Does the thought of chilled watermelon gazpacho, flavored with good extra virgin olive oil cool you down a bit? Then you are in the right place.
The temperatures are going crazy here in Pune. The mercury is soaring above 40, even touching 44, they say. It’s like a kite which only goes so high most times, but then one fine day, it breaks that invisible ceiling, and you find yourself scrambling for an extra spool of thread. Well, what we are scrambling for is ice. And lots of it.
Unlike the central parts of the country where people abundantly use a special type of air cooler through the summer, Pune city is ill equipped to handle the heat. It reminds me of how a snowfall of 2 inches can shut down everything in a Southern city. Air conditioning is fine, but it has its limitations – we don’t have central cooling!
Standing in the kitchen is oppressive and the thought of eating anything even more so. There is a limit to how many sugary drinks we can consume. But staying hydrated is also important. Fruit water comes to the rescue at such times. And cold soups like Tomato Saar or Gazpacho.
The gazpacho is a Spanish recipe which is just made for a crowd. Summer is a time when people have out of town guests, or your kids have friends over. You can make gallons of this gazpacho with roughly the same effort. And you can stretch it out if needed by adding some more bread and water. My traditional gazpacho recipe is one of the most popular ones on this blog.
Today I am making gazpacho with watermelon. The ingredients and method is almost the same, except we are replacing tomato with watermelon. The big, juicy watermelon makes this sweet. Kids are going to love the vibrant red color. A good Extra Virgin Olive Oil like Gaia adds tremendous flavor to this simple dish. And it also provides a dose of heart healthy fats and Omega 3s.
Do you use olive oil for cooking? If you don’t, this recipe should get you started. Don’t be afraid of the different types of olive oil. All you have to remember is use extra light or light olive oil for Indian cooking where the spices have lots of flavor. Use extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings or pasta where the flavor of oil is the main ‘taste’ in the dish.
This is a vegan recipe. You can also leave out the bread if you like to make it gluten free.
Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe
- 6 cups watermelon chunks
- 1 cup cucumber chunks
- ½ green bell pepper
- ½ small onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (or white)
- 2 slices brown bread
- ¼ cup Gaia extra virgin olive oil
- 4-6 cups water
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch of smoked paprika
- Add the vegetable chunks to your blender. Grate in the garlic. Add 4 cups of water. Crumble in the bread.
- Pulse and process until smooth. You can do this in two or three batches depending on the size of your blender.
- Add salt, pepper, vinegar and oil. Blend again.
- Transfer to bowl.
- Taste and adjust vinegar and salt. The vinegar should just give a slight tang and brighten the flavor of the veggies.
- Serve with an extra drizzle of Gaia olive oil on top.
- Note – You can strain the soup if you want it extra fine. I prefer the texture of the thick soup.
You can add some more bread/ water to stretch out the soup. But the combination given above works best to preserve the watermelon flavor.
This watermelon gazpacho can also be served in a glass. It makes a great appetizer or evening snack. It stays well in the fridge for 3-4 days so you can make a big batch and keep sipping it any time. Paired with some grilled tofu or paneer, it makes a healthy summer meal.