Green Gazpacho

Some may think it a stretch to call chilled green soup gazpacho, but although this version is quite different from traditional gazpacho, it still is every bit as refreshing as its classic red cousin. With origins in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, traditional gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold. It usually has a tomato base, but nowadays there are quite a few modern variations of gazpacho. They often come in different colors (white or green), omitting the tomatoes and bread (as done here) in favor of avocados, cucumbers, parsley, and other ingredients.

When a friend recently shared a recipe for a tasty green gazpacho she had tried, I was intrigued and adapted it to my preferences (I used avocado instead of yogurt) and what I had on hand (zucchini instead of celery). This version of gazpacho relies on spinach, zucchini, bell peppers, parsley, basil and avocado for its freshness, greeness and creamy texture. A little jalapeño gives this soup a nice kick and for added depth and a touch of sophistication, I tossed together a very flavorful and slightly crunchy walnut and pear topping. The topping is optional, but I highly encourage you to try it!

Although this is not your typical gazpacho, this soup is refreshing on hot and dry summer days. Gazpacho should be slightly chilled when served, but not necessarily iced. Serve as a appetizer, starter, or main dish.

Green Gazpacho

Green Gazpacho 
Serves 6-8

6 cups baby spinach (about 5 ounces)
2-3 (1 1/4 pounds) cucumbers, peeled and cut in large pieces
2 small green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced in large chunks
2 cups, or more vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups walnuts, lightly toasted
1 cup basil leaves
1 small or half large zucchini
1 small avocado
1/2 fresh green chile, such as a jalapeño, seeded (you can add more or less depending on your heat preference)
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
freshly ground white pepper, to taste
micro greens, to serve (optional)
sliced avocado, to serve (optional)

Walnut and Herb Topping
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive or avocado oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon walnut oil
1 small Asian pear, diced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint
sea salt
freshly ground white pepper

Combine ingredients (spinach to sugar) in blender and blend until very smooth. You may have to blend in batches. At this point, if you would prefer a more refined final outcome, you might want to run this through a food mill or a juicer. I didn’t. Return soup to blender and add the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper to taste. Blend, taste and adjust seasoning to your preference. Slightly chill.

To make the topping, heat olive or avocado oil under low heat, add the walnuts and cook and stir until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic and lime juice. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and toss with the walnut oil. Cool to room temperature, then stir in the pear, parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle chilled soup into bowls. Garnish with micro-greens, walnut topping, sliced avocados, if you’d like, a little flaky sea salt, and freshly ground white pepper.

3 thoughts on “Green Gazpacho

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s