Originating in Spain and a dietary staple in many Mediterranean countries, gazpacho is the ultimate summer soup—easy to make, easy to store, refreshing, and delicious served cold right from the refrigerator. What’s more, its six main ingredients – tomatoes, olive oil, cucumbers, red bell peppers, onions and garlic – offer a number of health benefits. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases found that regular gazpacho consumption could lower blood pressure significantly, despite the fact that most recipes contain salt. The researchers speculated that the main ingredients might counteract the salt’s negative effects.
Another ingredient, tomatoes, contain carotenoids, antioxidants that are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are important for eye health and may prevent cataracts and other diseases that affect the eyes.
Antioxidant-rich food may offer a protective benefit against cancer and improve cardiovascular health.
Traditional gazpacho preparation can be time-consuming and messy. However, with a blender or food processor, you can do it in about 10-20 minutes with minimal mess and hassle, making it perfect for any weekend lunch, first course, light summer meal, or mid-afternoon snack!
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled (6 to 7)
3 to 4 cups tomato juice or 1 22-ounce can plum tomatoes and 6 ounces tomato juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small onion, chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Submerge tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute; remove and peel.
2. Blend together all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
3. Chill for several hours if possible. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
(The soup will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.)