho is a cold soup with a long history and comes in many forms. Our favorite comes from our very own garden.
A cold vegetable soup with its roots in Spain and Portugal, there is some debate over the origin of the name. Some say it is derived from an Arabic term meaning “soaked bread.” Another theory suggests it comes from a Hebrew word meaning to break or fragment. Either of these etymologies make sense for a soup that traditionally includes stale bread crumbs and vegetables crushed with mortar and pestle, but given the variety of ingredients that can be used to make gazpacho, I like a third translation, which offers that the name comes from a Greek word for a church collection box to accept various donations.
Many modern recipes, like this one, skip the bread crumbs and focus seasonal vegetables. Consider this recipe a jumping off point. The vegetables used here are some of the most commonly found in backyard gardens (mine included), but may not be growing in your garden. Whatever is growing in your vegetable garden, you may find room for it in this easy recipe for the classic cold soup that takes just minutes to prepare. Taste, tweak and make it your own.
Backyard Garden Gazpacho
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered and seeded
- 1 large cucumber, chopped
- 1 yellow squash, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, seeded, cored and chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, cored and minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups tomato juice
- Fresh basil
Place 1 pound of tomatoes in blender and pulse to reduce.
Add second pound of tomatoes to blender and pulse.
Add cucumber, squash, zucchini, onion, bell pepper and jalapeno peppers and puree until smooth.
Add olive oil, cider vinegar, salt and pepper and pulse to combine.
Transfer into a large bowl and stir in tomato juice.
Cover and refrigerate 3 hour to overnight to chill.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves or croutons to serve.