Vegan Watermelon Gazpacho

watermelon_day_smNothing says summer has arrived like a chilled soup. When it’s so hot you’re sweating and the a/c is working as hard as it can, a chilled soup can make your whole day. Gazpacho is like a cool, liquid salad. It goes down easy, you don’t have to heat up the house to make it, and it cools you from the inside out. That’s my kind of hot weather dinner!

Watermelon Gazpacho

  • 3 cups watermelon chucks, seeded with rind removed
  • 2 cups heirloom tomato chunks
  • ½ cucumber (peeled if it is not organic or is waxed)
  • 1 small bell pepper (green is fine, but purple and yellow add a nice color)
  • 1 small hot pepper of your choice, seeded with the ribs removed, and chopped
  • 1 lime or lemon, juiced
  • ½ – 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 – 3 Tbs. olive oil (use less if you are cutting down on fat or calories)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Tbs. fresh basil (lemon or lime basil works great if you have some growing in your garden)
  • Big handful of fresh mint leaves only – no stems (orange or lime mint is perfect)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • Pepper to taste

If you hate hot foods you can leave this out completely or choose a mild variety like a banana pepper. If you like it hot I recommend the heirloom variety Bulgarian carrot pepper. Really any hot or mild pepper you like or just have lying around would work fine, but it needs to be fresh. Don’t forget to use gloves if it is an extremely hot variety so you don’t transfer the oil to your skin. It’s no fun to rub it in your eye!

Mince the cucumber, green pepper, basil, mint, and cilantro and set aside. Puree everything else in a blender or food processor until relatively smooth. Add in the minced veggies and herbs. Stir with a spoon to mix everything together.

(To make a smooth soup place everything but the cilantro in a blender or food processor, and puree the heck out of it. You will still have specks of tomato, cucumber, and green pepper skins to add a little texture and color. You can keep blending it until it is a smooth as you want it.)

Before serving take a final taste and decide if you need to adjust the salt and pepper, or add any more herbs or lime juice. Once it’s the way you like it, put it in the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

Garnish with the chopped cilantro, and a few sprigs of fresh mint. It will be a beautiful refreshing treat!

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