Tomato season is in full swing.  And if you planted tomatoes in your garden like I did, you may have more tomatoes than you know what to do with.  Here’s one suggestion…Gazpacho soup.  Easy & refreshing, it’s a great soup for these late (and hot!) summer / early fall days.  The soup really brings out the fresh flavor of ripe homegrown tomatoes.  This recipe is from a friend who studied in Spain.

 Gazpacho Soup

¼ onion chopped

4-5 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped  (to deseed a tomato, simply quarter and squeeze.)

1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped

2 cucumbers, peeled, deseeded, and chopped  (to deseed cucumber, halve and scrap seeds with spoon)

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp lemon zest

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

1 avocado and Italian parsley for garnish (optional)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.  Serve in small bowls and top with chopped avocado and parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

Nutritional benefits of tomatoes:   Tomatoes are best known for their high beta-carotene levels, especially lycopene, which protect against various types of cancer including breast, prostate, colon, lung and skin.  Additionally, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, biotin and vitamin K.  Eating lycopene with a fat (i.e. olive oil) improves absorption and use in the body. Tomatoes provide the highest nutritional content when fully ripened on the vine.  Red tomatoes have up to 4x the nutrients as green tomatoes.

Although tomatoes are incredibly nutritious, some people can be sensitive to tomatoes and other nightshade vegetables and not realize it.  Anyone with chronic pain or arthritis would do better avoiding tomatoes all together.

What are you doing with your tomatoes?

References:

Murray, Michael. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, New York:  Atria Books, 2005.

Rogers, Sherry A., M.D.,  Pain Free in 6 Weeks,  Sarasota, FL:  Prestige Publishing,  2001