I’m a huge fan of vegetable and quite capable of filling my tummy with ridiculous amount of them in every meal. For this reason, juicing holds little appeal to me. Why would I sacrifice all that interesting texture? Why would I need to mask the vegetal flavours with sweet fruit? Why gulp when I can chew? Vegetable is beautiful and delicious in their own right. I want to enjoy them in all their green (red, yellow, purple or brown) glory.
For similar reason, I yawn at pureed soup. They are not unlike the savoury cousin of your morning glass of green juice—one dimensional. I prefer soup that is hearty and chunky with multitude of flavours. Therefor, it was a complete surprise that I fell head over heels for this creamy Green Gazpacho from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty.
The vibrant green colour of this chilled soup may trick you into thinking it is cream of asparagus, watercress vichyssoise, or good old peas and ham. Just one sip and you’ll realize it tastes just like the classic tomato-based gazpacho. Let me count all the good stuff that went into the food processor:
- baby spinach
- green bell pepper
- olive oil
- sherry vinegar
- Greek yogurt
- stale baguette
I used to think tomato is the soul of gazpacho. I was wrong. Cucumber, green pepper, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar are the basic building blocks for the refreshing and savoury signature taste. I love the richness that walnut and yogurt add to the soup. When I taste it carefully, the layers of flavours slowly reveal themselves. Every spoonful is complex in a delightful way. Check out the recipe at Leite’s Culinaria for the complete list of ingredients.
But the best part? My stove can take a day off! There are some chopping and measuring but the lion’s share of work is done by a food processor/blender/immersion blender. I make one batch at the start of the week and I have enough soup to make my dinner virtuous all week long. The soup thickens a bit more and the flavour develops in the fridge. The vibrant colour does not fade at all.
A bowl of green gazpacho can be the star of a light summer meal. It is in fact quite filling. For a more substantial dinner, I serve it as appetizer to Steamed Wild Salmon with Mustard Greens, Soy Sauce, and Ginger. Personally I am not a big fan of bitter mustard greens. However, the bitterness contrasts nicely with rich oily salmon. Dessert can simply be some fresh fruit. I was lucky enough to buy some Indian Alphonso mangoes last weekend. The sweetness was unlike any mangoes I had before.
What are your favourite no-cook recipes?