Velvety Mediterranean Gazpacho with Avocado Cream (+ Cookbook Giveaway)

by | Sep 9, 2013
Velvety Mediterranean Gazpacho with Avocado Cream

Photo Credit: Leo Gong

Today I’m thrilled to share a recipe from The Longevity Kitchen, the fabulous new cookbook by Rebecca Katz, MS. Rebecca is a Marin-based nationally recognized cookbook author, nutrition expert and chef. She is the founder and director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal, which is dedicated to transforming lives through nutritional science and culinary alchemy. Her previous book, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, is a two-time IACP award-winner.

Rebecca was kind enough to share her amazing gazpacho recipe, which is a perfect use of the abundance of summer tomatoes that are flooding farmers markets this time of year. Filled with rich, earthy flavors like cumin, coriander and fennel, and blended until smooth as velvet, this gazpacho is a huge step up from the more traditional chunky versions.

We’re also giving away two free copies of Rebecca’s new book, The Longevity Kitchen. To enter simply leave a comment below explaining your biggest challenge to cooking healthy food at home. Two winners will be selected on Friday.

To learn more about Rebecca visit her website and follow her on Twitter @rebeccakatzyum.

Velvety Mediterranean Gazpacho

by Rebecca Katz

Some folks like shots of tequila. Well, my choice of a shot is much, much healthier. Take this Mediterranean gazpacho. It makes a hit of V-8 look like amateur hour. The great part about gazpacho is it’s really a vegetable orgy: cucumbers, red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, fennel, garlic.

At this point readers often scream, imagining they’ll look like a bunch of nine-fingered piano players after all that veggie chopping. Believe me, I know—at culinary school, gazpacho prep is the equivalent of Ninja Knife Skills Boot Camp, where teachers walk around the kitchen with (I’m not kidding) rulers to make sure each veggie is uniformly diced. That’s nuts, and unnecessary; here we toss everything–veggies, spices, herbs, oil–all into the Vitamix, add a little olive oil and shazam! It’s party time.

I took this to an Independence Day dinner and poured out the cheer into shot glasses topped with a little avocado cream. You know you’re doing something right when everyone corners you for the recipe (I’m an easy touch on that one). This is like a drinking a Virgin Mary. No hangovers. Promise.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: N.A.

Serves 8

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into quarters
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved and seeded, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup basil and, or cilantro roughly chopped
  • 3 cups tomato juice (low sodium, I like Knudsen’s Brand)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grade B Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon, sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8-teaspoon cayenne

Other Ingredients
  • 1 medium avocado
  • ¾ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil, coarsely chopped

To make avocado cream place the  “Other Ingredients” in blender and blend until very smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. No need to rinse blender before proceeding.

Place the tomato juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, spices, vegetables and fresh herbs in a high-speed blender and process until velvety smooth. Taste. You may need another pinch of salt or an extra drop of maple syrup. Pour into small glasses and garnish with a dollop of avocado cream.

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

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69 Responses to “Velvety Mediterranean Gazpacho with Avocado Cream (+ Cookbook Giveaway)”

  1. Kate says:

    “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen” is a wonderful book! My sister had Hodgkins Lymphoma a couple of years ago and I spent a weekend before she started treatment making a giant batch of the magic broth and several other recipes. Fortunately, my sister’s treatment left her relatively unscathed so she didn’t have very many eating/nausea/appetite issues, but was still grateful to have healthy, delicious food around. (She’s fully recovered and doing fine today, by the way.)

    I make several of the recipes — including the broth! — today, just because they are delicious and so healthful. So thanks to Rebecca Katz! A friend whose mother is currently ill with cancer also bought the book and is cooking her way through it.

    I’d love a copy of “The Longevity Kitchen.” I think the biggest challenge to cooking healthy at home, for me, isn’t time or inclination, but budget. I live pretty close to the bone and sometimes run out of money by the end of the month for fresh produce. I’m trying to solve it by keeping some frozen herbs and veggies and full dishes around and making sure my staples are ultra-healthy (dried beans, whole grains, interesting condiments, good quality spices, etc.).

  2. Ben says:

    My biggest challenge of cooking healthy is my ability to create superbly non-healthy mega-delicious food. I look at food and say tasty first, healthy second.

