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Recipe: Summer Gazpacho with Cannellini Beans

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Summertime is one of my favorite times of the year for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is that it is the perfect time to go to the local farmers' market and return home with an abundance of fresh produce at its peak of flavorful ripeness. The only problem is that here in Tennessee it is also very, very hot this time of year, so heating the kitchen up to cook all those veggies often doesn't sound like such a great idea. And as much as I love salads (check out my last video for more on some of my favorites!) sometimes I am just craving something a little different.

Enter gazpacho, a soup made from raw veggies and served chilled. Although this dish is said to have originated in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, the refreshing, bright flavors of fresh summer tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil remind me of the summer I studied abroad in Italy when I was in college. And in fact, some credit the Romans to bringing over a soup of olive oil, water, and garlic to Spain in ancient days, and that this soup eventually evolved into the red gazpacho we know today with the addition of tomatoes in the 19th century.

Wherever it originated, the flavors are universally pleasing, and it is a dish that is easy to make your own with whatever ingredients you have on hand and enjoy. In this version, I add cucumber, green bell pepper, diced celery, diced onion, sherry vinegar, and beans for some protein and texture to the traditional base of tomatoes, garlic, water, and extra virgin olive oil. I think it has just the right balance of acidic, garlicky, and rich flavors and textures. Plus, I love the fact that all I need to prepare it is my food processor and that no cooking is needed. Please try it out for yourself and let me know what you think and what igredients you try adding to your version. Enjoy!

Summer Gazpacho with Cannellini Beans:

Ingredients:

6 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks

1/2 large cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into chunks

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1/4 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced onion (I like to use a sweet vidalia onion)

1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup water

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Salt, pepper, and hot sauce (opitional, to taste)

Directions:

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, celery, onion, water, oil, and vinegar, and process until coarsely pureed. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the beans. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce (if desired) to taste and refridgerate until chilled. Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!

Nutrition facts per serving: 220 calories, 13g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg sodium, 21g carbs, 6g fiber, 6g protein, 35% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A, 80% DV vitamin C, 6% DV calcium, 10% DV iron. 

 

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