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Elysian Eats: Gazpacho

Written by Lyssandra Guerra Photography by Melanie Riccardi

Whenever I eat gazpacho, I’m transported back to my time living in Spain, enjoying the warm summer evenings in the outdoor plazas, sipping a bowl of the chilled tomato soup beside a glass of rosé and a bowl of freshly made potato chips. Since moving home to Oakland, it’s become a summer tradition to whip up weekly batches of gazpacho in an attempt to recreate that scene. With the temperature slowly rising, I thought it the perfect time to share my take on the classic warm weather recipe.

Gazpacho is a cold tomato soup that originates from the Andalucía region of Spain. While its main base is made up of tomatoes and tomato juice, it also consists of cucumbers, red bell peppers, onions, garlic, and olive oil. Traditionally, bread is served alongside a bowl of gazpacho, though it can be enjoyed just as well without it by adding your own unique blend of spices and ingredients. In today’s variation, I chose to incorporate orange juice and zest for a bit of sweetness, along with pumpkin seeds for a little protein and crunch. If you’re looking to make a well-rounded meal out of the soup, try pairing gazpacho with a seasonal corn salad (recipe below), or grilled fish.

Not only is this soup satisfying to eat, it’s also a delight to prepare. The brightly colored reds, greens, and purples that make up the ingredients are all colors reminiscent of authentic Mediterranean produce markets. They also contain antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene that are responsible for giving tomatoes and bell peppers their bright-to-deep colored hues. In terms of health benefits, these antioxidants play key roles in keeping our cell membranes strong, thick, and fluid, which are in charge of allowing nutrients in, while removing cellular waste and preventing toxins from entering. By eating vegetables rich in antioxidants, we prevent free radicals from causing heart disease, cancer, and inflammation. Now that’s what I call a win-win.

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Gazpacho

INGREDIENTS

4-5 ripe Roma tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
1/2 medium cucumber, seeded and peeled
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded
1/2 garlic clove
1 red chili, seeded
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, plus zest for garnish
2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup low-sodium tomato juice
1 cup cold pure filtered water
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Using a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients, including the tomato juice and water. Pulse or blend until all ingredients are mixed well. Depending on your preference, you can blend until smooth, or keep the mixture a little chunky.

2. Pour mixture into a large bowl and season to your liking. Chill the soup for at least an hour. When ready to serve, garnish with parsley or torn mint, orange zest, pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of fresh lime. You can also add the remaining diced vegetables and avocado.

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Corn Salad

INGREDIENTS

1 ear of white or yellow corn
3 tbsp. diced cucumber
1 tbsp. diced red onion
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for 3 minutes. Immediately drain and cool it under cold water to stop the cooking. Placing the ear upwards on a cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut along the side of the ear, removing the kernels from the cob. Toss the kernels into a large bowl with the red onions, cucumber, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

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Lyssandra Guerra is a certified Holistic Nutritionist based out of Oakland, California. Using a thoughtful path of whole foods, herbs, and daily rituals, she guides her clients in healing from the inside out. Her aim is to inspire others to eat smart, simple, and nutritious foods so that they can reclaim their health, vitality and glow.

Melanie Riccardi is a product and commercial photographer in San Francisco. Her desire for simplicity has influenced her minimalistic style.

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