Around this time each year, our meal plans are dictated by what is ripe in our garden. It’s kind of like having a grocery store in my back yard. A totally awesome and free grocery store! From our harvest this morning, we ended up with most of the ingredients needed to make a tasty batch of gazpacho. In fact, the only vegetable not from our garden was the red bell pepper.
Look up a recipe for gazpacho online, and they are all pretty much the same. The same basic ingredients and steps. Simple recipes that let the true flavor of the veggies shine. Over breakfast this morning, I had a simple idea of how to change-up my gazpacho. A way to kick up the delicious flavor of our fresh ingredients. Let’s roast the veggies first, I told Matt. He agreed that it sounded great, knowing full well that he is the designated roaster in this house, and that he’d be the one standing over the grill on a hot day. He’s a pretty nice husband.
We roasted, we blended, we seasoned, we chilled, we enjoyed.
Roasted Vegetable Gazpacho
1 small head of garlic or use two to three individual cloves of garlic (it’s easier to roast the entire head of garlic than individual cloves)
1 medium zucchini, sliced in half
1/2 red onion
2 pounds tomatoes (I used a mixture of sizes and varieties because that’s what we had in our garden.)
1 red bell pepper
1 medium cucumber
2 tablespoons vinegar (Use your favorite. I used a basil vinegar that I bought from the farmers market.)
1 tablespoon salt
Over low grill heat, roast all of the veggies except the cucumber. The veggies will be done when the pepper skin starts to bubble and the tomato skin splits. This should take around 20 minutes.
While the other vegetables are roasting, peel and chop the cucumber into a small dice. Once the vegetables are done, remove them from the grill and cut off any bad parts. I cut the stem and core off the red pepper, I cut the stem off the jalapenos, and I cored the large tomato. I didn’t bother to core the smaller tomatoes or remove the seeds from the jalapenos. Chop the zucchini, onion, jalapenos and larger tomatoes into smaller pieces. Remove the garlic cloves from the paper skin. Be careful, as all of these ingredients will be hot to touch. Once all of your veggies are roasted and prepped, you’re ready to blend.
The easiest way to do this is in a food processor because you have better control of how smooth your soup ends up. Put the veggies and any juices that have escaped in the food processor and pulse away until you get to a consistency that you like. This is entirely subjective, so feel free to make it as smooth or chunky as you’d like. You may have to process your veggies in a few batches.
I pulsed my vegetables in two batches. When the first batch was done I put it in a bowl while I processed the second batch. When the second batch was done, I added the first batch back into the food processor and pulsed a few more times to mix them together. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times to ensure you get all of the veggies the same size. Add the salt and vinegar to the mixture and pulse one or two more times to mix it all together. Pour it all in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
The longer this soup sits, the more the flavors meld together. Long chill time = tasty soup.