This refreshing Watermelon Gazpacho is a flavor-packed, no cook recipe that's so easy to make and perfect for hot summer days!
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It was 104 degrees this past weekend! Summers in Texas are HOT, and as the temperature rises, my desire to cook sinks.
Days like these call for simple, no cook recipes, like this downright delicious Watermelon Gazpacho. This colorful, refreshing soup is pretty much the epitome of summer cooking.
This easy recipe is packed with fresh veggies and juicy fruit, and it's light, low cal, and flavorful. With its crunchy toppings, this vibrant soup is a delight to eat ... perfect for steamy days when appetites are low and it's a struggle to lift a spoon.
If the watermelon is throwing you off here, don't let it! The melon adds a touch of sweetness, but this chilled soup is more savory than sweet. It actually tastes pretty similar to classic gazpacho, although a bit less tomatoey.
The best part though? You can whip up a batch in about 20 minutes ... less, if you're a quick chopper!
What is gazpacho?
Gazpacho is a cold soup that originates in Spain. It's a cooling dish that's typically served during hot summer months.
Generally speaking, gazpacho is made of raw vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, that are blended together with seasonings like olive oil, garlic, and vinegar. Many versions also include bread, which helps thicken the soup.
Traditionally, this cold soup was made in a mortal and pestle. These days, a blender accomplishes the job much quicker and easier though.
Though the ingredients are basic, this is one of those recipes with many versions, and every grandma has their own authentic recipe. My fave is this one, which features fresh, juicy watermelon. I love this recipe, because it's such a tasty way to use up large amounts of watermelon, and the results couldn't be more refreshing!
It's so versatile, too! You can swap in all sorts of ingredients depending on what you have on hand. And this easy recipe is just as special for get togethers with friends and family, as it is for a quick, casual lunch.
This delicious cold Watermelon Soup is bursting with fresh summer produce! Here's what you'll need:
- English Cucumber
- Red Pepper
- Red Onion
- Jalapeño (optional)
- Lime Juice and Zest
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
As you might guess, this recipe turns out best when made at the peak of summer with the freshest produce. The ingredients are somewhat flexible, and you can feel free to make simple substitutions, like using another color pepper or onion, or swapping cherry tomatoes for whole tomatoes. Find more substitution tips below.
By the way, this soup is naturally vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, and gluten free.
How to Pick a Watermelon
Choosing a watermelon can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three simple tips to help you select the best one:
- Pick it up. It should feel heavy for its size.
- Look for a yellow spot. This is where the watermelon rested on the ground, and a creamy, yellow spot (versus a pale, white one) indicates that it was allowed to fully ripen before picking.
- Give it a thump. The surface should be firm, and a juicy watermelon should have a deep hollow sound.
Substitutions / Additions
One thing I love about gazpacho is that the recipe is flexible, and you can pretty much add whatever's freshest at the farmers market (or in your garden) that day. Just keep in mind that you want to create a balance between milder ingredients (like tomatoes and watermelon) with zestier ingredients (like onions, garlic, and spices) for the most flavorful soup.
Once you've tried this basic recipe, try changing it up with one of these additions / substitutions:
- Skip the tomatoes - Leave out the tomatoes and replace them with more watermelon for a fruitier soup.
- Add more Fruit - Including more fruit, such as melons, strawberries, grapes, peaches, or even pineapple, will also enhance the soup's sweet side.
- Experiment with Different Herbs - I love using fresh basil in this recipe, but you have lots of flexibility here. Watermelon and mint are another classic combo. You could also use cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, or add a mix of fresh herbs.
- Try Different Onions - Replace the red onion with a yellow or white onion. Sweet onions or shallots would also be delicious.
- Use a Standard Cucumber - I prefer English cucumbers for this recipe. It's fine to use a standard cucumber though, just make sure to scoop out and discard the seeds before chopping.
- Swap Out the Jalapeño - Not a fan of spicy food? This soup isn't that hot, but it's okay to leave out the jalapeño if you wish. For mild soup, do make sure to remove the membranes and seeds ... that's where most of the heat is located. If you're a spicy food lover, leave in the membranes for extra heat and experiment with other spicier peppers, like serrano or habanero.
- Add Your Fave Hot Sauce - If you're serving some people who like spicy food and others who don't, you can always leave out the jalapeño and add hot sauce at the table. My fave Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce would be delish!
- Use Vinegar Instead of Lime Juice - Traditional gazpacho is made with sherry vinegar, so feel free to use that instead of lime juice. A good red wine vinegar would also work. Lemon juice (or even orange juice) is another option.
- Try Roasted Garlic - For a more nuanced garlic flavor, substitute Roasted Garlic for the raw garlic called for in the recipe.
