I loved all the gazpacho I had when I lived in Europe. Gazpacho is a traditional, chilled soup - typically with a tomato base. My easy, summer gazpacho recipe is vegan, gluten-free, packed with flavor and the perfect make-ahead meal. Oh, it's also super versatile and comes together in 20 minutes (minus the chilling time). So it's really perfect for all your BBQ needs. Ready?!
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. But if you're in a rush, please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end!
🍅 Gazpacho Ingredients
Traditionally, this recipe typically uses tomatoes, mild onions, garlic, sherry vinegar, bread (crust removed), cucumbers and long green peppers (think Anaheim or Serrano) blended together with extra virgin olive oil. I am deathly allergic to cucumbers, and don't really like the texture of bread So, I've modified my recipe to avoid those two and instead added in some basil, and cumin for flavor.
Gazpacho (and most other Mediterranean dishes) are really all about that ingredients. Therefore, getting the highest quality gazpacho ingredients you can afford would be great. Some specific ingredient tips below.
Use heirloom or vine tomatoes, and pick the ripe ones. Traditional recipes tend to veer towards Roma tomatoes. I've found that vine tomatoes typically pack a heftier punch. Pick the freshest tomatoes you can find, and you won't regret it. And if possible, buy organic.
You don't need to peel tomatoes, however removing the seeds is helpful (but save the seeds for garnish!) And speaking of garnish, cherry tomatoes make an excellent cherry on top - see what I did there? If it's not the summer? Use canned San Marzano tomatoes. I know, blasphemous, don't hate me - but it works better than really watery non-summer tomatoes. Sorry, not sorry.
Pick a mild onion (shallots or Vidalia onions). This simple gazpacho is a raw soup, and you really want to have an explosion of onion blow out all the other flavors. I typically prefer to use Vidalia onions or shallots. They add a delicious bit of flavor without overpowering the dish. If you can't find those, buy sweet yellow onions, and soak them in cold water for 10 minutes to take the bite out. Better yet, soak it in citrus!
Use extra virgin olive oil and avoid light olive oil. I've found that lighter olive oils tend to leave a more "bitter" aftertaste. So try to use fresh extra virgin olive oil whenever possible.
Substitute sherry vinegar with apple cider vinegar. I typically use dark vinegar in this recipe. I love sherry vinegar (and think it produces the most authentic gazpacho). However, apple cider vinegar tends to do the trick just the same and are easier to find. You can also just add a small amount of sherry wine into the recipe.
Use a clove of garlic or half a teaspoon of minced garlic. If you'd prefer milder flavors, substitute with garlic powder instead.
Cautiously season with spices. I use two key "flavors" in this recipe - cumin, which is traditional to the Andalusian version, and a basil chiffonade (i.e. super finely chopped basil). Of course, salt and a good dash of pepper. However, I recommend tasting as you season to your taste.
👩🏽🍳 Troubleshooting and tips
You can make your gazpacho either smooth or chunky
Traditional gazpacho is made with a mortar and pestle, and bread is used to provide body to the soup. However, both smooth and chunky versions are totally acceptable. I cheat a bit and go somewhere in the middle. While I like a bit of texture, I don't want bits and pieces in my soup. I first chop everything finely and set aside a small bowl worth (exact measurements in the recipe card!). Then, I blend the rest into oblivion. So, I get texture but it's mostly smooth.
You can make it easier on yourself. Just dump all the ingredients into a nice blender (I have a Vitamix A3500 which is a beast). Then blitz it into a nice #VitamixGazpacho (this post isn't sponsored, I just thought that was funny).
Don't add water or tomato cocktail - add olive oil instead!
Several recipes call for this to make the soup more fluid. However, I've found that it severely waters down the flavors. Summer tomatoes are super flavorful and delicious (especially when they are grown in your backyard). And a generous amount of olive oil helps ensure that the final result is velvety and delicious.
It tastes even better as it ages, just like wine!
I try to make the soup at least an hour before I have to serve it - ideally two. This really allows the flavors to blend together. I store gazpacho in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and it's gotten better over time. Wait to add the olive oil drizzle and garnishes at the end. Makes it a little more fresh!
