Monday, July 6, 2020

Cool Refreshing Gazpacho

I enjoy Gazpacho.  It is great on these hot, steamy humid days with a lovely glass of rosé or Albariño. I often see it on the menu and I'm usually disappointed when I order it, like last night.  I like mine to have a little bit of chunkiness to it. However, it is usually all pureed. I understand because it is easier just to puree it all instead of chopping and dicing.

Gazpacho is a traditional dish from Spain that spread to Portugal and Latin America.  They all have their own variations with adding bread or avocados and even omitting the tomatoes and having more fruit-based like watermelon.  They traditionally use a mortar and pestle instead of a blender of food processor, which cause the puree to foam a bit, and a sieve for the tomatoes to get the seeds out. 
It is great summer soup because it is a soup served cold and the acidity of the tomatoes add to the refreshingness of it.  There is some prep work with dicing and chopping.  Or you can just throw it all in the food processor until completely pureed.  Your choice and it is worth it either way!
To make the soup as rich and flavorful as you can, use fresh tomatoes from your own tomato plants or gather some up at a wonderful local farmers' market.  Canned tomatoes can be more flavorful than many fresh ones you buy in your regular supermarket.  Check out this article on tomatoes.  Letting it sit longer also enhances the flavor of the soup, a minimum of 2 hours but t is still spectacular days down the road.
Visit That's Vegetarian?!  to prepare any one of the dishes and you'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!" 

Gazpacho 
1/2c Celery, chopped
1 Red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 Red onion, chopped
1 Garlic clove, chopped
1 Cucumber, peeled and chopped
2t Hot pepper such as jalapeno, Anaheim, or Serrano, chopped
1/2c Cilantro, chopped + 12 stems for garnish
5 Tomatoes, chopped
2c Tomato juice
1 can Tomatoes, diced
1 Avocado, cubed (opt)
2T White wine vinegar
1T avocado oil or olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lime wedged
Mix the celery, peppers, onion, garlic, cucumber, cilantro, and 3 of the chopped tomatoes in a large bowl. Using a regular or immersion blender or a food processor, puree the can of tomatoes. Add half of the veggie mixture to the pureed tomatoes and pulse about 5 times for 3-5 seconds each time. Add the remaining mixture and pulse another five times. Continue to blend until you get your desired texture. Pour into a bowl and mix in the tomato juice, remaining chopped tomatoes, vinegar and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight. 

Serve with cilantro, lime wedge, avocado and/or cucumber slices.

Serving size 1 cup
Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Watermelon Mint Salad with Vegan Option


It's hot across the county.  We could all use refreshing food to help 'cool the hot'.  The Watermelon Mint Salad does just that!  

The watermelon is cool, juicy and crisp.  The mint is refreshing.  The optional feta cheese adds a little bite and salt. Fig balsamic vinegar mixed with the blood orange olive oil drizzled over the top just creates a smooth, tangy finish. Add a little bitterness with some arugula.

I hope you love this combination as much as I have so far this summer.  I think I have made it at least 4 or 5 times already!!
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1 T Blood orange olive oil (or other favorite olive oil)
1 T Fig balsamic vinegar (or other balsamic vinegar)
2 T Watermelon juice (you get this as you cut the watermelon)
6 c Watermelon, 1/2” cubes seeded
2 t Mint chopped (Basil worked too!)
5 oz Arugula (optional variation)
3 oz Feta (omit for vegan or add a vegan cheese)
Mint sprigs for garnish

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and watermelon juice for about a minute.  Pour over the watermelon. Add feta, arugula and mint. Toss. Finish with mint sprigs. Chill. This is so yummy!!!!

Prep Time: 10 min
Serves 6



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