- Spice It Up -I didn't include any spices here, but a teaspoon of cumin or smoked paprika would be a wonderful complement to the soup's sweet - savory flavor.
- Thicken with Bread - Traditional recipes frequently include bread to thicken the soup. If you'd like to try that, wet a fist-sized piece of hearty rustic-style bread (crusts removed) under running water, then squeeze out the excess liquid. Tear into chunks, then blend it with the other ingredients.
Tip: This soup already makes a large batch. If you do include other ingredients, you will probably need to blend it in batches.
You'll Also Need
A good blender is a must for this recipe. I have a Ninja Foodi Cold & Hot Blender (which was a gift from Ninja), and I love it! It pureed this Watermelon Soup in seconds, whereas my old blender would have taken minutes (plus lots of stirring to get things going). I haven't tried all the functions yet, but you can even cook soup in it and use it to make ice cream ... it's a great alternative to more expensive Vitamix machines.
How to Make Watermelon Gazpacho
Okay, that's a lot of details, but this Watermelon Gazpacho recipe couldn't be easier to make. So let's get started!
The first thing you need to do is prep the watermelon and veggies. Start by coring your tomato and pepper, peeling your cucumber, juicing and zesting your lime, mincing the garlic, and deseeding the jalapeño. Then, cut everything into one-inch (or so) chunks.
Add the chopped watermelon and veggies to your blender, along with the jalapeño, garlic, lime juice and zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, blend everything until smooth, or until it reaches your desired consistency. (You may need to do this in batches if your blender gets too full.)
Grab a big handful of basil leaves and tear them up. Add the basil to the blender, then pulse it in, leaving some small, visible bits.
Taste the soup, and add more salt and lime juice to taste. Then, chill your soup for at least a couple hours before serving ... this will allow the flavors to develop even more.
Tip: Make sure to wash your hands, knife, and cutting board thoroughly (and immediately) after handling any hot pepper. Otherwise, you risk burning your hands (or worse, your eyes). Some people prefer to wear gloves for extra protection (especially with spicier peppers, like habaneros), though I rarely do.
How to Serve
Once chilled, serve this soup sprinkled with your choice of toppings (see below for ideas). Watermelon Gazpacho is very light, so I'd recommend rounding out the meal with a salad (try my quick Chopped Salad) and crusty bread. You could also pair it with a simple sandwich (like my Tomato Avocado Sandwich).
My absolute favorite thing about gazpacho is the toppings. I love to load my soup up with tons of them!
You can opt to keep things simple, and just use extra veggies and herbs, or you can get really creative. This time, I used leftover watermelon, onion, cucumber, and basil, plus chunks of feta cheese (yum!).
Whatever toppings you choose, make sure to dice them into small pieces ... that way you get a little crunch in every bite. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
- Leftover Watermelon + Veggies - Dice up whatever extras you have after making the soup.
- Avocado - Bits of cool, creamy avocado would be a welcome addition.
- Olive Oil - Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to make this light recipe a touch richer.
- Honey - Bring out the sweeter side of the soup with a drizzle of honey ... or for extra kick, hot honey.
- Cheese - I love adding chunks of salty feta to my bowl. It really punches up the flavor. Crumbled goat cheese or queso fresco would also be delish.
- Hard Boiled Eggs - Diced egg is a great way to add a little protein and staying power to this light soup.
- Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt - Add some rich creaminess to your bowl with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
- Croutons - Crunchy croutons would be an excellent way to create some textural contrast.
Tip: Try serving the toppings in individual bowls (or little piles on a cutting board), then let everyone have fun adding their own toppings to the soup.
Want to try more Spanish recipes? Make my easy Romesco Sauce next. It's so good, and you could even serve it alongside this soup with crusty bread for dipping!
Need to use up a giant watermelon? Then, you won't want toss miss these tasty recipes:
- Watermelon Mojito
- Watermelon Quinoa Salad
- Watermelon Juice
- Watermelon Popsicles
- Watermelon Punch
- Watermelon Salsa
- Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
- Watermelon Lemonade
- Watermelon Sorbet
- 4 cups chopped watermelon
- 1 large tomato, cored and chopped
- 1 large red pepper, cored and chopped
- ½ large English cucumber, peeled and chopped
- ½ medium red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped (optional)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 1 large, juicy lime)
- zest from one lime, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- large handful basil leaves
- diced watermelon, veggies, and basil for serving (optional)
- Add watermelon, tomato, red pepper, cucumber, onion, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice and zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper to blender. Blend until smooth or desired consistency.
- Tear basil leaves and add to blender. Pulse in until minced.
- Taste soup, then add additional salt and lime juice to taste.
- Chill soup for at least two hours. Serve cold with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!