I must admit I had my doubts about this recipe. Gazpacho has always been somewhat of a mystery to me, and I can’t say I’ve been much interested in trying it out. Cold veggie soup? Doesn’t sound appetizing at all, right? But in order to understand some more of this Iberian delicacy, we need to understand just exactly what it is!
For those who have no idea what gazpacho is, let’s start from scratch: a soup originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia made of raw vegetables and served cold. Widely eaten in Spain & Portugal during the hot summers, it serves its purpose as a refreshing & cool meal. Its main ingredients, traditionally, are tomato, cucumber, & garlic. Salmorejo is a popular variation that I had the chance of trying at a Spanish friend’s home once, and I was totally smitten! (will be making it in the hotter summer months, for sure!) Consequently, trying salmorejo & really enjoying it made me rate cold soups a bit higher on my scale; giving me the confidence I needed last night when preparing this carrot version for my current-detox-state dinner.
Gazpacho’s ancient roots are thought have come from the Romans, arriving in Spain to establish itself as part of Andalusian cuisine using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, & vinegar – ajoblanco is yet another cold soup variety basically made with only these ingredients. Eventually, gazpacho evolved from this simpler version when tomatoes were added among the ingredients. Today, as it’s to be expected, there are many variations of gazpacho, often in different colors and sometimes omitting the tomatoes and bread in favor of avocados, cucumbers, parsley, watermelon, grapes, meat stock, seafood, and any other vegetables, like carrots!
Back in the good ole days, the vegetables would be pounded in a mortar with a pestle…this method is still used by some, as it helps keep the gazpacho cool and avoids the foamy consistency created by blenders. In the days before refrigeration, the gazpacho was left in an unglazed earthenware pot to cool by evaporation – to be served slightly chilled, and not iced. It may be served with garnishes, such as hard-boiled eggs, chopped ham (Serrano, of course), & avocados.
As we slowly welcome the warmer temperatures here in Leipzig with a measly 15°C, I ponder on my Honduran friends & family, who are less-than-enjoying a massive tropical heat wave with temperatures well over 35°C just in time for the big beach summer holiday that is Holy Week. With them in mind, I share with you this carrot gazpacho as a wonderful choice for a poolside meal on a very hot day!
For the Gazpacho
- 2 cups (450g) of chopped carrots
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled and chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup (60ml) of water
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
- balsamic reduction
Place the carrot and onion pieces into a pan with an inch of water, or use a steaming basket if you have one in your kitchen. Steam until fork tender. Remove from the pan and into the your blender, along with the remaining water. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Add in the juice and spices and blend until all is smooth & creamy. If too thick, simply add a bit of water – however much you need until you have the consistency you want. You might want to strain the soup and blend again if you aren’t using a high-speed power blender. I personally prefer a much smoother consistency with these cold soups. Serve with avocado & egg chunks and a drizzle of balsamic reduction (I used a recent find: raspberry balsamic reduction, YUM!).