One of my fave healthy dishes!

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Hello friends!! Summer is busting out all over, at least in my garden and at my local farmer’s market. I have so many peppers and tomatoes I almost cannot keep up with picking everything. My herbs are exploding too, especially my basil. One of my basil plants is over three feet tall! 

  
So I’m trying to think of as many recipes as I can to utilize all of my gorgeous veggies (I know tomatoes cucumbers, peppers and avocados among others are members of the fruit family, but since I use them like vegetables, for the purposes of this post I am considering them veggies) and herbs. Inspiration always comes from the mouths of (my) babes for me. Jacqueline has mentioned gazpacho a few times this summer, and I thought that it would be a good idea to make it again. I haven’t made it in years, so as usual I turn to my handy dandy Vitamix blender to help me out in this endeavor. 

  
 The reason I like gazpacho, salsa and other tomatoey foods is because they taste SO GOOD. Additionally though, tomatoes are SO GOOD for you too. They are on the top of any list of super foods, have cancer fighting properties and are full of caratenoids- alpha and beta carotene, lutein and lycopene. Lycopene has the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids and tomatoes are LOADED with them. Tomatoes also contain three high powered antioxidants- beta carotene (works as vitamin A in the body), vitamin E and vitamin C. Most of us only get half the vitamin A we need, and a third don’t get enough vitamin C. Tomatoes also have loads of potassium (a cup of tomato juice has 534 mg and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has 454 mg). They are part of the famed Mediterranean diet which leads to lower death rates from heart disease and cancer. A cool fact is that when tomatoes are eaten together with healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, the body’s asorption of phytochemicals increases by 2-15 times. I love that because I’m usually combining tomatoes with one or both of those healthy fats. 

  
I love gazpacho in the summer, or anytime of the year actually I just really love it. It’s full of delicious flavor and it’s super healthy for you. Not just the tomatoes, but it contains lots of other veggies and heart healthy extra virgin olive oil too. It’s also really easy and it’s very low in calories. 12 ounces of gazpacho contains 106 calories, 637 mg of potassium, 3.3 g of fiber, 4 g of protein, 28% of your RDA for vitamin A and 81% of vitamin C. Very healthy, right?!!  My recipe is super easy and tastes so delicious that I can’t wait to share it with you now.

  
Valerie’s Gazpacho

  • 5 large tomatoes 
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 medium bell pepper
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder(I used Aleppo pepper which is a moderately heated, fruity spice used in Mediterranean foods)

Here’s the easy part. First rough chop all the vegetables and put them in the blender, then add the rest of the ingredients. Start with the blender on low and slowly turn it up to medium. Blend on medium for 30 seconds. And that’s it!

  
I garnish the gazpacho with chopped cucumbers, cilantro, and thin slices of avocado for Jacqueline. 

  
In addition, I added 3 crumbled up tortilla chips to mine because I like the crunch. Salt and pepper to taste of course. 

  
I promise you this is easy and delicious. It is so refreshing and surprisingly filling. Don’t forget that it’s very good for you too! Try it, you’ll like it! It will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie! 🙂

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