Summery Gazpacho with Bacon and Feta

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My Mom always made gazpacho in the summertime when we had a garden full of tomatoes.  I never appreciated her fresh healthy soup until later in life when I went to southern Spain for a couple of weeks and ate gazpacho with almost every meal. I sampled the gazpacho and sangria offerings from restaurant to restaurant, amazed by how two were never the same down to their color, consistency and taste.  There are endless variations of gazpacho, some recipes omit the tomatoes and bread in favor of dried fruit, avocados or beef stock.  In Cordoba, Spain, one of the stops on my informal gazpacho tour, the soup is served with a chopped hard boiled egg and ham on top. This  version inspired my summery red Gazpacho that I’ve garnished with crispy bacon and cool crumbled feta. It’s a perfect starter for hot summer nights and great as lunch leftovers.

The tomatoes in my grocery store aren’t great yet and we’re weeks away from having them at the Farmer’s Market so I used canned tomatoes instead of fresh.  I threw all the veggies in my Ninja blender with some of the V8 juice and I though the consistency was great but you could puree for longer or use an immersion stick blender if you want a smoother gazpacho.

What to buy (serves 4-6):

  • 1  cucumber, finely diced
  • 10 ounces Rotel diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups v8 juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 strips of bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Feta, crumbled

What to do:

  • puree V8 juice and vegetables in a food processor until desired consistency is reached
  • cover and chill for few hours to let flavors develop
  • serve cold with optional toppings
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