Summertime is gazpacho time

Summertime is gazpacho time

A cold soup that's refreshing on a hot day

Green Gazpacho (Photo by Jessica Grann)
Green Gazpacho (Photo by Jessica Grann)

Green gazpacho is refreshing on a hot summer day. Cold soups are generally underrated, and this is a tasty way to add one into your cooking rotation. It is incredibly nutrient-rich since it’s made almost entirely from leafy green spinach and herbs.

You can omit the yogurt and make this soup vegan, but it is delicious when made with plain Greek yogurt. While gazpacho is traditionally made with sherry vinegar (not sherry cooking wine) I’ve never been able to find kosher sherry vinegar, so I substitute rice wine vinegar, which has a similar acidity and flavor profile.

This recipe calls for half of a seeded jalapeno pepper, but the cucumber and herbs are so cooling to your palate that it won’t be too spicy when mixed.

This is a soup that I often make when I’m clearing out my fridge — I always have a bag of spinach that I meant to use but did not, a few scallions, some extra parsley and herbs from my kitchen garden. It takes fewer than 10 minutes to make and serves 4-6 people, more if using small bowls.

1 bag of washed spinach
1-2 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 large English cucumber
½ of a jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
4-5 whole scallions,
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup fresh parsley, leaves and stems
4-5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt (optional)
¼ cup water

I suggest using a blender to make this soup. There are a lot of leafy greens to break down, so you will most likely need to blend a portion of them at a time and then add more.

Put the jalapeno, garlic and scallions in the blender first and pulse a few times until they appear minced.

Add about 2 cups of spinach at a time, taking the lid off of the blender and adding more until it’s broken down.

Add the cucumber and blend on high for about 45 seconds. Add in about ¼ cup of water to the blender bowl, which is just enough liquid to help the ingredients come together.

Add the herbs and pulse again.

If making this with yogurt, add one whole large avocado to the bowl. If making it vegan, add two avocados. With the avocado, add 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Blend for 30 seconds.

If you’re using the yogurt, add it now and blend for one minute.

You can’t overmix this — you want it creamy and smooth.

Taste it to see if you need to add salt or another tablespoon of vinegar.

Turn the blender on and use the spout in the lid to drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. This adds a bit of richness and also helps to emulsify the soup so that it doesn’t separate after mixing. The olive oil also keeps the color bright. The soup has a beautiful color with or without the yogurt.

Refrigerate the soup for at least one hour before serving. I recommend refrigerating it in the blender with a lid so that you can easily pour it into small bowls when serving. It will hold in the fridge for 4-5 days, but it needs to be sealed well for storage in a glass jar with an airtight lid.

Enjoy and bless your hands! PJC

Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.

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