Summer is hard on my diet.
Parties, clam boils, ice cream stands… you name it, it’s after me in the summer.
I equate things like traveling and cookouts to opportunities to eat great food and to drink adult beverages. Actually, my life is one big opportunity to eat great food and to drink adult beverages.
In the winter, I can adjust my diet to allow myself the occasional splurge. I’ll eat lower calorie foods during the day to balance the food splurge or the cocktail I might enjoy that night.
One of the things in my fridge (and freezer) at all times is the original Weight Watchers vegetable soup, which has NO points per serving and satisfies my need for volume and (in the winter) a hot meal. It also ups my vegetable quotient.
Maybe it’s me, but I don’t get cravings for hot soup on 80-degree days.
Enter the gazpacho: easy, no cook, low calorie deliciousness in the fridge to keep my intake in balance without an uncomfortable increase to my internal thermostat.
I have the added advantage of owning a Vitamix. Instead of hauling out the food processor with its many hard to clean parts, I am fortunate to have a blender that acts as its own dishwasher, and according to my husband, (and as I’ve mentioned before) has a motor that could run our lawnmower.
I can throw all the ingredients into the Vitamix in large pieces, making the recipe even easier. The recipe below is for use in a standard blender or food processor; if you, too, have a Vitamix just chuck everything in!
Easy Summer Gazpacho
2 cups chopped tomatoes or 1 – 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes
4 cups tomato juice or V-8
1 red pepper, minced
1 sweet onion, minced
1 cucumber, chopped (peeling is optional)
2 scallions or chives, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. lemon juice
3 T. vinegar (red or white wine) plus 2 tsp. sugar OR 3 T. Balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chopped fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, parsley, cilantro or tarragon, to taste (start with 1 teaspoon each of dried, or a tablespoon each of fresh and go from there)
Combine all ingredients (except the can of diced tomatoes if using them instead of fresh) in a blender or food processor and blend or process until slightly chunky. If using a Vitamix make sure it is on the low setting and pulse it just a couple of times and check the consistency. If not you’ll have a vegetable smoothie before you know it.
Put the mixture in a bowl and add the canned tomatoes, if using. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Chill it for a couple of hours before serving.
Serves 10. Weight Watcher Points = 1
Optional – garnish with 2 tablespoons of light sour cream (an extra Weight Watchers point) and more chopped herbs.
This is a lifesaver if you need an appetizer when you’re grilling out on a hot night. Make it ahead, dish it out and chill it until it’s time to serve.
It’s also a great way to use up those late summer vegetables that seem to reproduce in the refrigerator. It’s a vegetable soup so you can add any summer vegetable like zucchini to it as well, as we know zucchini has babies once it hits the fridge.
And whenever dinner’s not for an hour and you’re starving? Hmm. Might be time for some gazpacho.