    I know I can cook healthfully and make it delicious. I need to focus my energy on healthy first, tasty second.

  3. Tim says:

    I’ll have to try this recipe this week!

    The hardest part about cooking healthy meals at the moment is work. I get home from work late and want to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen and then right to bed. I am trying to get better organized so I can have healthy ingredients ready to go at home all the time.

  4. Alessandro says:

    My biggest challenge of cooking healthy is that I simply don’t know how to make food that is healthy and delicious at the same time. As a live in Brazil, finding very good raw ingredients is the easiest part…

  5. Jessica says:

    Hi! This recipe sounds delicious! Thank you 🙂

    My biggest challenge is variety. I can come up with a few tasty healthy recipes, but then my mind goes blank! And if I search online or in books I need to have the exact ingredients and that turns out difficult if I don’t have them at home.

    I need to try more recipes so that I can remember them at home!

    Thank you 🙂

  6. Joy says:

    I love the concept of food as medicinal nourishment! We just got a bumper crop of tomatoes from our garden so this recipe is perfect. I would say my biggest challenge is re-creating healthy versions of delicious, but perhaps not-so-healthy comfort foods, and making healthy desserts. It’s a bit of work, but it is incredibly satisfying to make something like a raw date brownie and have it taste absolutely decadent.

  7. Teresa says:

    My biggest challenge is knowing what to eat and how to adjust things to fit in my diet. It’s a constant struggle to make good food good for me.

  8. Lisa the Kitten says:

    My husband and I are committed to cooking healthy meals at home, but our biggest challenge to that is that we live in New Orleans and there are SOOOO many tempting, not-so-healthy meals to eat out (and/or bring home) . . . this cookbook looks like a great way to get back on and stay on the healthy food bandwagon!

  9. Rebecca says:

    This looks delicious!

  10. Maya says:

    Full-time working, mother of 2 with a commute… I get home late and have to help with homework… Need recipes that don’t require much prep or many ingredients. Also, like things that make a good left-over lunch the next day.

  11. I absolutely love the idea behind your cookbook. I am learning more and more about the connection between the things we eat and how they affect our health.

    As a dietetics student in school full time, I find that my biggest challenge is cooking for one on a limited budget. I want to cook extravagant meals and share them with everyone, but I know that I can make healthy meals that make just enough for me and I am able to stick to my budget. It has been a learning process, but it is getting easier!

  12. Lisa says:

    Biggest challenge to cooking healthy at home is too many easy delicious options for eating out!

  13. Megan says:

    My barrier is that sometimes I’m just really hungry and will eat what I see (and not think about how much I’m eating)

  14. Ann Breitler says:

    Biggest challenge in cooking healthy at home is TIME and organization. If I had a repertoire of quick, healthy recipes that I could rotate through, I think I could do it!

  15. Anat says:

    My biggest challenge to cooking healthy food at home is time and energy. There are weeks where I end up relying too much on packaged foods like pasta and jarred sauce. And then there are weeks where I can spend hours every day in the kitchen, so it all depends on how crazy things are.

  16. Debora Scott says:

    Will definitely try this recipe after my weekly trip to my farmer’s market on Wednesday!

    I am pre-diabetic and come from a long line of family members with Type 2 diabetes. My biggest challenge is preparing family meals that keep my blood sugar low, while still appealing to the rest of the family. I am not on any medication, so find I really need to limit carbs to maintain tight blood sugar control. Luckily, I love to cook and experiment!

  17. laura says:

    My biggest challenge to healthy eating is the rest of my family. I have a husband and two teens who would rather eat pizza and Kraft M & C every night of the week than anything with a vegetable. If it were up to me, it would be farro and butternut squash and salmon (oh, my!) but I feel I have to compromise. And don’t tell me that I should just put healthy food on the table and leave it there for them to eat or else…my husband would lead the way to the mall for the food they want.

  18. Carol Clark says:

    The biggest challenge for me is deciding whether to prepare a serving of 4 (and eat it 4 times that week!) or try to make 1 serving. Freezing the extra meals doesn’t seem to work well.

