GAZPACHO (Adapted from Ina Garten)

I think summer = gazpacho and vice versa.  It’s great as a first course, but also it’s amazing poured into a thermos and taken on a boat or outside on the beach for a picnic!  Add some French bread (and perhaps some good white wine) and you’ve got a luscious lunch!

I grew up enjoying my Grandmother’s version (which included cans of tomato soup and chicken gumbo soup) which she’d serve with bowls of croutons, cucumber, tomatoes and green peppers to add to your bowl.  This version is fresher and still simple and delicious and much healthier than sodium filled Campbell’s soup. And the best part?? It needs to be made in advance, so you have less food prep the day of your dinner party.

1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
24 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 TBSP kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes.

Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process; you want it to be a bit chunky, not pureed!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.

Mix well. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

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