Chilled Gazpacho with Crispy Chickpea “Croutons”
Most traditional gazpacho recipes include crusty bread as one of the key ingredients. However, this healthier, gluten-free version features crispy chickpea “croutons” as an alternative. Tip: Blending the fresh herbs with the vegetables yields a more robust, uniform flavor. However, this also affects the color of the finished soup. For a brighter red color, don’t blend the fresh herbs with the other ingredients when preparing. Finely mince and stir them in after blending, instead. Prep time: 20 minutes + chilling time Cook time: 15-20 minutes Serves: 4-6
Chickpea “Crouton” Ingredients:
1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided 1½ t. ground cumin ½ t. smoked paprika Sea salt and black pepper, to taste Gazpacho Ingredients: 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped 1 large red bell pepper, roughly chopped 1 large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped 5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped 2-3 fresh garlic cloves ¾ c. water 2 T. red wine vinegar 3 T. fresh lemon juice, divided ¼ c. fresh basil, roughly chopped ½ c. fresh parsley, chopped Sea salt and black pepper, to taste 1 medium avocado Optional: Sprigs of fresh basil and/or parsley, for garnish
Place top oven rack in the center position and pre-heat oven to 400°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a Silpat® baking mat. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with one tablespoon of olive oil, ground cumin, and smoked paprika. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and toss to combine.
Spread seasoned chickpeas onto the prepared baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven to roast until golden-brown and crispy, approximately 15-20 minutes. For more uniform results, turn the chickpeas or give the pan a good shake halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, finely dice one quarter of the red onion, bell pepper, and cucumber. Set aside.
Place the tomatoes, plus the remaining red onion, bell pepper, and cucumber in a food processor or high-powered blender. Add the garlic, water, red wine vinegar, two tablespoons lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and quickly pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth.
Transfer the gazpacho to a large glass or other non-reactive bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to overnight to chill.
Once the chickpeas are golden and crispy, remove from oven and set aside to cool. They will become crispier as they cool. Store in an airtight container if using the next day.
Right before serving, dice the avocado and toss with the remaining tablespoon lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside.
Before serving, taste the gazpacho and adjust seasonings, as desired. Transfer the chilled soup into individual serving bowls and top with some of the finely diced red onion, bell pepper, and cucumber. Garnish with the crispy chickpeas, diced avocado, and sprigs of fresh herbs, if using. Enjoy!