  19. Jennifer Gronberg says:

    My challenge is time and money. I have been making small changes where I can. I have an acquaintance fighting skin cancer with his diet. I’d love to have the cookbook!

  20. Krista VonVett says:

    Cooking at home now comes a little easier, but I found that when I was a beginner it was hard for me to come up with recipes, epecially healthy ones. So, I started out making stirfrys, and experimenting with different vegetables and spices. I pretty much just made it up as I went, found out what tasted good, and what didn’t. Also, until I started doing that, I didn’t realize I could do it for so cheap. I spent a lot of my college life and after thinking that I had to eat pasta and sauce all of the time. I think that is one of the biggest misconceptions of healthy eating. If you learn to do it right, you can definitely have a healthy lifestyle and save money. You can have your cake, and eat it too!

  21. Jennie Townsend says:

    My husband and I are both dedicated to healthy eating but it’s difficult to balance because he is diabetic and his diet does not really provide everything I need. I watched my aunt physically and mentally deteriorate (and finally commit suicide) because she strictly followed the same diet her diabetic husband consumed. Obviously it was not just the diet but I do find it frustrating trying to get it right and provide proper nutrition for both of us, especially as we are in the latter part of our lives.

  22. aubrey bach says:

    I need to get better at prep. For some reason, I’m the slowest prepper ever. This sounds perfect for me!

  23. Charlotte says:

    My biggest challenge to eating healthy is TIME! Probably the most over-used excuse in the history of establishing any good habit. But seriously, if I haven’t gone grocery shopping I’ll eat whatever someone offers me. Even if it’s a caprese salad that I’m actually craving.

  24. Megs says:

    My biggest challenge is having a healthy recipie on hand when I want to cook. Otherwise I fall back to something less healthy with processed ingredients.

  25. Pepperkorn says:

    It’s all mental for me. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I hate to even say what my latest excuse for not is… I want to save my healthy ingredients for that one dish I wanted to make – like Aloo gobi – “got the cauliflower oh but rats, none of peas I really like – well I’ll hold off until I get the peas” meanwhile caulifower rots. Cilantro – that’s a great excuse helper as in “Oh but that’s no good without the cilantro and mine went bad. I knew I should have bought more.” Seasonal too — “Oh that’s no good without fresh this or that (green peas, tomatoes) I’ll have to wait until next May to try that one.” I don’t feel unmotivated but clearly that’s the problem. When I think how lame I am, I don’t deserve a new cook book. (yes I DO roast my cauliflower now so I’m not as bad as I could be – and Delicata season is almost here!!!)

    I’ve heard great things about the Cancer Fighting Kitchen. It’s poignant how so many of my friends are sharing it. It’s really a great source of joy and sharing and humor when you all realize how life goes on – things are the same even thought lives may hang in the balance (or not, pray pray pray) What a great resource and strange feeling of normalcy Rebecca Katz put out there, world-wide!

  26. Cynthia says:

    Being single, my greatest challenge to healthy cooking is using fresh foods up before spoiling while still having some variety. I try to eat as fresh and natural (unprocessed) as possible, oven roasting or lightly sautéing, but need recipes to make soups or sauces that I can freeze for later use instead of tossing spoiled veggies into the compost. Hopefully, your new cookbook will solve my problem!

  27. Peter Heil says:

    Hi, As a husband and father, I find the most challenging part when cooking for the family is meeting their diverse range of tastes while keeping the food interesting but very healthy.

    Love this recipe!

  28. Shannon C says:

    Time is our biggest obstacle! Both of us get home past dinner time most nights during the week, so we have to try to make big batches of things on the weekends and then be willing to eat that same thing all week. SOmehow we make it work… usually.

  29. Hannah says:

    My biggest challenge is to use up produce before it goes bad. I live alone so I don’t want to buy too much, but some things like spinach only come in big tubs. I’ll just toss everything into a soup before it goes bad, but I could use some help on this front!

  30. Donna F. says:

    My biggest challenge is that I have zero creativity in the kitchen. Because of this, I tend to eat the same things over and over, which sometimes leads me off the healthy eating path.

  31. Christopher says:

    Awesome! So glad you brought my attention to these great books.

    While time and budget are certainly big hurdles on the path to a healthful diet, they are not insurmountable. In our family, it is the family which proves the most difficult challenge.

