Name: Vennie Muenzen
Class Year: 2010
Country of Residence: USA
Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory?
I grew up in Bulgaria where I spent the spring break and summers helping my grandma in her garden. I hold vivid memories of planting seeds in pots in the greenhouse we had constructed and waiting for the stems to show so we can plant next the tomatoes and cucumbers in the garden. We made traditional Bulgarian Shopska salads with fresh tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumbers, white brine cheese, and parsley.
When I moved to New York City after graduation, I looked for fresh produce to make delicious salads and vegetable soups. My husband and I have enjoyed making Gazpacho for the past couple of years. We love this Spanish soup so much that we make it throughout the year and not only as a summer soup. We love the rich bright orange/red color originating from blending the tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, and cucumber with generous amount of olive oil. We also appreciate all the health benefits of the tomatoes which are rich in the antioxidant lycopene as well as Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Eating healthy food is part of staying fit, strong, and healthy. Appreciating the richness of the ingredients and the beauty of the creative process is part of cooking with love.
Serves 4 Takes approx. 25 minutes prep time + 2 hours to chill
4 large tomatoes cut into chunks
1 medium cucumber cut into chunks
1 medium red bell pepper cut into chunks
¼ cup of onions
½ cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4-5 leaves basil or parsley
pinch of salt and black pepper
- Cut the tomato, onion, cucumber and bell pepper into 1ʺ chunks
- Blend the cut vegetables ingredients until pureed
- Pause the blending, unplug the blender, and subsequently add olive oil and red wine vinegar, and blend a second time until puree is smooth
- Chill for at least 2 hours, add more salt or pepper if necessary, and garnish your soup with black pepper and a few tiny or torn basil leaves (or parsley).
Traditional gazpacho usually includes white bread in the soup to make it thicker but it is not necessary as the large amount of olive oil provides for a rich and creamy soup. Leaving bread out also makes the soup gluten-free.