Gazpacho is, in very simple terms, cold soup. It sounds weird and gross, but it is so delicious when it’s made with the right kinds of ingredients!
This is the perfect appetizer for summer, and that is exactly the time of year that it is traditionally eaten. The dish hails from Spain and Portugal, and typically features a tomato-water base. While it is both healthy and refreshing, I wouldn’t recommend this watermelon-cucumber gazpacho as an entree. Whenever I have eaten it as an entree, I always end up feeling hungry soon afterwards, and it functions much more appropriately as an appetizer.
While I can image a ladies luncheon with tea sandwiches and this soup, properly eaten with pinkies raised, it can also be “dressed down” for casual meals, and stored in tupperware for a week or two.
As for the flavors, if you can find a nice and ripe watermelon, that summery sweetness will come through the most! Be warned though, the cucumber is a force to be reckoned with and if you are planning to store this in your refrigerator I would definitely make sure you’ve got baking soda in there as well! I was drinking cucumber-infused water for about a week after making this!
On another note, I found that this recipe makes a ton of soup! I mean, probably 8-10 cups! If you’ve got hearty eaters in your household or lots of mouths to feed, this soup is amazing, because the ingredients are fairly cheep and it makes so much! However, for a couple’s dinner it is a little excessive and I would recommend you split it in half. As we all know, whole watermelon makes a delicious snack, so there’s definitely no need to turn all of it into soup!
serves 8-10 (appetizer portions)
1 small, seedless watermelon
1/2 cup cilantro
1 green onion (I love onion, if you don’t, I’d recommend only using 1/2 of an onion)
8 grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
optional: mint and basil
Most recipes like this call for a food processor. However, I (like many people) am operating in a small kitchen without many gadgets, so I opted to use the small end of a food grater for the “juicing”. Honestly, the result is so much better than what you’d get with a food processor anyway. I mean, I want my gazpacho to at least kind of resemble the foods that it came from! Using the small end of a food grater gives you a chunkier consistency and makes the soup a bit heartier. As an added bonus, these ingredients are soft and super easy to grate so it takes no time at all!
First, grate the cucumber into a large bowl. This shouldn’t take too long, especially if you have softer cucumbers.
Next, slice up the watermelon and grate it piece-by-piece. This is a little tedious, only because watermelons (even small ones) are fairly large, and you will need to cut them into smaller slices to fit them on the grater.
However, the watermelon is even easier than the cucumber to grate. But I will say that ‘seedless’ usually means no giant, black, inedible seeds. It does not however mean that there are no seeds at all. If you are really really anti-seed-in-soup, you will need to grate your watermelon into a separate bowl and then pour it into the larger bowl over a strainer. I do not mind having little seeds in the soup, so I didn’t opt for this. As much as possible, I’ve kept to the techniques that will result in the most natural-looking gazpacho.
We got very lucky with a beautiful, ripe watermelon that had tons of juice!
Next, wash and mince the cilantro. You can also mince mint and basil if you love the herby flavors, but I opted for plain cilantro and just decorate the soup with a leaf or two of mint. Add the cilantro to the large bowl and stir everything together.
Wash the tomatoes, and mince them as well.
You want to try to get them as small as possible, so that they blend in with the rest of the soup. But you can’t really grate them because the peel just ends up separating from the meat and then you just have a ton of wasted tomato!
Add the tomatoes in, and then mix in the fresh lime juice!
Finally, chop up the green onion and stir it in there with the rest of the ingredients.
Right after everything is grated, the soup will look a little bubbly and foamy. This is normal, and it will settle down as the soup is chilled or spooned into a bowl.
If you want, feel free to add salt and pepper to taste. You can also garnish the bowl, as I did, with whole ingredients (slice of watermelon, tomato slices, mint leaves, and green onion slices). Of course, the soup is still delicious without these additions!
You can serve the soup immediately, or chill it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.