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 tomato gazpacho ebbs its way into my summer soup rotation.
Gazpacho is the consummate soup to make use of the bounty of late summer’s harvest. This includes not just cucumbers and tomatoes but things like peppers, onions, garlic, jalapenos, parsley, basil and mint.
For me, gazpacho has been a bit of a revelation because I never liked tomatoes until recently. They 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 juicy heirloom tomatoes. I’m talking brilliant orange sungolds 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 summer time of year when there are so many options for using them, like in a cucumber tomato gazpacho!
Though I have my exact recipe below, first, here’s a few guidelines to keep in mind when making a cucumber tomato 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 the sweetness and juice. Also, it’s good to use a variety of tomatoes for different colors and flavors.
This could include celery, fennel, peppers, spicy peppers like jalapenos, red onion and garlic. Here’s everything I used:
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. Check out my Thai mango gazpacho from my book, The Thai Soup Secret, for a great example of a super sweet fruity gazpacho.
Some gazpachos are thoroughly blended into a thin soupy consistency and some aren’t blended at all, leaving it as a chunky mixture. Personally, I prefer a 50-50 blend. I’ll take half the mixture, blend it in my Nutribullet and then mix the blended and unblended portions together. You can get a good sense of this in the cover pic at the top of the post.
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.