Watermelon Gazpacho

The delicate flavors of cucumber and watermelon go hand in hand to create a sweet-and-savory chilled soup, perfect as a first course on a hot night.

Makes 6 servings, generous 1 cup each

ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes

EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy

8 cups finely diced seedless watermelon (about 6 pounds with the rind) (see Tip)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, basil, parsley, vinegar, shallot, oil and salt in a large bowl. Puree 3 cups of the mixture in a blender or food processor to the desired smoothness; transfer to another large bowl. Puree another 3 cups and add to the bowl. Stir in the remaining diced mixture. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 116 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 296 mg sodium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (110% daily value), Vitamin A (45% dv). 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving.

TIP: Tip: Melon selection & storage: Look for symmetrical unblemished melons, without flat sides, that have a creamy yellow spot on the bottom indicating ripeness. At 92% water, this fruit should feel heavy when you heft it. Precut melon flesh should be dense, firm and appear moist. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or keep in a cool, dark spot. Cover the cut surface of melon with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

© 2008 Eating Well Inc.  Photo by Ken Burris