By Vanessa Greaves

What is Gazpacho?

Fresh, cold gazpacho is an ideal way to taste the peak of summer without heating up your kitchen. All the intense flavors, aromas, and colors of the season's best produce are delivered to your senses in one light, simple, no-cook bowl of chilled soup. I'll give you quick tips for making the best gazpacho and share easy, top-rated recipes to try.

Pictured: Quick and Fresh Gazpacho | Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

Tips to Make the Best Gazpacho

Originating from the Andalusia region of southern Spain, gazpacho is traditionally made from a mixture of puréed tomatoes and other ingredients such as cucumber, sweet bell peppers, onions, garlic, and olive oil. But you can also make fruit-based gazpacho with melons, or cucumber-based gazpacho. Like so many homegrown recipes, there's no one right way to make gazpacho, and there are as many variations as there are seeds in a tomato. Here's are 7 quick tips to make the best-tasting gazpacho.

1. For tomato-based gazpacho, use the sweetest, ripest, tomatoes you can find even if it means waiting until July or August to make gazpacho.

2. Remove tomato skins and seeds before making gazpacho. An easy way to do this with large tomatoes is to cut an x in the stem end of the tomato and lower it into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Lift it out and plunge it immediately into a bowl of cold water. The extreme change in temperature will help the skin slip off easily. To remove the seeds, cut the tomato in half and gently squeeze out the seeds.

3. Know your cucumbers. Gazpacho recipes often include English cucumbers as an ingredient. English cucumbers have thin peels that aren't as bitter as conventional cucumbers, so they don't have to be peeled.

4. Gazpacho can be as smooth or as chunky as you like. For semi-smooth gazpacho, chop all the ingredients into a fine dice, then purée half of the mixture and return it to the soup.

5. Taste and adjust seasonings after chilling and before serving.

6. It might be tempting to eat your gorgeous gazpacho right after you make it, but do let it rest in the fridge for an hour or more to let the flavors develop. Be sure to serve it ice-cold.

7. Depending on your recipe, garnish gazpacho right before serving with fresh herbs, sour cream, crème fraîche, olive oil, toasted nuts, bits of reserved chopped vegetables or fruit, or even cold poached shrimp for extra flavor, texture, eye-appeal, or heartiness.

How to Make Gazpacho

VIDEO:Chef John's Gazpacho

Watch as Chef John shows you how to make gazpacho with ripe summer tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, green onion, jalapeño pepper, garlic, herbs, and spices. It takes only minutes to make, but you'll want to chill the gazpacho in the fridge for 2 hours before serving so the flavors can blossom.

5 Kinds of Gazpacho to Try

1. Classic Gazpacho: Southern Spain-Style Gazpacho

In this traditional gazpacho recipe, vine-ripened tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are blended with heady garlic and rich olive oil. Crusty bread sneaks in there as well to add body and texture to the mix. The prep takes only 20 minutes, but you'll let the soup rest in the fridge for at least an hour as the flavors meld into summer's best soup. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and more olive oil before serving.

Southern Spain-Style Gazpacho | Photo by Meredith

2. Low-Carb Gazpacho: Quick and Fresh Gazpacho

There's no bread in this version, and the soup goes straight from blender to bowl without taking a rest in the fridge. Some reviewers blended only half the ingredients to give the gazpacho a chunkier texture, and some used lemon juice in the mix instead of vinegar. It's all good.

3. Seafood Lover's Gazpacho: Shrimp Gazpacho

Breaking from gazpacho tradition, this cold soup uses tomato and clam juice cocktail for its base. You'll add chopped avocado, cucumber, onion, fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, and cilantro for texture and flavor. What about the shrimp? You can add it to the gazpacho or serve it over the top.

Shrimp Gazpacho | Photo by Meredith

4. Cucumber Gazpacho: Green Gazpacho

This gorgeous soup gets its color from cucumber, avocado, and honeydew melon. Onion, garlic, and jalapeño pepper add an unmistakable kick. And to balance things out, you've got lime juice and white balsamic vinegar.

Green Gazpacho | Photo by MrsFisher0729

5. Fresh & Fruity Gazpacho: Julia's Watermelon Gazpacho

No tomatoes in this version. Instead, you'll taste watermelon, cucumbers, sweet red bell peppers, mint, ginger, and pineapple juice. Onion and jalapeño pepper spice things up, while honey balances it out. Cool and refreshing, with a kick.

Julia's Watermelon Gazpacho | Photo by lutzflcat


• Explore our entire collection of top-rated gazpacho recipes.
• Get more ideas for summer's greatest cold soups, including cucumber soups and fruit soups.
• Find the food to fuel fun in the sun in our complete collection of summer recipes.