Thursday, June 17, 2010

Veggie Might: Fruit Gazpacho for the Overcommitted

Written by the fabulous Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about all things Vegetarian.

We’ve all had these weekends. One day the calendar is empty; you are free to do as you please. Then suddenly, you find that every hour is booked with something Very Important—much of it fun, but still—and your weekend looms like a wobbling Jenga tower.

If you’re like me, the quivering shadow does not mean you will scale back or reprioritize. No. You will keep stacking the pieces, praying to the Scheduling Gods that no one pulls out the wrong block. But I usually do.

However, when one of the activities is a Sunday afternoon potluck/barbecue for 13 foodie adults (plus two wild-eyed cherubs), this recipe for fruit gazpacho will save your sanity.

Fast, cheap (depending on seasonality), and totally manageable, the steps are make a fruit salad, and zap it in the blender. Even chilling in advance is optional; a few ice cubes will do the trick in a pinch.

The peeling and chopping took about 40 minutes, but I found the mindless labor soothing after the blocks took a tumble Saturday afternoon. Once chopped, the fruit needs just a few minutes in the blender or food processor, and you’re done.

Because the fruit is well in season, there is no need for added sugar. The mint adds that je ne sai quoi that all my friends are catching on to. It used to be my secret weapon, but it’s become a trademark. Add mint to just about any fruit dish and you will receive praise to the stars.

Use just about any fruit you like. I found watermelon to be a terrific addition because it was on sale (!) and provided a good amount of liquid. If you opt out of the melon family, you may need to add more juice.

My little fruit soup experiment was a surprise hit at the rain-soaked barbecue. It was delicious if I do say so, and refreshing on what started out to be a sticky, hot day. Despite the rain, it was a perfect Sunday afternoon. I didn’t even care when half the gazpacho hit Kris’s kitchen floor. The blocks had fallen the day before, perspective had been regained (thanks CB), and I was among friends.


If you’re tickled by this recipe, you’ll flip for

The Last Strawberry Fruit Gazapacho
Yields about 16 oz and approximately 6 servings

1 cup watermelon
1 cup pineapple
1 cup mango
1 cup mixed berries (I used strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.)
1 cup orange juice
2 tbsp lime juice
10 mint leaves, chopped

1) Wash and chop fruit into coarse chunks. You don’t have to be neat about it; it’s all going into the blender/food processor.

2) Whiz the lime juice, watermelon, and yellow fruits together in the blender 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into large bowl or storage container.

3) Combine berries and orange juice in the blender. Zap for 2 minutes or until completely pureed.

4) Add chopped mint leaves and blend for couple of minutes or so.

5) Strain out the berry seeds if you want/have the patience (I didn’t bother). Pour the berry mix into the watermelon mix, and stir to combine.

6) Chill for at least 2 hours or cool down with a few ice cubes to serve immediately.

7) Garnish with mint sprigs; serve to mmms and wows.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price per Serving
60 calories, 0g fat, 2g fiber, 1g protein, $0.58

1 cup watermelon: 46 calories, 0g fat, 1g fiber, 1g protein, $.56
1 cup pineapple: 74 calories, 0g fat, 2g fiber, 1g protein, $.75
1 cup mango: 107 calories, 0g fat, 3g fiber, 1g protein, $.50
1 cup mixed berries: 65 calories, 0g fat, 5g fiber, 1g protein, $1.03
1 cup orange juice: 112 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 2g protein, $.50
2 tbsp lime juice: 14 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $.13
10 mint leaves: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $.02
Totals: 358 calories, 0g fat, 11g fiber, 6g protein, $3.49
PER SERVING (TOTALS/6): 60 calories, 0g fat, 2g fiber, 1g protein, $.58

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