10 August, 2018

Hot August Night – Tomato Vegetable Gazpacho

Hot August Night – Tomato Vegetable Gazpacho
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This soup is an oldie but a goodie – one that I used to make a long time ago in the early years of marriage. It is easy to make and budget friendly, which was as important in those days as it is today. I pulled this old recipe out of the archives, dusted it off, refreshed some of the ingredients and voila! A perfect gazpacho for a hot August night. 

There aren’t many photos of this soup because it’s basically chopping up a bunch of vegetables and throwing all the ingredients into a crockpot for a few hours (or instapot for 15 minutes). The beauty of this soup is that you can use about any vegetables you like or that are in season.

Originally (back in the 70’s) I made this soup with a can of french green beans and a can of bean sprouts as the main vegetable ingredients, which sounds rather odd, but it was surprisingly good. I was a young bride, and just working out my cooking skills. Luckily, the marriage survived and my cooking skills improved.  I still make the soup occasionally with the original ingredients (mostly in the winter) when my favorite summer vegetables are not available.

It’s a very economical soup to make because it uses a 46 ounce can of tomato juice (about $1.50) as the base. If making it with the original ingredients, a can of vegetables is about $1.00 (using 2-3 cans adds $2-3.00), or using fresh vegetables right out of the garden, or minimal cost at farmer’s market or grocery store, this soup can be made for under $5.00. And it makes a large pot of soup.

Side note: you know how grocery stores are shrinking packages of food items and selling them for the same amount of money, or more? Well, when I pulled this recipe out to make it, I went to the grocery store to buy a 48 ounce can of tomato juice. I looked at the can and it said 46 ounces. I looked at my recipe again and it said 48 ounces. I thought, ah ha! They (whoever “they” are) have shrunk the size of the tomato juice can down two ounces. I was all set to organize a movement to stop package shrinkage (you know it has happened to ice cream cartons – that’s a fact!) when I re-re-read the recipe, and it said a 46 ounce can of tomato juice. Well, I guess my vision isn’t as good as it used to be. Note to self: make appointment with optometrist. 

Today’s version of this gazpacho includes fresh vegetables such as carrots, celery, peas, and zucchini. Sometimes I use fresh green beans or broccoli, it just depends on what I have in the garden or fridge. It’s so easy to make your own version with the vegetables you love.

Although I call this a gazpacho (cold soup) it can be eaten hot too. The secret is to make it a day ahead so all the flavors get a chance to marry together. You’ll really notice an improved flavor eating it a day after it is made. That is, if you can wait a day. I have to taste test a bowl before putting it in the fridge, just because it’s sooo good. 

And it’s healthy too! Only about 95 calories per cup.

Leave it chunky or swirl soup in a blender for a smoother texture. A great starter soup for a several course meal, or light dinner fare with a salad and nice slice of bread. 

Tomato Vegetable Gazpacho Recipe

Ingredients

  • 46 oz can tomato juice
  • 1 4 oz can chopped chilies
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 medium celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 chicken or beef bouillon cube
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or basil chopped
  • Optional: sprinkle grated parmesan before serving

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients (except garnish and parmesan cheese) in crockpot or large pan.
  2. Cook 4 hours (crockpot) or on low in a big pot until the tomato juice reduces and thickens.
  3. Serve hot or cold.

Option: garnish with chopped parsley or basil, and sprinkle with grated parmesan.

TIP: Make a day ahead if possible, it’s even better tasting the next day. 

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