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A hot summer day is the perfect time to enjoy a refreshing bowl of gazpacho. This classic Spanish soup is one of the few soups that is served chilled. There are many variations to this ancient dish, but the modern version usually consists of tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, cucumbers and olive oil.

Without having to cook anything, gazpacho is super simple to make. Although the vegetables may require peeling and chopping, half the mixture can be roughly chopped and pureed in a food processor or heavy-duty blender. Cover and chill the soup in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to meld together and to allow the soup to get very cold. Before serving, you may choose to garnish with avocado slices or fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil or chives. Serve with croutons or crusty bread to soak up every last drop of goodness.

As you can imagine, the garden of vegetables in this soup make it a healthy choice. Gazpacho is typically packed with vitamin A and potassium and is a good source of dietary fiber. It's low in calories, but also low in protein unless you add cooked shrimp or chicken. For this reason, gazpacho is often served as an appetizer or even as a "shooter," which is elegantly displayed in small clear cups. Store leftover gazpacho in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or freeze in freezer-safe storage container for up to one year. Enjoy the taste summer with gazpacho!


4 cups low-sodium tomato juice, divided

½ medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1 drop hot pepper sauce

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large tomato, finely diced

2 Tablespoons minced chives (optional)

1 lemon, cut in six wedges (optional)

Put 2 cups of tomato juice and all other ingredients except diced tomato, chives and lemon wedges in a blender or food processor. Puree. Slowly add the remaining 2 cups of tomato juice to pureed mixture. Add diced tomato and chill until serving time. Serve ice cold in bowls. Sprinkle with chopped chives and garnish with lemon wedges.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 90 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 105 milligrams sodium, 11 grams total carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein

Source: North Dakota State University Extension Service