By Dr. Mercola
Gazpacho is an authentic Mediterranean dish that originates from the southern Spanish region of Andalusia and is a classic meal staple, especially during hot summer seasons.
Usually served cold, this tomato-based recipe is an instant feast to the eyes with its chockfull of colorful vegetable ingredients. Although there are many varieties of gazpacho soup, depending on the region, the most popular and traditional way to make it involves pounding and pureeing the vegetables using a mortar and pestle to create a smooth consistency and avoid foaming.
But to add a little twist and to make my gazpacho soup recipe chunkier and tastier, I’m going to skip that process and introduce some new ingredients. Check out my Fresh and Chunky Gazpacho recipe:
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded
- ²?3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons horseradish
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
For the garnish:
- ¼ cup plain yogurt or plain non-fat yogurt
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ avocado, chopped
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the items for garnishing.
- Cover and chill at least two hours, or overnight.
- Serve in chilled bowls and top each serving with a dollop of yogurt, two tablespoons of cilantro, and a few avocado pieces.
Fresh and Chunky Gazpacho Preparation Tips
Make your chunky gazpacho soup even more delicious and nutritious with these practical tips:
- Don’t use canned tomatoes, as they typically have a lining that contains bisphenol-A (BPA), which is a potent endocrine-disrupting chemical that has been linked to a number of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, neurological effects, and reproductive problems.
- Use organic tomatoes. Research shows they contain 55 percent more vitamin C and 139 percent more total phenolic content at the stage of commercial maturity compared to conventionally grown tomatoes.1
- Consume your tomatoes with a healthy fat like coconut oil or olive oil, which is what we used in this recipe, because the lycopene in them is a fat-soluble nutrient.
- Do not refrigerate your tomatoes. If a tomato gets too cold, not only will its flavor be affected but also its texture, color, and ripening potential. Allowing your tomatoes to ripen naturally on your countertop will bring out the best in them in terms of taste and flavor.
- Avoid using aluminum cookware or utensils when cooking tomatoes. This is to prevent the aluminum from leaching into your dish and to prevent your tomatoes from fading, getting bitter, and discoloring your cookware because of their high acid content.
- Add a sprinkle of salt, sugar, or some grated carrot to bring out the flavor in overly acidic tomatoes.2
- Choose organic, fresh, firm, and green cucumbers with no hint of bruising or discoloration. Avoid those that are mushy, shriveled, discolored, or without their skin intact.
- Store cucumbers in a plastic bag or original packaging in the refrigerator for up to one week. Wash and scrub them gently before use.3
- Scrub with a stiff brush and peel off its dark skin before using.4
- Chop or grate horseradish finely to stimulate a stronger flavor.
- When serving horseradish, do not use silver to avoid tarnishing reactions.
- Never vigorously stir, whisk, or beat yogurt. Instead, fold it into your recipes to maintain its rich and creamy consistency. Over-stirring may cause it to break down and thin out. 5
- Do not use aluminum pans when preparing anything with yogurt, as the acid in it will react with the metal.
- Buy non-pasteurized yogurt made from raw milk from grass-fed cows to ensure its probiotic benefits.
Why Is Fresh and Chunky Gazpacho Good for You?
What I like most about this scrumptious gazpacho soup recipe is that its preparation process doesn’t involve any form of heating, which could potentially diminish its nutrient content. That’s on top of the exciting health benefits from all its fresh and colorful vegetable ingredients.
For example, tomatoes are rich in flavonoids and other phytochemicals that have anti-carcinogenic properties. They’re also an excellent source of lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, which is most concentrated in the jelly-like substance that surrounds the seeds, as well as vitamins A, E and B-complex vitamins, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. Other lesser known phytonutrients found in tomatoes include:
- Flavonols – rutin, kaempferol, and quercetin
- Flavonones – naringenin and chalconaringenin
- Hydroxycinnamic acids – caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and coumaric acid
- Glycosides – esculeoside A
- Fatty acid derivatives – 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid
Plus, cucumbers are excellent sources of beneficial vitamins and minerals, such as:
- Bone-building manganese
- Heart-healthy potassium and magnesium
- Anti-inflammatory vitamin K
- Infection-fighting vitamin C
- Energy-producing pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
In addition, recent studies show that cucumbers contain powerful lignans, which are unique polyphenols usually found in crucifers and alliums like cabbage and onions, that bind with estrogen-related bacteria in the digestive tract, contributing to a reduced risk of several cancers, including breast, uterus, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Another cancer-fighting phytonutrient in cucumbers are called cucurbitacins, which are part of a larger group known as triterpenes.
Meanwhile, perhaps due to their intense colors and flavors, bell peppers were also found to be packed with:
Studies by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed that the vitamin K (phylloquinone) content in bell peppers, including hot varieties, may affect blood coagulation and may also play a role in protecting against osteoporosis, since patients with reduced bone density show lower levels of this nutrient. Interestingly enough, sautéed peppers contain higher amounts of vitamin K than raw peppers.
Onions, on the other hand, which are one of my most highly recommended vegetables, are abundant in an antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin, which has proven anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic functions.