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Veggie Cook

Watermelon is most refreshing gazpacho

By Kay Stepkin, Special to Tribune Newspapers

August 14, 2013

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If you ever browse Internet recipes, you'll find a big difference in quality. Some may never have been tested. Perhaps they sprung from someone's fantasy of ingredients that go together and in which quantities.

And so, at GreenSpirit Healthy Living (greenspiritliving.com), I was delighted to find recipes that represent a tangible business. These dishes actually get made, get sold, get eaten.

On the site, GreenSpirit owner Linda Szarkowski promotes raw food and shares cool-tasting recipes perfect for summer or at any time you're trying to incorporate more uncooked food into your diet.

Traditional gazpacho of southern Spain tastes like liquid salad. It contains tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber and garlic. Through the years, cooks from a variety of cultures have created variations, but none more thirst-quenching than gazpacho made mostly from watermelon.

Preparation of this version couldn't be simpler nor the flavors more complex. "It can be made mild or spiced up with more jalapeno," says Szarkowski. She calls it "summertime in a bowl."

Tips

I cut the tomato with a serrated bread knife instead of my usual chef's knife and found it sliced much better. An unwaxed pickling cucumber requires no peeling.

Watermelon gazpacho

Prep: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 (about 5 cups)

Note: The gazpacho can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator two to four days. If making ahead, wait to add the herbs before serving for the best fresh flavor.

Ingredients:

5 cups watermelon, seeded
1 cup diced tomato, about 1 large tomato
½ cup each, diced: cucumber, jicama, red bell pepper
¼ cup cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons each: lime juice, mint leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 green onion, minced
½ jalapeno, seeded, minced
½ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Puree 4 cups of the watermelon in a blender; pour into a large bowl. Dice the remaining cup of watermelon; mix with the puree. Add tomato, cucumber, jicama, red bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice, mint leaves, ginger, green onion, jalapeno and salt; stir to combine. Grind in pepper to taste. Serve with a mint leaf as a garnish.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 77 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 23 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 362 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking instructor and former owner of a vegetarian restaurant/whole-grain bakery. Email her at foods@tribune.com.