The freshest garden ingredients make this cold no cook soup taste fresh to your mouth
New Jersey has a bad reputation from those who judge from afar. Just ask anyone who has flown over the northern part of the state and landed at Newark Airport for a layover or to zip off to Manhattan. If you know the industrial area around Newark Airport you know what I mean. So I can understand this misconception on thinking the view from the air is what all of New Jersey is like.
But New Jersey is very diverse for such a small state. These northern highly industrialized areas, filled with pharmaceutical companies, gas and oil refineries are big differences to the farmlands and soft sandy beaches in other New Jersey regions. New Jersey isn’t called The Garden State for no reason. But you have to know the reasons: abundant corn, tomatoes, blueberries and peaches among other native NJ produce.
Those that grew up in Jersey know these secrets about the Garden State. We know about the taste of Jersey white corn or just picked peaches. The taste you can only find in Jersey. We say this unique taste comes from the soil; the sand mixed in with the dirt. The sand which gives Jersey its OMG taste to its tomatoes too. We know all this despite the differences from some more industrialized areas on the state. Ask any native New Jersey-en what it was like to drive up one of the main highways called the NJ Turnpike or Garden State Parkway about 30 years ago and start to get close to Newark Airport. You could close your eyes and know when you got close. The smell of the oil and the view of that one controlled big flame that burned from the top of the gas refinery near the Hess Building. As kids we didn’t know what all these places were, we just knew it was never boring driving on these crowded stretches of highways.
I am diverging now. It is time to get back to 2012. The gardens and produce still exist in Jersey. These fresh abundant ingredients were the inspiration for this no cook cold gazpacho soup.
Origins of gazpacho soup do not come from New Jersey
Gazpacho is from Spain, (way on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean!) although original gazpacho origins may have come from other countries. The main base of gazpacho has olive oil and day old bread in it, blended together with garlic, salt, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. The Spanish let the chopped vegetables soak in water and then they were pounded with a mortar and blended. Now in Spain the gazpacho is made using modern appliances like a food processor and is served on hot summer days like we have in New Jersey!
Health benefits of gazpacho soup
This recipe is part of the Recipe Redux Challenge, a monthly recipe challenge where dietitians develop and publish recipes that are healthy and still taste oh la la good. This month’s recipe challenge was to “Beat The Summer Heat” with a no cook meal using vegetables and/or fresh herbs. And voila, what could be healthier than a cold vegetable soup made with garden fresh produce and olive oil? Gazpacho helps to get our 5 a day fruit and vegetables and it has a healthy monounsaturated fat source of olive oil. What puts this Garden State Gazpacho into the real super healthy range is that it doesn’t use canned tomatoes or tomato juice, both of which can be high in salt. I have also added a fruit source for extra vitamins and made it child friendly, something that is important for me. I believe our kids (I have four of them) also benefit from eating the same foods as us parents, but typical gazpacho dishes can be spicy or acidic for young palates. This recipe, made with a sweeter fruit and honey touch keeps the authenticity and adult and kids’ palates happy too. To keep it lighter, this recipe does not use bread as one of the ingredients.
This gazpacho soup recipe makes a lot but also keeps well
This recipe makes enough for a big family’s soup course or for a small summer BBQ with the cold soup served in small glasses. You can cut the quantity in half or make what the recipe calls for and keep the leftovers in the refrigerator. The soup tastes even better the next day!
I used a salting technique to extract more flavor from the vegetables prior to blending them together. You can also give an extra flavor touch to your gazpacho by pre-salting them and then cryo-blanching (freezing) them. If you have room in your freezer to lay a tray of salted veggies, read this: “Food Lab, The Science of Perfect Gazpacho.”
Garden State Gazpacho
|Prep time||45 minutes|
|Meal type||Appetizer, Lunch, Soup, Starter|
|Misc||Pre-preparable, Serve Cold|
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled )
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (leaves cut into thirds)
- 1 Medium white or red onion (peeled and chopped)
- 2 bell peppers (green or red) (seeded and chopped)
- 4 Large vine ripened tomatoes (cored and chopped)
- 2 Large peaches (peeled, depitted and chopped)
- 1 Large cucumber (peeled, deseeded and chopped)
- 2 juices limes
- 2 cups cold filtered or bottled water
- 3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
A real key to make this soup go from "this is good" to "OMG" is in the quality of the vegetables and fruit used. The tomatoes must be freshly picked or vine ripened. The peaches should be ripe and sweet. This is a child friendly soup (attested by my four kids!) The subtle sweetness from the honey and peaches adds a nice blend to the vegetables and lime juice. You can adjust seasonings as you like and experiment by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper, splash of Tabasco or freshly ground pepper if you want some extra fire.
You can top this soup with either sprinkles of Parmesan cheese, croutons or fresh herbs.
|In a very large mixing bowl add the peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and peaches.|
|Sprinkle the vegetable and fruit mixture with the sea salt and mix well.|
|Let mixture marinate in salt for 30 minutes, remixing from time to time.|
|Now set up your food processor to finish the soup.|
|Mince the garlic, basil and onions together in the food processor. You may need to add a small amount of olive oil to help blend.|
|When vegetable-fruit mix is ready add it in bunches to food processor to blend together. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in 2 batches, emptying blended vegetables into a second bowl. Do not over process. The consistency should be thin but not uniform.|
|Put all the food processed mixture back into the large bowl.|
|Add the rest of the water, olive oil and honey to large bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon.|
|Adjust for seasonings, adding more sea salt or honey if you want a saltier or sweeter taste. Do not over season.|
|Put soup in large serving pitcher into the refrigerator for at least two hours. Serve gazpacho in clear glasses or soup bowls. Garnish with croutons, Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs.|