Watermelon gazpacho served.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman / Food Stylist: Anna Stockwell

Every season has a soup, and summer’s is gazpacho. Classic iterations of the Iberian soup rely on tomatoes, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and bread, but in this refreshing twist, juicy watermelon takes the lead. Watermelon’s mild sweetness brings out the fruity flavor of the tomatoes, while cucumbers and bell peppers make the gazpacho decidedly savory.

Watermelon gazpacho is light yet satisfying — and you can blend it up in minutes. Here’s how to make this perfect, no-cook summer lunch.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman / Food Stylist: Anna Stockwell

How to Choose a Watermelon for Gazpacho

If you do some people-watching at any mid-summer melon display, you’ll see as many methods of picking produce as there are shoppers. At this time of year, chances are good that almost any watermelon will be ripe and tasty, but here are four tips to help you choose the best one.

  1. Small and heavy is best. Personal-sized watermelons pack in a lot of flavor, are less likely to have a waterlogged or mealy texture, and are usually seedless. And because watermelons have a high water content, the ripest, juiciest ones will feel heavy for their size.
  2. Check for soft spots. The rind should feel taut and firm with no soft spots or bruises.
  3. Look for the field spot. One easy way to determine whether a melon was left to ripen on the vine long enough is to look for its field spot, which is the area where the fruit rested on the ground. You’re looking for a flat, yellow spot. Avoid white field spots or melons that don’t have one at all.
  4. Listen for a hollow sound. Ripe watermelons will have a deep hollow sound when tapped; unripe fruit will sound flat.

Why Is Gazpacho Served Cold?

Gazpacho originated in the south of Spain, which has extremely hot summers. The chilled soup was hydrating and nourishing — and is beloved to this day for the same reason.

Because cold temperatures dull the flavors in food, you’ll want to season your gazpacho generously with salt and add a healthy dose of vinegar. Sherry vinegar has a deep, complex flavor that gives the soup a bright kick of acid, but if you don’t have it on hand, apple cider vinegar is a good substitute.

How Long Does Gazpacho Last in the Fridge?

After blending all the ingredients, you’ll refrigerate the soup in the blender until thoroughly chilled, at least three hours. The good news is that the fresh, savory flavors only improve with time, making gazpacho a great option for meal prep. I like to make a batch on Sunday and serve it throughout the week — it will last in the fridge for up to four days.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman / Food Stylist: Anna Stockwell

Serving Watermelon Gazpacho

You’ll chop the garnishes — watermelon, cucumber, and red bell pepper — while you prepare the gazpacho, but store them separately. Just before serving, pile some of the finely diced melon and veggies in the center of the soup, drizzle with extra olive oil, and top with a little cracked black pepper.

How To Make Watermelon Gazpacho

YieldServes 4, Makes 5 1/2 cups

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    seedless watermelon (about 1/2 personal watermelon), plus more for garnish

  • 1 pound

    Roma or plum tomatoes (about 4)

  • 1/2

    medium English cucumber, plus more for garnish

  • 1/2

    medium red bell pepper, plus more for garnish

  • 1/2

    medium jalapeño pepper, plus more for garnish (optional)

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 2 tablespoons

    sherry vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Equipment

Instructions

  1. Prepare the fruit and vegetables. Prepare the following ingredients, adding each to a blender as you complete them: Dice 1 pound seedless watermelon (about 3 cups). Quarter 1 pound Roma or plum tomatoes, scrape out the seeds with your fingers, and coarsely chop (about 2 1/2 cups). Seed and dice 1/2 English cucumber (about 1 cup), 1/2 medium red bell pepper (about 3/4 cup), and 1/2 medium jalapeño pepper, if desired. Smash 1 clove garlic with the side of a chef’s knife.

  2. Prepare the garnishes. Finely dice the following until you have about 2 tablespoons of each: watermelon, cucumber, and red bell pepper. Arrange in piles on a plate or in a shallow bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  3. Add the seasonings. Add 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the blender.

  4. Purée the soup. Blend on medium-high speed to desired consistency, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  5. Chill the soup. Refrigerate the soup in the blender until thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours.

  6. Serve the soup. Stir or blend the soup to recombine if needed. Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with the reserved watermelon, cucumber, and bell pepper.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

 

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