Tasty low-cal gazpacho

Try this tasty, low-cal, vegan, gluten-free soup!
I just can’t get enough of cool and spicy gazpacho all summer long. It’s a perfect light lunch, or as a low-cal, late-afternoon appetite spoiler. Technically the name connotes a bread soup, so my recipe is not authentic at all. But it is delicious and perfect if you are watching your weight and your carbs – so nobody call the food police.
Place all of these ingredients in a food processor or a blender, and buzz until blended. If you like your soup chunky, pulse the machine. I like to blend it almost smooth. You can thin it with water, chicken stock, or vegetable juice if you like – and chill. Sometimes I add additional chunks of cucumber before serving.
1 can of tomatoes, either San Marzano or Muir Garden Fire Roasted. (You can use 2½ cups of chopped fresh chopped tomatoes if you have them. I like canned in this recipe, as they are quick and delicious – and I make this a lot.)
1/3 to ½ a small to medium-sized zucchini, chopped roughly
1/3 chopped unpeeled English cucumber
½ small sweet onion, chopped roughly
½ sweet red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and chopped roughly
1 lg. clove of peeled and chopped garlic
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. green jalapeño sauce
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Juice from 1 lemon
Taste the seasoning and correct before chilling.
Things to add:
1-2 tbsp. per serving of chick peas, for protein to make it meal;
1-2 tbsp. of low-fat or no-fat feta, to make it a meal;
1 tbsp. of ground cumin to the mix for a smoky flavour.

An elegant, rustic bowl of healthful goodness

Spicy red pepper soup with smoky cuminI adore cold soup. This one is perfect as the weather turns warm. It’s also versatile. It makes an elegant starter when served in beautiful china cups or fancy soup plates, topped with a dollop of crème fraiche. Or, it is a perfect light lunch or supper with a salad, or just a bit of grilled fish or chicken.

It’s dead easy to make cold red pepper soup. It gets a jolt of flavour from a touch of cumin and a hint of garlic. I use bottled red peppers. This avoids the tedious job of roasting and peeling the peppers. There is also chicken stock, but vegetarians can substitute vegetable stock of good quality. Make sure you do not buy vinegared or pickled peppers.
1box (quart or liter) of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cups /500 ml. tomato juice
2 jars / 335 ml. each of red peppers
1 peeled large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
1 tsp -1 tsp of ground cumin
1and 1/2 tsp sugar or 1 pkg. Splenda
1 and 1/2 tsp chili flakes, optional
Creme fraiche or sour cream (optional)
Sauté the chopped vegetables. Do not brown. Drain the peppers and blot dry. Chop.
Add cumin to the vegetables and chili, if you wish. Stir. Add peppers and sugar.
Add the 3 cups of stick and simmer. Add salt and peeper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Purée until smooth, and thin with a bit more stock, if necessary. If you wish it to be very elegant, pass the soup through a fine a sieve. I do not often bother to do this as I like the texture. I puree it very well in a blender. I use a Magic Bullet Platinum Pro, which I and our staff member Karin Pacione both really like. Chill.
Taste to correct seasoning before serving. It may taste blander when cold, and you may wish to add a bit of hot sauce, a dash of cayenne, and a bit more salt. Serve garnished with a dollop of crème fraiche or lemon slices.
Guests will love the tangy sweetness of the pepper contrasted with smoky cumin. I like to add a bit of chili too. The colour shouts sunshine. You can taste how healthful it is!