This cold summer soup is #1 for getting in multiple servings of fresh, nutrient rich vegetable and herbs. Usually, I only make gazpacho for special occasions, it requires measuring and blending lots of veggies, tweaking to get the flavors just right.
Then I found this shortcut so I can have it anytime in a flash. I am sure I am not the first person to use a pre-made mixed veggie juice as the base. (I use the spicy Knudsen variety called “Very Veggie”.)
In my past life as a chef, just the thought of using a premade base would have shamed me. It took necessity, hunger, and a bowl full of fresh veggies perfect for gazpacho to even consider this route!
First of all, chill the juice – a 32oz bottle will make 4 generous servings. (Remember to buy your juices in glass to avoid the hormone disrupting BPA that leaches out of the plastic.)
Then gather whatever assortment of fresh summer veg and herbs you happen to have on hand. You can easily make this for 4 people, or just for yourself.
5-Minute Gazpacho – serves 1 – 4
1 32oz jar Knudsen Very Veggie Juice, Spicy – chilled
1 avocado – ripe but firm
1 ear of sweet corn – kernels removed
1 small cucumber and/or zucchini
red and/or green pepper
2-4 T red onion – minced
1/4 cup fresh herbs – chopped – basil, dill, chives, parsley, lovage, summer savory etc…
pumpkin or sunflower seeds to garnish – either raw or dry roasted (don’t get oil roasted nuts or seeds – that fat is not your friend.)
optional – for a protein pick up you can add a BPA free can of garbanzo or white beans (drain them first :))
The thing that makes this so quick is that the veggie juice already has the seasoning figured out with just the right amount of vinegar and spices. All you need to do is:
- chop the veggies into bite size pieces, finely chop the onion and herbs, and toss them together (you want to end up with 3-4 cups if this is a one bowl meal for 4, less if it’s a quick lunch or dinner for one)
- pour the juice into individual bowls, top with the veggie mix
- garnish with the seeds
- eat with gusto
Toasted seeds are the best alternative to croutons that I know. So crunchy, so satisfying, so good for you. The problem is it can be hard to find seeds that haven’t been roasted in unhealthy oils and then slathered with way too much salt and preservatives.
Raw seeds are good also, and have their own unique flavor and bite. They are little packets of protein, fat and fiber, with lots of minerals and antioxidants that are especially good for you. Deep frying them in oil damages their good qualities and adds unhealthy fats. That is why dry roasted nuts are better.
So, if you can’t find dry roasted seeds, and you are longing for that distinctive nutty crunch, here’s how you do it:
1. heat up a frying pan or cast iron skillet over a medium or medium-low flame
2. add 2 cups of raw seeds – pumpkin or sunflower work best for gazpacho
3. stir every so often until they are golden brown and fragrant – the trick here is to have the flame low enough so they toast slowly, without burning, but not so low that they take forever. It usually takes about 5-10 minutes for this part.
If you want a little saltiness:
1. add 1 T soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos, stir well, and turn the flame to low
2. stir occasionally until they are perfectly dry
3. store in a glass jar with a tight seal for 2-4 weeks, although I am sure they will be eaten before then!
I always have a jar of these around to garnish soups and salads, or for a quick snack.