Everything I’ve learned living in Spain about how to make the best authentic, delicious, fresh gazpacho recipe!
Ever since we moved to Barcelona, I’ve been getting tons of requests from you guys for authentic Spanish recipes. So today, I’m (finally) kicking off a new collection of recipes that we have learned from our time here, starting with a seasonal fave that we can’t get enough of this summer — gazpacho!
I’ve been a huge fan of this refreshing, chilled, Spanish tomato soup for years. But here in Spain, we’ve become next-level obsessed with it this summer, especially after recently spending a week down in Andalucia, the region where gazpacho originated. Down there, gazpacho is available just about everywhere you turn — from restaurants, to bars, to coffee shops, to every little supermercado you pass by. (Even in Barcelona, our nearest grocery store offers no less than five different brands of bottled gazpacho!) And it is so unbelievably ripe and delicious, especially during the hot summer months.
Various parts of the country are proud to have their own spin on the classic as well. From salmorejo in Cordoba, to ajoblanco in Granada, to porra antequerana in Antequera — not to mention all of the various extra fruits and veggies and seasonings that can be mixed into each — there are about a million ways to make gazpacho. That said, though, there are definitely a few keys to making authentic, delicious, classic gazpacho on which most people here in Spain agree.
So! Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Spanish Gazpacho Ingredients:
Gazpacho is the quintessential seasonal summer soup because all of the ingredients are perfection this time of year. Plus, the soup is traditionally made completely raw ingredients, so there’s zero need to heat up your kitchen by turning on the stove. Just prep your ingredients on a cutting board, then your blender or food processor will take it from there. You’ll need:
- Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes or medium round tomatoes-on-the-vine are standard for gazpacho in Spain. But any ripe, juicy, fresh tomatoes will do. No need to peel them, but it is important to core them (scoop out the seeds and any tough white core).
- Cucumber: Small (6-inch) cucumbers are used in Spain, peeled and seeded. But I often use half of an English cucumber instead. Whichever works!
- Green bell pepper: Some of my Spanish friends are firm believers that green bell peppers, specifically, are a must with authentic gazpacho. But I’d say that any color of bell pepper you have on hand will do. :)
- Bread: Leftover crusty white bread is the key to the texture of authentic gazpacho, helping to thicken it slightly and round out the flavors. Be sure to discard the crusts. Then to help the bread blend well, our local friends taught us to either:
- blend up the gazpacho, then poke the slice of bread into the center of the soup and let it sit there for 10 minutes to soften before blending it up, or…
- just run it under the faucet and soak completely with water, ring it out completely with your hands, then add the bread to the soup ingredients and puree
- Red onion: Just half of a small red onion will be plenty, peeled.
- Garlic: I use two small garlic cloves, or one large clove.
- Olive oil: Many traditional gazpacho recipes are loaded with tons of olive oil. But nowadays in Spain, they cut it down so that it’s a bit healthier. This recipe just uses 3 tablespoons.
- Sherry vinegar: Andalucia is known for its sherry. And of course, it’s sherry vinegar (vinagre de Jerez), which is standard in gazpacho. If you can’t find sherry vinegar at your grocery store, you can substitute red wine vinegar.
- Ground cumin: One of our guides in Andalucia taught me the secret of adding cumin to your gazpacho, which is actually a common ingredients in the south of Spain, thanks especially to its proximity to Morocco. I love the subtle note it adds to this recipe.
- Salt and black pepper: Essentials!
How To Make Gazpacho:
Easy! To make homemade gazpacho, simply:
- Puree the soup: Combine all of your ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree for 1 minute or until the gazpacho reaches your desired consistency. (I love mine super-smooth.)
- Chill: Transfer the soup to a sealed container and refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely chilled.
- Serve: Then serve the soup nice and cold, garnished with your favorite toppings.
With such a simple pureed soup, toppings are a must in my book! I like to add any combination of the following:
- Homemade croutons: Easy to make with the rest of your leftover bread
- Fresh herbs: Basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary and/or chives are some of our faves.
- Fresh-cracked black pepper: Always a must, in my book.
- Olive oil: An extra drizzle on top is often traditional in Spain.
- Cream: A drizzle of cream (or sour cream) can be nice and refreshing in the summertime.
- Spanish ham and chopped hard-boiled eggs: These toppings are especially traditional with salmorejo, but are also popular with gazpacho in the south of Spain.
Or, of course, it’s probably most common to just sprinkle a few of the leftover chopped gazpacho veggies on top (such as tomato, green pepper, onion or cucumber). Whatever sounds good to you!
How To Serve Gazpacho:
So here’s the thing — there are all sorts of fun ways to serve gazpacho!
You can either serve it in a bowl or mug, garnished with your desired toppings. Or to keep things super simple, many places in Spain just serve gazpacho over ice in glasses with a straw, which I really love! (See photos below.)
It’s just essential that gazpacho is served super chilled (you can even chill your serving bowl or mug to help keep things cool). Also, serving sizes are traditionally pretty small. So no need for a large soup bowl, unless of course, you’re really hungry. :)
How To Customize Gazpacho:
While the recipe below is for authentic tomato gazpacho, there are of course zillions of ways that you could customize your gazpacho. You could:
- Add fruit: Watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberries are the most common additions here in Spain
- Add veggies: Beets, zucchini and corn are some of the most common additions here in Spain
- Add extra herbs: Fresh herbs — such as basil, rosemary, thyme, or chives — would also be delicious in this recipe.
- Add spice: This is definitely not common in Spain, since the country almost always avoids heat in its food. But I love adding a few slices of jalapeño or serrano, or a pinch of cayenne to mine.
My favorite recipe for how to make authentic, fresh, delicious Spanish gazpacho.
- 2 pounds ripe roma tomatoes, halved and cored*
- 1 small (1/2 lb) cucumber, peeled and seeded
- 1 medium green bell pepper, cored
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled
- 2 small garlic cloves (or 1 large clove), peeled
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 thick slice of white bread, soaked**, crusts removed
- optional garnishes: homemade croutons, chopped fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, or any leftover chopped gazpacho ingredients
- Combine all ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Puree for 1 minute, or until the soup reaches your desired consistency. Taste and season with extra salt, pepper and/or cumin if needed.
- Refrigerate in a sealed container for 4 hours, or until completely chilled.
- Serve cold, topped with your desired garnishes.
*To core your tomatoes, simply scoop out and discard the seeds and any tough white core.
**To soak your bread (which will make for better blending), I recommend running it under the sink for a second to soak it with water. Then just ring it out completely, and add the bread to the blender or food processor.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!