My colleague Kyle brought cucumbers from her garden to the office, graciously sharing the bounty of her nine (!) plants.  These were no ordinary cukes; nay, they were the size of small missiles. Since I failed two years in a row with cucumbers, I snatched one up pronto.

With this vision dancing in my head: cukes + tomatoes = gazpacho! The Spanish-inspired summer soup is one of my all-time favorites.

Everyone has a favorite gazpacho recipe. Some puree their gazpacho smooth. Some put bread in it as a thickener (truly Spanish). Lore claims that Christopher Columbus went forth on his explorations with an early version of it. I am not surprised.

My “recipe” is so eclectic that no batch is ever the same, but I like a toothsome gazpacho, with some chunks of veg so you appreciate the produce that made it possible. My secret ingredient is V-8. What’s your recipe?

Take a bow, tomatoes and cukes – you are a pairing made in heaven.


Saylor Place Gazpacho

1 small cuke or half of one of Kyle’s giant cukes, peeled & seeded

Several tomatoes, seeded

Half a bell pepper, seeded

Two tablespoons onion (Vidalia, scallions, chives, whatever is at hand)

Two small cloves garlic

Couple squirts of a umami item, like Worcestershire or soy sauce

Tablespoon of red wine vinegar

Tablespoon of olive oil

Sprinkle of CRR’s hot pepper flakes

V-8 juice


Whirl the veg in batches in your food processor to the size desired. Dump into a pitcher. Add V-8 in roughly a 2-to-1 proportion to the other ingredients, but hey, it’s up to you. The V-8 essentially provides the liquid base for the soup. Briskly whisk together until the oil emulsifies. Season to taste. Chill or serve at room temp.

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening