Muhammara Gazpacho is a cold soup that’ll warm your heart

Illustration for article titled Muhammara Gazpacho is a cold soup that’ll warm your heart
Graphic: Rebecca Fassola

Welcome to Turn Off The Oven Week, featuring creative ways to beat the heat and stay far away from your stovetop.

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Gazpacho is one of those dishes that elicits strong and occasionally irrational reactions. “Cold soup!” exclaim the pessimists, “If I wanted frigid vegetable liquid, then I’d order a juice!” Oh, those poor souls, who always see their glass of frigid vegetable liquid as half empty. They’re viewing things from the wrong perspective. What if gazpacho isn’t a thick juice, but a thin dip?

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Just about everyone loves thick vegetable-based dips like guacamole, hummus, and good ol’ bean dip. But what happens when you run out of chips? Do you abandon the dip? Of course you don’t—you just scoop it out and lick it off your fingers. It’s certainly not an ideal solution, but it’s a hell of a lot better than letting good dip go to waste. Now, imagine that the dip is a little lighter, a little more refreshing, and a lot more acceptable to eat with a large spoon. That’s cold soup! It’s a sippable dip for go-getters who have no time to waste seeking chips. This is a dip lover’s dream come to life.

This riff on gazpacho is, in reality, one of my favorite dips thinned out with tomatoes. I use jarred roasted red peppers because they consistently have a clean, sweet flavor, but if you want to roast your own over an open flame, go right ahead. Aleppo pepper is a spice you’ll probably need to purchase online; I love the stuff and highly recommend using it, but if you can’t wait 5-7 business days because you need your muhammara gazpacho now, it’s fine to forge on ahead without it.


Illustration for article titled Muhammara Gazpacho is a cold soup that’ll warm your heart
Photo: Allison Robicelli
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Muhammara Gazpacho

Makes a bit less than 2 quarts

  • 1 (6-oz.) bag shelled walnuts
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 3 fat cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Aleppo pepper
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped roasted red peppers

Put the walnuts in a dry skillet over high heat and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant—depending on your stove, this can take between 5 and 10 minutes. Once they’re toasty, put one cup of the walnuts in a food processor. Seal the remainder in a small container and set aside.

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Add the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, pomegranate molasses, garlic, spices, and salt to the food processor, then turn it on and let it go for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula, then continue processing for about 2 minutes until a mostly smooth paste forms.

Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl once again, then add the crushed tomatoes and roasted red peppers. Puree until smooth, then pour the gazpacho into containers and refrigerate for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.

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Before serving, roughly chop the leftover toasted walnuts into small pieces. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings as you see fit. Serve with chopped walnuts on top, and perhaps a drizzle of pomegranate molasses for a little extra razzmatazz.

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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DISCUSSION

Aleppo pepper is a spice you’ll probably need to purchase online; I love the stuff and highly recommend using it, but if you can’t wait 5-7 business days because you need your muhammara gazpacho now, it’s fine to forge on ahead without it.

if not, then a bit of smoked paprika in its place will get you part way there, though without the citrusy “bite” of the Aleppo pepper.