A refreshing soup that's layered with flavor from sun-ripened tomatoes and vegetables, Gazpacho originated from the southern Spanish region of Andalusia and is just as popular today. Enjoyed as an appetizer or light meal, this seasonal soup is healthy and cool, particulary during the hot summer months. There are many modern variations using fresh vegetables and fruits alike, especially this one that uses roasted bell peppers.

ROASTED PEPPER GAZPACHO

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

2 cups peeled, seeded diced cucumber

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 clove garlic, smashed

1/4 cup Vidalla onion, chopped

1 large stalk celery, cut into thirds

1/2 cup baby carrots

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, stems removed

3 large tomatoes*

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Chopped cucumber, avocado, tortilla strips as garnish

Fresh lemon cut into 1/2-inch wedges

PREPERATION

Preheat broiler to high. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard membranes and seeds.


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Brush peppers with olive oil and place cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet along with garlic. Broil on top shelf of oven for 12-14 minutes or until peppers are lightly charred, turn frequently. Remove peppers from oven, place in a paper bag. Close bag and let stand for 10 minutes, (this traps steam and makes peeling easier) then peel and coarsley chop. Set aside.

Peel, seed and finely dice cucumbers, add to food processor along with,

garlic, onion, celery, carrots, parsley and peeled peppers. Finally add tomatoes, pulse for a chunkier version or blend longer until smooth. (if pressed for time, use 1- 32 oz. can diced natural tomatoes)

Add the vinegar and oil, combine; season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill for up to at least 2 hours before serving to let flavors merge...it tastes better.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional chopped cucumbers, sliced avocado, tortilla strips and salt and pepper. Add a squirt of fresh lemon juice.