I was about to make my favorite juice of cucumber, celery, watermelon, mint and lemon juice.
And while I was looking at the cut vegetables and fruits I just decided to try and make a dish using them instead of juicing. This is how the idea was born.
I made a simple, green gazpacho using the celery and cucumber, added some chopped white onion, a garlic clove and a slice of the watermelon. Seasoned generously with salt, a little bit of lemon juice and a pinch of ground black pepper.
I wanted to keep the clean freshness of the cucumber and celery. Why? Because of the grilled watermelon. In case you never grilled watermelon before I highly recommend you try it.
It changes its taste drastically, also the texture is modified. The sugar gets caramelized and intensifies the flavor. It is the richness of the grilled watermelon that made me keep the gazpacho light and not to season it heavily. During grilling I seasoned the watermelon with some salt and cayenne pepper. The touch of heat was so yummy in the sweet, rich watermelon.
I also made some goat cheese cream because it goes very well with both the watermelon and the greens. Its salty tang is just the perfect extra touch that really makes this simple, healthy, beautiful summer soup…. well, something special. 🙂
For the vegan version the only change I made is to leave out the goat cheese cream. You can simply make a thick cream of any of your favorite nuts and drizzle that over the soup. I decided to make the soup creamier with blending soaked cashews into the soup. This is the reason for the different color. This is a quicker way to make the soup, it is up to you how you want to make it.
If you want to keep the soup raw you will have to skip grilling the watermelon. This will however change the taste completely. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can vacuum the watermelon, it will get compressed and its taste will also intensify and the texture will be modified too. This is a good way to make this soup entirely raw but also add something extra to the watermelon.
For garnishing in both soup I used the leaves and blossoms of anise hyssop and arugula oil.
Anise hyssop has a bit of anise taste so if you don’t like that or just can’t find the herb, mint is a perfect replacement.
Hope you enjoy the version that suits your diet and celebrate the summer with this beauty!
Ingredients (yields 4)
- 3 cucumbers
- 8-10 celery stalks (depending on the size and how much celery taste you like in the soup)
- 1 thick slice of watermelon
- 1 white onion
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- salt, lemon juice, ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon chevre at room temperature (soft goat cheese)
- 2 tablespoon goat milk (if you substitute with milk it will not have that intense goat chees flavor, but still works)
- 4 slices of watermelon, keep the rind on while grilling
- olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper
- Chop all the vegetables and blend well in your blender. Season with salt, black pepper and a little bit of lemon juice. Pour in a container and keep in the fridge to make sure it is cold when serving.
- For the goat cheese cream, using a fork mix the soft, room temperature chevre with the goat milk and season with salt.
- Grill the watermelon just before eating the soup. It will be the best warm, off the grill with the cold gazpacho.
- Brush both sides of the watermelon with olive oil. Season very lightly with salt.
- Grill one side. While grilling, season it with cayenne pepper lightly, only on the second side.
- Flip the watermelon and grill the cayenne pepper seasoned side too.
- For plating pour the soup in shallow bowls, drizzle the cream in spots, add small cubes or triangles of grilled watermelon an sprinkle some chopped anise hyssop or mint or even basil over the soup.
For the vegan version
- Follow all the steps as above. Leave out the goat cheese cream.
- For a nut based cream simply blend same amount of soaked nuts with same amount of filtered water and strain. Use the cream as it says above in the instructions.
- Alternatively if you want to save some time, or prefer, blend 1/2 cup of soaked cashew in the soup and make the soup a creamy texture.