My mom introduced our family to Classic Gazpacho back in the 1970’s. It became a summer favorite topped with cucumbers, peppers and buttery homemade croutons!
This traditional gazpacho recipe is a cold summer tomato soup that hails from the region of Andalusia in Spain.
Classic Gazpacho with Homemade Croutons
I fell in love with this refreshing, cold soup as a child. My first taste of a classic gazpacho was in a Swiss restaurant (weird, eh?) in Aspen, Colorado. My dad studied at the Physics Institute there for a couple weeks each summer…at least on those days when he wasn’t scaling some mountain…and my family enjoyed the quaint, Victorian ski town before it became so chic.
We’d spend our days hiking or parked outside the music tent listening to the daily practices or, if we were lucky, my mom would treat us to lunch. My sisters and I would be on our best behavior, and we got tastes of exotic dishes that weren’t so prevalent our Midwest college hometown. It may have been at Guido’s where we all oohed and ahhed over our first tastes of this Spanish soup.
What Makes a Classic Gazpacho Recipe?
Gazpacho comes from the Andalusia region of Spain, though different regions have developed their own twists. Though there are zillions of gazpacho recipes out there, the true, classic gazpacho recipe has these traditional elements:
- Tomatoes–Vine ripe or garden tomatoes preferred, but a good quality canned tomato will do in a pinch
- Green Pepper–though I prefer red, green is traditional and offers a stronger flavor
- Onion—the piquant tones are needed
- Cucumber—I like to use an English cucumber so as to eliminate then need to remove the seeds
- Vinegar—red wine or sherry
- Olive oil—it adds a certain richness and mouthfeel
- Bread—I’ve never blended bread into my gazpacho, but it does help to thicken the soup. I like my bread as crunchy croutons.
- Water or Tomato Juice–definitely debatable whether either are traditional, but they work well to thin your gazpacho
You can see why classic gazpacho is often referred to as a liquid salad! Packed full of delicious vegetables, it’s the perfect mid-summer lunch or a refreshing addition to any meal, whether a grilled steak or sandwich. Check out my Wazpacho for a twist on this classic. This Mango Gazpacho offers another terrific fruity twist and this Beet Gazpacho is stunning!
Cold Summer Soup
Shortly after, my mom recreated this cold, tomato soup at home. Back then, my favorite elements were the slightly salty croutons which she made by sautéing cubes of a baguette in butter. But now a combination of the veggie garnish with the slightly spicy tomato puree is what I consider pure bliss.
I’ve updated my mom’s classic gazpacho recipe by adding a wee bit of hot sauce, and switching out the red wine vinegar for champagne vinegar, only because I had a higher quality version of the latter in my pantry. Sherry vinegar is a great option, too. I hope this traditional gazpacho recipe will become a new summer favorite for you, too.
More Recipes You’ll Love:
- Cold Melon-Berry Soup
- Bacon Corn Chowder
- Gazpacho Shooters
- Rustic Farro Soup
- Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Soup
- More Soup Recipes
- 1 pound can of tomatoes (or fresh peeled and seeded garden tomatoes)
- 20 ounces tomato juice
- 1/2 cucumber, chopped
- 1/4 green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Diced cucumbers, bell peppers, homemade croutons
- Diced cucumbers, bell peppers, homemade croûtons to garnish (sauté bread cubes in butter until browned)
- Add all ingredients, except garnishes, to blender or food processor. Puree. Chill. Serve cold with diced veggies and croutons.
!Adapted from my mom's recipe
To make homemade croutons, saute bread cubes in a combination of butter and olive oil with a sprinkle of salt.
Old photo from early blog days, circa 2011