🥣 Serving and storage suggestions
I love to garnish my gazpacho with some sliced cherry tomatoes, the tomato seeds, thinly chopped basil (chiffonade) and an extra drizzle of olive oil with some fresh black pepper. You can add feta cheese, avocados, Marcona almonds, and boiled eggs (if you're not vegan). I've also seen some folks add a tiny bit of sour cream to give it a creamier, smooth finish.
I portion my gazpacho into small mason jars (plastic tends to get stained when I store tomatoes in them!). Then I put them in the fridge for a couple of days when I want a refreshing make-ahead lunch in the summertime. You can also freeze it. But, here are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to go this route.
- Freeze them in individual portions, ideally in glass containers (like mason jars). Leave an inch of room on top - they tend to expand
- If you pureed it smoothly, you can freeze as-is. Cucumbers and bread don't freeze too well. High water content = ice crystals = not delicious. My recipe, as written, doesn't have either of those ingredients, so I found it freezes quite well - up to 2 months.
Once you're ready to eat them, if you've frozen it, leave it out to thaw (typically overnight). Then give it a good stir, top with some fresh garnishes and you're good to go. Try to only thaw the portion you're eating. I don't recommend thawing and refreezing this recipe
But it's super easy to just get carried away and make a huge batch of this recipe (🙋🏽 guilty). If you also did that, and don't want to freeze it, don't worry! You can reuse leftover gazpacho in SO many ways.
- Turn it into salsa. I love adding some chopped red onions, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro and giving it a good stir. If you want a more chunky texture, add some finely chopped tomatoes (without seeds)
- Make chili or stew. The possibilities are endless with this one. Literally, you can add beans, vegetables, and even rice and throw it in a slow cooker or Instant Pot and make a nice vegan chili.
- Make a smoothie. Add some avocado, and any other fruits of your choice and make the most delicious smoothie.
- Make ... Nigerian jollof. I know, my partner's family is about to disown me. But seriously, Nigerian jollof rice is a one-pot, stewed tomato and pepper rice, and it's super flavorful. Add some red peppers to gazpacho along with curry powder and bouillon. Then add some stock, bring to a boil, and cook rice in it.
If you like this recipe, you'll like these other summer recipes too:
The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gazpacho
- Food Processor or Blender
- 2 lb tomatoes, heirloom or vine tomatoes preferred
- ½ onion, Vidalia or shallots preferred, medium size
- 1 Anaheim pepper or cubanelle , substitute with jalapeno or Serrano for spicier version - avoid green bell peppers if possible
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, use sherry for a more traditional flavor
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp basil, finely chopped or chiffonade
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, avoid lighter versions - use the highest quality you can afford + more for garnish (optional)
- Finely chop the tomatoes and remove seeds - reserve about ⅓ cup in a small bowl, add the rest to blender. Note: reserve seeds for garnish!
- Chop the other vegetables (onions, peppers) - reserve about ¼ cup of finely chopped veggies, and add rest to the blender
- Roll about 5-6 basil leaves and chop them finely - save a few for garnish and toss the rest into the blender
- Add apple cider vinegar, ground cumin, olive oil, and garlic into the blender
- Blend on high until the soup is very smooth
- Add the saved tomatoes, onions and peppers to the bottom of a bowl, and pour the rest of the soup on top - add salt and mix well
- Throw this in the fridge for at least an hour to chill
- Pour the mixed soup into a small glass or bowl, garnish with tomatoes, extra drizzle of olive oil, basil, and some fresh black pepper!
- You can either make this soup chunky or smooth - the recipe as written is for a chunkier version with some texture. If you want it more smooth, just add all the tomatoes, onions and peppers into the blender and smoothly blend it!
- Other garnishes include avocados, feta cheese, Marcona almonds, and even boiled eggs (if you're not vegan)
- The quality of the ingredients really matter for this recipe - check out the post for tips on ingredients!
- I like to chill this soup for at least an hour before serving - but there are some parts of Spain where it's not served cold. I recommend chilling, but it's up to you!