There’s something about the act of making gazpacho that makes me feel like I’m taking full advantage of summer. The chilled soup is definitely a constant on our family’s summer menu, simply because it combines the best of all worlds – it’s incredibly refreshing, packed with sun-grown produce, and such a breeze to make. Since I’m always feeling the urge to experiment in the kitchen, I try to switch up our gazpacho recipe pretty much every year. Some favorites have included this strawberry gazpacho, as well as ones made with tomatillos and watermelon. This summer, I’m all about this unexpected lentil version.
It might sound a bit strange to puree lentils into gazpacho, but I assure you that it makes for some seriously tasty and nourishing soup. Red lentils were basically made for gazpacho, not only because of their color, but also because they seamlessly blend in with the rest of the ingredients, while contributing some extra savoriness. Lentils also do a great job of making the soup more filling and satisfying, since they fall into the category of pulses (together with chickpeas, beans and dry peas), which are protein and fiber-packed little superfoods. We’ve been working with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada this year on creating some simple, weekday-friendly pulse recipes, as part of their Half-Cup Habit program. Making a habit of incorporating at least 1/2 cup of cooked pulses in your cooking a few days a week is a great idea, since you’ll end up with sustainable, nourishing and affordable meals. This gazpacho is a great place to start, as well as our White Bean ‘Tuna’ Sandwich, Smoky Chickpea Croutons, or any recipes on the Pulses website.
Hope you’ll give this gazpacho a try :)
- ½ cup red lentils - soaked overnight
- 3 garlic cloves - divided
- 1½ cups water
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- sea salt
- 3-5 large to medium heirloom tomatoes – roughly chopped
- 1 medium cucumber – peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper – seeded and roughly chopped, reserve some for garnish
- 1 small red chili pepper – seeded, or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup soft sun-dried tomatoes
- juice of 1 lemon
- freshly ground black pepper
- basil - for serving
- microgreens - for serving (optional)
- Drain and rinse the lentils. Smash 2 garlic cloves with the back of a knife and peel. Combine the lentils, garlic, water and bay leaves, if using, in a medium soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 5-7 minutes, or until lentils are soft and most of the water is absorbed. Add salt at the end and discard the bay leaves.
- Combine the lentils and cooked garlic, remaining raw garlic clove, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste in an upright blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt if needed. Chill very well before serving. Serve garnished with basil leaves, microgreens, if using, and the reserved chopped bell pepper.