I have been meaning to post this Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho recipe for a few weeks now. Every time I tried to pull it off there was some other responsibility (day job??) getting in the way. Ugh. We’ve almost missed watermelon season which is at its peak May through August for domestic watermelons (March through May for imported). Since it’s well into September at this point we are really at the tail end of the season. (The same goes for Hatch Chile season – something new to me now that I live in Austin, Texas.) But it’s not TECHNICALLY fall yet so I’ll squeeze this recipe post in right before the finish line. You know, the date at which everything becomes “pumpkin spice” flavored?
We like to support local farmers and other vendors. So in August, the boys and I purchased a gigantic, beautiful watermelon from a local farmer at the Lonestar Farmers Market. Hello, Mr. Farmer! He said he started out the day with his truck piled to the top with huge, juicy watermelons. We got there just in time to snag one of his last remaining melons.
It was the perfect ripeness.
The sheer size of the watermelon called for a recipe that could be made and then frozen for future use. Soup?! Gazpacho – ah, yes, something fresh and cool – not requiring cooking. Given that in Texas it was also Hatch chile season (new to me) I tried to come up with something that might work with Hatch chiles. Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho was born.
All I had to do was assemble the right ingredients.
And pop them into my Vitamix.
I ended up testing the recipe several times to get the flavors right (I certainly had enough watermelon!). The Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho is tangy and sweet with just enough kick for a little extra excitement. Even using a whole Hatch chile did not make for a really hot and spicy soup. When I made it with half a jalapeño, THAT was getting to be on the hot side. So you can decide what you prefer. I suggest starting with a smaller amount of chile and then adding more and tasting as you go until you get it just right for your taste.
We are still not totally moved into our house in Texas so I raced around trying to find a suitable dish for photographing the Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho. The only thing I could find that was remotely appropriate was this martini glass. At first I thought it was just for a photo and no one would actually use this to serve soup. But I ended up loving the way it looks and it probably would make a pretty spectacular first course at a luncheon.
Regardless of serving vessel, you can make the gazpacho more beautiful and delicious by adding some toppings before serving. The red bell pepper is eye-catching along with the white and green of crunchy, sliced scallions. Diced avocado would be gorgeous as well as delicious. Even some micro greens would be nice.
The Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho recipe is vegan and paleo – full of healthy fruit and veggie ingredients as well as healthy fat. The sweet and spicy flavor is strangely addicting. You may find yourself contemplating tipping the martini glass like a drink (as I was tempted to do). Make this gazpacho while there are still some tasty watermelons in the market. You won’t be sorry. Afterwards you can give yourself permission to have a pumpkin spice something-or-other.
- 1 to 1½ pounds cubed watermelon (approximately 4-6 cups)
- 1 medium ripe tomato, roughly chopped
- 1 seedless (English) cucumber, diced, reserve half for topping
- ½ red onion, diced, plus more for (optional) topping
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced, reserve half for topping
- 1 hatch chile (or ¼-1/2 jalapeno), seeded and roughly chopped (may substitute other peppers to taste)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- juice of one lime
- 1-2 teaspoons sea salt (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- scallions (green onions), finely sliced for topping
- diced avocado, for topping (optional)
- Set aside the reserved diced cucumber, red onion and red bell pepper.
- Place the remaining cucumber, red onion and red bell pepper in a blender along with the watermelon, tomato, chile, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Add in the reserved diced cucumber, red bell pepper and onion and chill for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
- Serve individual bowls topped with sliced scallions, chopped cilantro and (optional) avocado.