A thing I learned this year that I can’t believe I didn’t know before is that traditional Andalusian gazpacho recipes include bread, which gets blended (originally pounded in a mortar and pestle) into the soup. Making gazpacho this way was definitely a revelation, since it comes out so silky, rich, and astoundingly flavorful considering the modest amount of ingredients involved. There’s a seemingly never-ending heat wave happening where we are, and cold soups are all I want. To make the gazpacho into a little more of a meal, I often serve it with a few spoonfuls of red lentils, which I generally prepare on the spicy and salty side. They sort of take the place of croutons in my mind, though more nourishing and flavorful. A bowl like that, garnished with basil and maybe some yogurt is so perfectly satisfying on a summer night. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well!
P.S. For a variation on this theme, check out our Red Lentil Gazpacho from a few years ago.
- about 6 small-medium tomatoes (1½-2 lbs) - cored and quartered
- 1 red bell pepper - seeded and roughly chopped
- 3-4 slices day old bread - crust removed (about 4-5 oz without crust)
- 1 clove garlic - roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
- small handful of basil, plus more for serving
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- sea salt
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup red lentils
- Combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, bread, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper to taste in an upright blender. Blend until very smooth. If all your ingredients don't fit in the blender, quickly pulse up just the vegetables, which will make room for the rest of the ingredients. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if needed. Optionally, strain the gazpacho through a fine mesh strainer for an extra silky texture. Transfer the soup to a container, cover and put in the refrigerator to cool very well for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve cold as is or garnished with yogurt, basil, and/or the spicy red lentils.
- Heat a medium pot over medium heat and add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute for 7 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika and saute for another minute, until fragrant. Add the lentils, 1½ cups of water, and more salt to taste. Bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, stirring periodically, until the lentils are cooked through but still al dente in parts. Let cool a bit and either serve the lentils on the gazpacho warm, at room temperature, or cold out of the refrigerator - all three ways taste great.