I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I cracked the code to summer. Summer is the best. Sure it’s a little sweaty, but the days last forever and the sunshine feels great and there is nothing better than escaping every weekend to lay on a beach and listen to the waves roll in. But what’s a girl to eat for lunch at work when she spends the weekends lying on beaches? Even I can turn my nose up at chili this time of year, and I am just as uninterested in the rest of my favorite freezer-friendly soups and heavy sauces.
In the summer, instead of heavy, slow-cooking meals, I like to have something nice and light like a tabbouleh salad or a tomato panzanella for lunch. They’re both fresh and crunchy, perfect for a hot day. But a chunky salad like that will go from crisp to soggy and slimy sitting in the fridge while I gallivant around a cute little beach town. Make it on Thursday night, take one serving for lunch on Friday, and by the time Monday lunch rolls around, you’re looking at a sour, soupy mess instead of a delicious, crunchy salad. And that’s what I need right now — a good, healthy, delicious lunch for a post-beach weekend Monday.
And that’s where this gazpacho comes in! You usually can’t freeze vegetables because when they defrost the cell walls are all busted. Translation: the texture gets funky. And the way to avoid a funky texture is to break down all the texture. Voila, gazpacho is the key! I did a lot of research and found people who thought it would be fine to freeze gazpacho, but no real authority who said it was OK. So I did an experiment.
Last week, I blitzed up some crunchy summer vegetables and garnished them with a little cheese and olive oil. I threw them in the freezer over the weekend and guess what?! They were great! I cracked the summer code! Full disclosure: the gazpacho separated a little bit when it defrosted, so it wasn’t quite as creamy as it was when I first made it. But it made for a perfect lunch on Monday and yesterday, before I had time to really get back in the kitchen and start making myself food for the week. I already whipped up a new batch for next week. You can expect a million variations on this, all summer long. Huzzah!
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper
- 3-4 green onions
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ c. olive oil
- ¼ c. red wine vinegar
- Chunks of cheese, additional olive oil and vinegar for garnish
- Throw everything but the garnish into a blender and let it go. There is some joke in here about cold soups never bothering me anyway.
- When its nice and smooth, put it into freezer-safe jars or other containers and garnish (but remember! don't garnish with chopped vegetables. if you want to throw those in after the soup has defrosted, they will be fine. but if you put them into the freezer you'll have the busted texture issue that sparked my gazpacho revolution in the first place!)
- Move the frozen gazpacho into the fridge the night before you want to eat it for lunch. It will separate a bit when it defrosts, but give it a good shake and it should mix back up just fine.