Gazpacho is cool and filling

Susan M. Selasky / Detroit Free Press /

Published Aug 20, 2013 at 05:00AM

When it’s too hot to cook, an easy way to cool off is to sip some vegetables. And gazpacho, a chilled summertime soup, is just the ticket on a hot day.

This soup can be mighty good for you, too. You’ll get a dose of lycopene, an antioxidant known for its health benefits, from the tomatoes. Fiber is an added boost as are the vitamins from other vegetables, which count as at least one (or more) serving of vegetables.

It’s also a filling and satisfying soup.

Most gazpacho recipes are tomato-based (but you can make it with fruit). You can use fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes or you can roast tomatoes for a deeper flavor. Using cooked tomatoes ups the lycopene.

Today’s recipe is adapted from one in the August 2013 issue of Eating Well magazine.

It calls for a blend of low-sodium vegetable juice and diced tomatoes. If you use a good amount of regular tomato or vegetable juice, you can count on adding higher sodium. I prefer the low- or reduced-sodium juices so I can control the salt and other seasonings.

Some brands, including store brands, have reduced the sodium by as much as 70 percent.

With this recipe, I used a mix of low-sodium juice, canned tomatoes and a bit of freshly diced tomatoes.

One serving is a filling 1 1/2 cups.

Most classic versions of gazpacho call for soaking day-old bread in water, then squeezing out the liquid and blending the bread with the other ingredients.

“Bread is what makes gazpacho into a meal rather than just a sip,” writes Anya von Bremzen in “The New Spanish Table” (Workman, $22.95).

But this recipe is perfectly fine without the bread. It depends on the texture you want. I like the soup to have a bit of body and thickness — not thin like a broth — so I used bread. But I also like to serve a few slices of crusty baguette on the side. Serving this gazpacho with chunky bits of lobster is purely optional.

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