    My wife cannot eat several healthy foods, including Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts, for they cause intestinal distress. The kids won’t eat beans. One child won’t eat cooked tomatoes, another can’t stand onions or mushrooms.

    Creating a meal plan that works for all appetites is tough!

  32. Kate says:

    My husband and I are vegan, and eat all organic from our garden or local Farmers’ Market. Four years ago I was diagnosed with severe gastroparesis – my stomach is totally paralyzed and I am on a liquid diet from here on out. I am also diabetic and an endurance cyclist, and it’s been really difficult to find help with my diet; nobody seems to know what to do with someone with my restrictions who wants to remain as active as I have been. Maybe Rebecca Katz’s cookbook can help!

  33. Vivian Cheng says:

    I love your blog! I love that its saving my life! Thank you!

    The mostcooking and eating healthy at home in Beijing is the lack of good, clean, and pesticide/fertilizer free veges in local markets. In Beijing, due to the amount of competition, its difficult to find an honest source of good quality fruits/vegetables that has not been tainted to some degree.

    For example: I recently found that my “organic” produce supplier of late (a home-delivery “Organic” farm) used pre-treated soil to grow their crops. Thereby eliminating the need to add more pesticide while simultaneously alowing them to bypass the laws governing “organic agriculture”. And, due to the complete lack of government interference, this farm shall continue their practice until something goes terribly wrong (which is unlikely).

    Another instance of foul play in food/health markets is my produce supplier preceding the aforementioned. It is common practice for very well-known organizations to request their consumers to pre-pay for services. it has become common for pop-up copycat companies hoping to steal a buck or two–to do the same. After paying for a full year of home-delivered vegetables, the company packed up and left without a trace. ConsumerReports? Too late. Reporting to the government? You shouldve been more careful. With no lines of communication open and a shut down website, the company literally disappeared.

    Of course there are higher-end markets from which to buy “organics” but it doesnt help if dont have the time to go and purchase them. Moreover, there is a heavy, heavy tax to pay for the “claim” of “healthy” and “natural”.

    ConclysiveLy, I love Beijing as a city. Full of wonder and reality; everyone and everything to love. It is very hard to exist in a hard-driven and MSG-loving society as a health-conscious vegan. Long live America!

  34. Kimber says:

    I have a few challenges to healthy cooking.
    1-My budget. We are working super hard to stick to a budget that will let us be debt free in a few months. I have a lot of food storage – but real food doesn’t store well. And I’m torn between spending money on real food or eating my food storage to save money. I’m hoping to find a balance between the two.
    2-Time/hunger. I work full-time and am so HUNGRY when I get home from work that I want food NOW. I don’t want to have to prepare things. And I don’t have a large enough arsenal of healthy fast dishes (which is why I’d love this cookbook)to whip up something, so I fall back on less healthy and more processed foods.
    3-Getting others to like the healthy food. I grew up eating a lot of vegetables (mostly salads) and so I like and want to eat vegetables. My husband’s family however rarely had vegetables, so it’s hard to convince him we should be having more vegetables and healthier food. Also I am a food and nutrition teacher and it’s really hard to get my students to eat the healthier food when I buy it. They’ll make the recipe, but then not eat it. Perhaps this book would help me have more healthy recipes that they’ll enjoy and want to eat.
    4-Going to the store is sometimes a hassle (especially when I have my fully stocked pantry and food storage and freezer to eat from). I need to train myself better to stop at the store to get fresh ingredients to make real food.
    5-I love sugar and desserts. They are my vice.

  35. Annie says:

    My biggest challenge when it comes to cooking healthy food is that I’m too lazy to figure out good recipes, and by the time I get around to making healthy recipes the vegetables or whatever that I’ve bought have usually gone bad. By the time I get home I’m so tired I just want to get take-out or make something easy like ramen or frozen burritoes.

  36. Jennifer D. says:

    My biggest challenge to healthy cooking is the lack of time for planning (and sometimes even shopping). In addition, I have a child who is resistant to eating anything green and a husband who needs his meat. On the flip side, I have no desire to eat meat any more but don’t want to be cooking three different meals when we all eat together. There…I said it. I would love to win a copy of the cookbook though…the recipes look so easy and full of taste….it seems like something I could handle.

