Cool off this summery with a crisp watermelon and rhubarb gazpacho. This would be fantastic garnished with some crumbled feta. You could also add vodka for a spin on the classic Bloody Mary mix. Trust me!
Every year around this time gazpacho recipes start flooding my Pinterest feed. Gazpacho is a soup made with raw vegetables and served cold or at room temperature. Not only did the idea of cold soup never appeal to me, but I also never really understood the gazpacho craze. I mean, how is a raw, cold soup different from a smoothie? I didn’t get it.
Flashback to last weekend. I met my girlfriend at The Green City Market for breakfast and as we were walking around the market, I noticed booth after booth with piles of rhubarb. I’ve never had rhubarb so I bought some figuring the internet would tell me the best way to use it.
First, I stumbled upon a recipe for Chipotle Rhubarb Salsa from Naturally Ella. Her blog led me to this recipe for Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce from Local Kitchen. Then, I found this recipe for Blueberry-Rhubarb Granita from Poor Girl Eats Well and my wheels started turning. Isn’t the internet wonderful?
I sliced a small piece off of the end of my rhubarb stalk and tasted it. It was tart and reminded me a lime. I liked the idea of a salsa, but I also liked the idea of a granita so I thought, “What about a gazpacho?” Since I’d never had gazpacho before, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing, but I figured how hard can it be? All you are doing is puréeing a bunch of raw veggies!
Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would work on the first try (Seriously, when does that happen?!), especially since I didn’t have any strawberries on hand and strawberries are pretty much the only thing I see consistently paired with rhubarb. I knew I needed something sweet to offset the tartness of the rhubarb so I used watermelon because it is what I had on hand. I placed all of my ingredients in my trusty VitaMix and after two minutes I took a taste and wondered where gazpacho has been all my life! Now, I get it.
The result is a sweet, but spicy soup that would make an excellent first course at summer dinner party. It’s doesn’t resemble a smoothie at all and it would be excellent garnished with feta or fresh mint. I was super bummed I didn’t have either on hand, I will not make that mistake next time.
If you aren’t on the gazpacho train yet, that’s ok. I understand. Make this anyway and add vodka because I also think it would make a KILLER Bloody Mary mix!
- 1 1/4 cups chopped rhubarb, about 3 stalks
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 4 cups watermelon, chopped
- 1/2 habanero (*optional, see note at the bottom of this recipe)
- 2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar per serving (for finishing)
- Coarsely chop watermelon and red pepper and add to a high speed blender or food processor.
- If using, add habanero. Finely chop the shallot and add 2 tablespoons to the blender or food processor.
- Bring a small pot of water to boil. Roughly chop rhubarb into 1/2 inch slices and soften in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Strain and add rhubarb to the blender or food processor.
- Blend on high for 2 minutes or until smooth.
- Divide soup into bowls and finish each with 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
- You can garnish with any left over shallot or feta if you have it on hand. I didn't and I was super sad about it!
- I have an extremely high tolerance for heat and spice, which is why I used a habanero. If you do not like things spicy, you can remove the habanero seeds, substitute with a jalapeño, or omit it completely.