When it’s mid-summer and too hot to even think about cooking, make this soup. Toss a handful of things in a blender and, before you know it, you have something cool and refreshing yet surprisingly satisfying. The latter is thanks to tahini, the sesame seed paste that’s most commonly used to make hummus. It lends creaminess and nutty flavor but, more importantly, it adds a bit of protein and healthy fat, which turns this chilled soup into a light meal. My favorite part, though, is the crispy spiced chickpeas. They also add protein but, really, they’re there for the textural contrast they give every spoonful. Just be sure to make them right before you serve the soup, as they’ll lose their crunch if made too far in advance.
1/2 cup (115 g) tahini, well stirred
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup (28 g) packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup (28 g) packed fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 large (about 2 pounds, or 908 g, total) English cucumbers, unpeeled and roughly chopped
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
For Crispy Spiced Chickpeas:
1 (15-ounce, or 425 g) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Serves 4 to 6
To make the gazpacho: Place all the ingredients, along with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper, in a blender, preferably high-speed. Blend until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender, as needed. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.
Transfer the gazpacho to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Taste
again and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed, before serving.
To make the crispy spiced chickpeas: (Make these right before serving as they’ll lose their crunch if made too far in advance.)
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 450F (230C).
Place the chickpeas on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkled with cumin and salt, and toss well to coat. Spread into an even layer. Roast, tossing halfway through, until crispy and lightly browned in spots, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
To serve, divide the gazpacho among bowls and top with the crispy chickpeas.
Garnish with a few cilantro leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
Reprinted with permission from Mediterranean Every Day © 2020 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Text © 2020 Sheela Prakash Photography: Kristin Teig Photography. First Published in 2020 by The Harvard Common Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.
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