For the third post of the series, I wanted to create a dish for the hot summer weather. What’s better than a cold bowl of gazpacho brimming with veggie goodness? Low-cal, good for your skin and delicious – what else could you ask for?
I’m always trying to increase my veggie intake, but it’s been somewhat of a challenge to get those 5-8 servings a day. So whenever I come across a dish that helps me drink my veggies instead of eating them, I’m game for it! Gazpacho is the perfect way to “drink” your veggies and it’s also one of the best ways to cool down on a hot summer day.
I enjoy gazpacho, but sometimes it leaves me with a garlicky after-taste. I was inspired to create a flavourful soup without garlic, so I turned to ginger to add some zing. Since I had already decided to use ginger, I went one step ahead and created an Asian-inspired gazpacho. This gazpacho has rice wine vinegar for some subtle acidity and sesame oil for an exotic twist. Traditionally, gazpacho contains breadcrumbs, so to continue the Asian theme, I used panko breadcrumbs. Feel free to use regular breadcrumbs if you can’t find any panko at the local supermarket.
To add some crunch to the meal, I made brown rice crackers with black sesame seeds. These are by far the best crackers I have made! They are super crunchy and have a slight nutty flavour that’s irresistible. I am munching on them as I write this post. Hopefully, I’ll have some left by the time my husband comes home :).
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 small green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
3/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
1.5 cups chilled water
1 lime, juiced
salt to taste
green onion for garnish
1 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp black sesame seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup hot water
salt to taste
Step 1: Start by preparing the crackers. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix the rice flour, black sesame seeds and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix until evenly distributed. Pour the hot water into the mixture and blend well.
Roll the dough into small balls and lay them out on a silicone baking liner (Silpat). If the dough is crumbly, add a little more hot water.
Step 2: Press the dough balls into thin, round crackers. The best way to do this is to place a plastic sheet (I used a sandwich bag) on top of the dough ball and press down with a flat surface (glass, plate, etc.)
I used the flat end of my measuring cup to flatten the dough balls (as shown in the images below).
Once the dough has been flattened as much as possible, remove the plastic layer carefully.
Your crackers are ready for baking.
Step 3: Bake the crackers for 25 minutes. Set aside on a cooling rack once done. The crackers will crisp up nicely once cool.
Step 4: Prepare the veggies by de-seeding and chopping (as indicated in the ingredient list). It’s not important to remove the skins of the tomatoes, cucumbers or zucchini – you’ll retain more fibre in the gazpacho that way.
Step 5: Blend the tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, ginger, shallot and green chillies with the chilled water in a bowl. I used an immersion blender to prepare the soup, but feel free to use a regular blender instead.
Note: Make sure the seeds and inner membranes are removed from the chillies, otherwise you’ll end up with a super spicy soup! If you’re not a fan of spicy soups, omit the chillies altogether.
Step 6: Add the rice wine vinegar, salt, sesame oil and lime juice to the gazpacho and blend well.
Step 7: Add the panko breadcrumbs to give the soup some body. Mix the crumbs into the soup with a spoon and not a blender to retain some of the texture.
Chill the soup for 10 minutes and serve with the brown rice crackers. You can garnish the soup with green onions and diced tomatoes.
I’m always a huge fan of refreshing foods in the summertime and it really can’t get more refreshing than a chilled gazpacho. With the following juicy and antioxidant-rich ingredients, you are sure to restore some much needed hydration back into your skin, especially if you have spent too much time baking in the sun.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a red carotenoid known to protect the skin against photo-damage and environmental pollutants. Studies have shown that increasing your intake of lycopene can lead to smoother skin.
Cucumbers: Because cucumbers are primarily made up of water, they are considered one of the best vegetables for hydration. It also contains Vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin responsible for collagen production. Silica, another major component of cucumbers, contributes to healthy and radiant complexions.
Zucchini: Zucchinis are high in dietary fiber, which is necessary for optimal intestinal health (and thus, skin health). Vitamins C and A work to provide antioxidant and skin-soothing benefits. Zucchinis also contain manganese, which has the ability to augment levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), a powerful free-radical scavenging enzyme. SOD has been used extensively in skincare as a powerful anti-aging ingredient. Manganese also facilitates the production of proline, the amino acid that promotes the production of collagen, to help build stronger, more resilient skin.
Ginger: Ginger is one of my favourite ingredients because as a child, it has always helped me with nausea or stomach aches. For the skin, ginger provides antioxidant benefits and can double as a skin-calming anti-inflammatory agent.
Let us know how it goes – leave a comment!