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Tomato Watermelon Gazpacho...Cocktail?

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Thought I'd get your attention with that title!  

I made this "gazpacho" recently for a talk I was giving on how to get the most nutritional value out of your tomatoes this summer.  It is based on a recipe I found on Nom Nom Paleo, a website I love and frequent often!  We were sampling from several tomato based recipes,  so I served this soup in small cups instead of bowls.  

As I was sipping this wonderful creation, it occurred to me that it makes a really good drink!  If you make it without the red pepper flakes, it becomes a refreshing, energizing smoothie.  The recipe combines two fruits (watermelon and tomato) that are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect our cells from oxidizing damage which may, in turn, protect us from heart disease and cancer.

The sweetness of the watermelon would also make it a great mixer for a cocktail.  If you are looking for an alternative to sugary based drinks this summer (think, margaritas or mojitos), this is a great alternative.  Because it doesn't have any added sugars, other than what Mother Nature provides, it is actually a bit healthier for you.  (It still will have alcohol in it, so you have to be careful!  But that is the topic of another discussion.)   You can spice up the drink using more red pepper flakes or tabasco sauce, add a bit of vodka, and you have a lighter refreshing form of Bloody Mary.  The added kick from the red pepper flakes actually helps cool us down in the heat of the summer.  

Added bonus:  This stores well in the refrigerator for a day or two (if it lasts that long!)

Enjoy it any way you prefer - as a cold soup, as a healthy, refreshing drink, or have it as a cocktali with a little bit of seltzer or vodka added in - it's sure to please!   Hope you get a chance to try it.  Let me know which way you prefer it!

Click here to read my Garden guest blog on how to blanch your tomatoes for this recipe, and other tips on storing all those tomatoes that are ripening up right now!

Tomato Watermelon Gazpacho

Adapted from NomNomPaleo.com.  Click here for original recipe.

Makes 8 cups

Ingredients:

2 pounds ripe tomatoes OR 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 medium red bell pepper 

1 cucumber (approximately 1 pound)

2 small shallots, coarsely chopped

4 sprigs of cilantro

1 pound cubed watermelon (approximately 3 cups) 

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. Blanch tomatoes to remove skins.  Remove cores and roughly chop, reserving all juices and seeds.
  2. Coarsely dice red bell pepper.  Peel and roughly chop cucumber.  Reserve ¼ of cucumber for garnish.
  3. Puree shallots, cucumber, bell pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes in blender.  Cube and de-seed the watermelon.
  4. Once the veggies are liquefied, add the watermelon, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Blend until smooth.
  5. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  6. Refrigerate the soup in the blender cup for at least 4 hours or until it’s fully chilled.
  7. The ingredients may separate a bit while resting in the fridge, so when you’re ready to serve, reblend to recombine.  Dice up the reserved cucumber for garnish.
  8. Ladle the gazpacho into chilled cups and top with a drizzle of olive oil, cucumber, and fresh cracked pepper
  9.  

Yours in Health,
Evey

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