  37. Adele says:

    My biggest challenge to healthy eating is finding the energy and motivation to cook, especially after a long, stressful day. I try to make some things in advance but other things are better freshly prepared.

  38. Dena says:

    My biggest challenge is myself and being consistent. I must a VERY large elephant.

  39. Janel says:

    My biggest challenge to cooking healthy at home is that I’m not always at home. I travel a lot and it’s hard to find healthy choices out and about in restaurants sometimes.

  40. Suzanne says:

    Definitely will try this recipe, and thanks so much for your website, Darya! My biggest challenge is learning, and then remembering which foods I should be eating or not eating based on my particular health factors. I just learned for the first time, there are foods that suppress thyroid function… I am in the hypothyroid range, and you guessed it, for years, my diet has consisted mostly of the foods I shouldn’t be eating. I’m shocked that I was not aware of this earlier! Also, I’m dealing with Fibromyalgia (which I’ve learned is thyroid related), complications from a Nissen Fundoplication (stomach wrap for GERD), and borderline-high blood pressure. Am working on improving my health through dietary changes, but “Fibro-fog” doesn’t help matters. It takes a lot of mental energy and focus to learn what foods are right for all of these issues combined.

  41. Shawn says:

    Looks and sounds great, can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Biggest challenge is time but definitely do better when I plan ahead and get some things made on the weekends. Love soups in the winter but don’t think to make summer soups. This is perfect!

  42. Dave says:

    Need to hire someone to do all the healthy cooking for me because I just don’t have the time 🙁 Perhaps need to make health a bigger priority.

  43. Heidi says:

    Always time. As people have said planning helps, but making time is always the challenge.

  44. Peggy says:

    My biggest obstacle is THINKING I don’t have enough time to make something healthy. When I come home from work I don’t always want to cook, am already hungry (which limits my creative thinking capacity), so reach out my hand and what it encounters I put in my mouth. Sometimes it’s a good option, sometimes not. I just need a little more organization and pre-thought, perhaps. And a copy of The Longevity Kitchen for inspiration. 🙂

  45. Chasity says:

    My biggest challenge to eating healthy at home is planning ahead. If I haven’t planned ahead and gone to the store, or if I know I’m going to be busy but didn’t plan a healthy meal in advance, that’s when I end up wanting to have a tofu sandwich for dinner instead of anything involving vegetables. I know that my go-to junk meals are still healthier than other peoples (my tofu sandwich served on whole-grain sprouted bread versus someone else’s Kraft mac n cheese) but I’m not okay with just being healthier than the average person; I want to be the healthiest version of me I can be! (and that requires a little forethought and planning)

  46. Donna Davey says:

    My biggest challenge is coming up with fresh, healthy choices that will tempt my grandchildren, who have limited palettes.

  47. Brent Todd says:

    My biggest challenge is a two-fold one of timing. Both the time to prep a meal and the time to plan a meal. This isn’t just true of “healthy” eating as it is more true of just dinner in general. The rest of the meals are easier because I just have to feed myself, but dinner is for the entire family and that takes a bit more time to plan and prep.

  48. Tina says:

    My biggest dilemma to cooking healthy is twofold: I am single, so if I cook a meal, I end up having leftovers for 3 or 4 more meals. Secondly, I work full time, and am a graduate student, so by the time I get home in the evening I’m tired and still have to study! I’m getting there, though. I pretty much only shop at the farmer’s market, so I am eating a lot of organic, local produce (even if it’s just a raw tomato and corn on the cob). 🙂

  49. Alexandra says:

    My biggest problem is that sometimes I just do not exactly know what to do with the things I buy. Right now I have swiss chard in the fridge, and my mind is blank. I looked for some recipes online but nothing clicked for me. Perhaps I am overwhelmed with all the recipes I collect, a lot of times there is always some special ingredient that I am missing.
    I am suffering from over exposure to recipes, I have a sort of mental fog, in this area I guess.

  50. Alicia says:

    My biggest hurdle to eating well is carving out the time to make lunch for myself the night before work. Thanks for the book winning opportunity!

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