In early August, when the cucumbers grow large and the tomatoes start arriving in all their beautiful incarnations of reds, yellows, and oranges, like an early sign of autumn’s imminence, a Cucumber Gazpacho, along with my Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup, ebbs its way into my summer soup rotation.
Gazpacho is the consummate cold soup to make use of the bounty of late summer’s harvest. This includes not just cucumbers but things like tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, jalapenos, parsley, basil, and mint. In fact, this Cucumber Gazpacho includes all of those things.
Cuumber Gazpacho is a chilled cucumber soup made with many other blended vegetables.
Gazpacho has origins in Spain and is served during the hot summer season as a refreshing and cool meal. It almost always includes onions, peppers, cucumbers, garlic, and tomatoes. Tomatoes play as important a role as the cucumbers due to their sweetness and high water content. In fact, in some ways you could call this recipe a Cucumber Tomato Gazpahco.
For me, Gazpacho has been a bit of a revelation because I never liked tomatoes until recently. And no matter what type of Gazpacho you make, tomatoes are typically part of the ingredients, be it a central ingredient or less central. In this recipe, they play a strong complementary role to the cucumbers.
Tomatoes were always completely tasteless to me with a texture equivalent to a watery slime. But that’s because I grew up eating those god-awful pathetic, bland, pale red, unripe supermarket tomatoes.
That all changed when I moved to western Massachusetts, a region of rich community-supported local farms, and tasted REAL vine-ripened tomatoes for the first time.
I’m talking about juicy heirloom tomatoes. I’m talking brilliant orange Sungold cherry tomatoes that are so sweet that they can actually rival strawberries. I’m talking dozens of tomato varieties, all with different sizes, shapes, and flavors.
So now I love them and I love this peak summertime of year when there are so many options for using them, like in a Cucumber Gazpacho!
Peel the cucumbers and chop them into small pieces. Don’t dice them too fine. Chop the tomatoes, peppers, and red onion into similar small pieces. Dice the garlic fine. Coarsely chop the herbs.
Transfer everything to a mixing bowl.
Note: I much prefer the sweetness of lime juice to lemon juice in most Gazpacho recipes.
Mix everything together really well. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Really give it a good taste. A lot of liquid will form at the bottom of the mixing bowl. Scoop up some of this liquid with the vinegar, lime juice, and some of the veggie liquid too (mostly from the tomatoes). This will be fairly close to how the final flavor will be.
Tweak if needed with more lime or lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Transfer 50% of the mixture to a blender or Nutribullet (see Guideline #5 below).
That’s my trusty Nutribullet. Seriously, it’s one of the best kitchen tools ever! Blend it well, like so…
You’ll notice a good amount of the volume will reduce once blended. That’s perfectly normal and due to the water content in the veggies.
Chill in the fridge. That’s pretty much it.
When it’s good and chilled, serve in individual bowls and let each person season their Cucumber Gazpacho, to taste, with additional herbs, salt, pepper, lime juice, and a splash of vinegar.
Below are a few additional guidelines to keep in mind when making a Cucumber Gazpacho (or any type of Gazpacho) so that you can play around with the different combos of veggies, herbs, seasonings, and even textures to find what you like.
A 1:2 ratio is OK too as the tomatoes are the key ingredient that adds sweetness and juice. Also, it’s good to use a variety of tomatoes for different colors and flavors.
It’s hard to go wrong with any combination of mint, basil, parsley, and cilantro but you can try other culinary herbs as well.
I used rice vinegar but you could use any type you want – apple cider, wine, sherry, champagne, etc.
I went without fruit (except for, of course, the tomatoes) but melon, watermelon, mangoes, and peaches are a fantastic addition too. A great example of a super sweet fruity Gazpacho is my Thai Mango Gazpacho recipe from my book, The Thai Soup Secret.
Some gazpachos are thoroughly blended into a thin soupy consistency and some aren’t blended at all, leaving it a chunky mixture. Personally, I prefer a 50-50 blend.
A cucumber tomato gazpacho is a great way to use the bounty of summer’s harvest, especially in August when cucumbers grow large and juicy, sweet tomatoes start to thrive.
Dice all veggies and herbs and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add in olive oil, vinegar and lemon or lime juice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Depending on how chunky or smooth you want your gazpacho, transfer 50% (for a chunkier consistency) up to 100% (for a smooth consistency) of mixture to a blender and blend well.
Serve in individual bowls and add any additional salt, pepper, lime or lemon juice and herbs, to taste.
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.