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Fresh Summertime Gazpacho

Veg for gazpacho

Gazpachos are delicious cold vegetable soups. Many traditional Spanish gazpacho recipes call for bread as a thickener. This recipe does not. This is a classic Andalusian gazpacho made with a myriad of ripe summer vegetables. Here's what you'll need and how to put it together*:

* 1 large cucumber

* 1 large green bell pepper

* 1 large red bell pepper

* 1 medium red, white or yellow onion

* 1/2 cup minced parsley or cilantro

* 2 1/2 pounds vine-ripe red tomatoes

* 1/2 pound yellow tomatoes (optional)

Peel cucumber and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Chop finely and place into a medium-sized glass bowl. Cut stems from bell peppers and remove seeds and membrane. Chop finely and add to bowl. Remove papery skin from onion. Finely chop onion and add to bowl. Add minced parsley or cilantro. Remove stems from tomatoes, cut in half, and scoop out seeds. Chop fine and add to bowl. Gently stir in:

* 1 cup tomato or mixed vegetable juice

* 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

* 3 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin works best)

* 3 cloves minced garlic

* Sea salt to taste

Stir gently until veggies and liquids are well-distributed. Put in refrigerator and chill at least two hours. Serve in well-chilled bowls. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream (or non-fat plain yoghurt) and a sprig of parsley or cilantro. If you serve the gazpacho buffet-style, nest the serving bowl into a larger bowl filled with crushed ice. Classic gazpacho should be served very cold.

*If you prefer to use your food processor, be sure to only finely chop the veggies. Do not puree. Do not add the juice mixture to the processor. Do the final mixing in a medium-sized glass serving bowl.


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