Am I the only one who smells each tomato before I add them to my shopping cart? There’s absolutely something about that Ontario tomato smell that reminds me of picking tomatoes in my backyard garden each summer. One of my favourite ways to enjoy the AMAZING selection of tomatoes we are lucky to have in the summer months is by making gazpacho! I also love a good caprese salad, and a caesar or two on a patio…although I don’t think caesars really count as a summer tomato recipe, but who cares! If you’re anything like me, you’ll take any excuse to caesar-it-up.

Back to the gazpacho…

Gazpacho is not a dish to be feared, it can honestly take most of what you throw at it (my gazpacho recipes have taken quite a beating over the years and each one turned out amazing). You can experiment and do an all-green gazpacho with tomatillos, add some fruit like watermelon or strawberries, or in this case, add some heat with red Thai birds eye chilies. You could even make this more Thai-inspired with lemongrass, mint, coconut milk and even grilled shrimp as a garnish! Now we’re talking.

In the meantime, this spicy gazpacho is an excellent jumping off point for you to customize any which way you like. You could even ramp up the heat, tone it down a bit, or remove it completely. Depending on the mood I’m in, I either add half or a whole red chili. Don’t call me a wimp just yet, one birds eye chili has enough power to give this some serious kick.

Spicy Tomato Gazpacho (serves 4, or 2 with lunch leftovers!)

4 large Ontario tomatoes, quartered (you can really use any large tomatoes or a greater number of smaller tomatoes for this recipe)
1/2 cucumber, roughly chopped
1 small bunch cilantro (about 1/4 cup when chopped, but chopping isn’t required)
1/2 medium red onion
1 birds eye chili, half of it finely sliced
6 banana peppers plus 2 tbsp water in the banana pepper jar (my secret ingredient! Banana peppers really help to layer the flavours in this gazpacho)
1 large garlic clove
Juice of 1 lime
Dash of Worcester sauce (leave out if you want the soup to be vegetarian/vegan)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tsp olive oil plus some for garnish

Throw all ingredients into a blender with about 1 cup of water and blend until liquid. That’s it, honestly! Add more water to get the consistency you like.

I put the blender in the fridge until I’m ready to serve, then I give it a quick buzz and pour it into soup bowls. I garnish the soup with a few cilantro leaves, some of the sliced chilies for whoever is daring enough, and a drizzle of our best olive oil. Don’t skimp and use cheap olive oil here, you want that flavour to come through strong. Read our post on what olive oil we use and when for inspiration.

The garnish for your soup is where you can have some real fun: add crème fraȋche, mint leaves and crumbled feta (for watermelon gazpacho), basil, or how about our yummiest-ever but not at all healthy croutons?

Gazpacho is so refreshingly yummy, healthy, and gives you a ton of options to make it your own. Eat in on your patio, served in shot glasses at parties, or on a picnic with your feet in the grass. Summer living is good.