Summer Gazpacho

 
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I know summer’s juiciest Jersey tomatoes are still a few months away, but when I was doing some recipe testing for my QVC demo of the Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender, I couldn’t resist giving a gazpacho a whirl with it. Gazpacho is one of my go-to summer dishes for those hot summer nights when you just don’t feel like turning on the stove or oven. Super refreshing, super simple, and super healthy- you really can’t go wrong.

A lot of gazpacho recipes use a few pieces of day-old bread to thicken the soup, but I have always found I enjoy mine without the bread, and (win-win) without the added carbs. For me, it’s all about the type of tomatoes, vinegar and toppings you go with that can really change the flavor profile.

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For this one, I used a combination of beautiful red heirloom tomatoes and some grape tomatoes I had on hand for a little added sweetness. I added a red bell pepper, balsamic vinegar and topped with avocado and goat cheese crumbles. The creaminess of the avocado and goat cheese adds a little bit of decadence to a very light dish, which I love. The beauty of this dish is that the tomato base can act as a bit of a blank slate. I’ve added everything from watermelon (SO good topped with feta) to corn (seasoning the soup with a little smoked paprika). There are so many twists you can take! Would love to hear any ideas you have in the comments below. As my 3-year-old wished me the other day when we were enjoying the 80 degree temps, “Happy summertime”!

ingredients

2 lbs ripe tomatoes

1 medium-sized cucumber

1 red bell pepper

1 shallot

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup EVOO

salt & pepper to taste

1 avocado

1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

steps

1) Roughly chop all of the veggies, chopping the pepper slightly finer than the rest

2) Place the tomatoes in a large, high pot and use a hand blender or immersion blender to squash down and begin to work into a puree

3) Once the tomatoes begin to come together, add in the cucumber, red pepper, shallot and garlic and continue to work into a chunky puree with the blender

4) Kick up the blender speed as you go, once the mixture is getting smooth, add in the vinegar and EVOO

5) Salt and pepper the soup to taste and blend to desired consistency

6) Ladle into bowls and top with chopped avocado and crumbled goat cheese

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