Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Vegan Twist on Tapas, Featuring Gazpacho!

Anyone familiar with traditional Spanish tapas can attest to the fact that the phrase "vegan tapas" is almost an oxymoron. Which means, of course, that tapas are exactly what CH was in the mood for on his b-day a few weeks ago! (Not vegan tapas, per se, but I digress...)

As a result, when I decided to make him a delicious spread of vegan tapas for dinner, I felt like I was grasping at straws. So, I kept racking my brain for ideas based upon the food that we encountered in Spain years ago. Unfortunately, that method wasn't exactly fruitful, particularly since all of my "tapas memories" consisted of downing pitchers of sangria while CH enjoyed jamón ibérico and various cheeses. Ick.

An hour or so later, after mucking about on The Google for far too long, I realized it might finally be time to throw in the towel. There were just no good tapas recipes out there - nothing that was catching my eye anyway. Maybe it was better to scrap my plan and chalk this vegan tapas idea up to temporary insanity. I mean seriously, I might as well be taking on French Haute Cuisine or something. Talk about un-vegan friendly!

That's when it finally hit me: who cares about tradition? Tapas are really just small dishes that are meant to be shared, right? So, what's the big deal if they aren't your typical meaty-cheesy-so-un-vegany things?

Yes, I guess you could say that I had a cuisine epiphany. I'm embarrassed to say it took me so long.

After that revelation, I got to work on a variety of tapas with a "Mediterranean" (ie: Spanish/Italian) flare.

Our meal consisted of:
  • Smashed White Bean + Parsley Bruschetta;
  • Pimento-Stuffed Green Olives;
  • Soyrizo (vegan chorizo) with Black Olives & Cilantro;
  • Creamy Spinach Risotto;
  • Garlic-Stuffed Green Olives;
  • Cheese & Crackers (CH's one, non-vegan bite)
  • San Pellegrino (to drink); and
  • Gazpacho, the star of the night.
For those of you unfamiliar with gazpacho, it's a cold, tomato-based, raw, vegetable soup. It originated in Spain, and has a well-deserved reputation for being refreshing, which is one of the reasons it's often served in the summer.

I know, I know - if you've never had gazpacho before, that description probably doesn't sound too appetizing. Cold tomato soup sounded like a pretty bad idea to this V-8 hater, too. However, it's one of those dishes that you can easily fall in love with at first bite.

I promise.

Recipe: Gazpacho
(borrowed from foodnetwork.com)

1 hothouse cucumber, halved & seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored & seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. tomato juice
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1.) Roughly chop cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, & red onions into 1-in. cubes.
2.) Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade, & pulse until roughly chopped. Do NOT over-process!
3.) After processing each vegetable, combine them all in a large bowl. Then add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
4.) Mix well & chill thoroughly before serving.

Yield: 6 (or more!) servings

(Print, Email, or Text this Recipe)

Note: I added sliced scallions and diced up avocado to the soup as a tasty garnish, and, frankly, I don't think the gazpacho would be complete without it. Some finely minced jalapenos or Sriracha sauce would make a great addition as well...


  1. Yum, that all looks delicious, I'll have to try the Gazpacho recipe next time I make tapas. Two of my tapas favorites are champinones al ajillo (mushrooms with garlic) which is super easy to veganise with lots of olive oil and garlic and also the recipe for spanish omelet from Vegan With a Vengeance.

  2. That looks like just the sort of meal I like to eat. Lots of little things with great taste.

  3. gimme gimme!
    Okay I've never been a fan of cold soups but y'know if YOU made it, I would eat it cause who knows good quality eats? JD!

    You sure know how to have a fiesta in your mouth!

  4. Oh wow... I can't WAIT to try the gazpacho!! I also loved the looks of your Smashed White Bean and Parsley Bruschetta. Yum yum!!! Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  5. All those tapas look great! Tapas are a wonderful thing.

  6. Ah, what a birthday to remember! The Gazpacho was a great mid-summer treat.

  7. Vegan tapas! Yaaay! This makes me so happy.

    And ohhh yes, San Pellegrino (or sparkling water in general, really) surely does make a meal complete.

  8. Ooo interesting and yummy too!

  9. Good on you for making tapas your own. All of them sound delicious (although much as I love soy I think I'd prefer actual chorizo which is why I'd be a terrible vegan!) Sounds like an awesome birthday feast :D

  10. I've never had tapas, so I'm sure this was just as good. It sure looks tantalizing.

  11. This looks like an awesome spread of food!! I've never had gazpacho and am a little wary but I admit it does look amazing. Though I feel like I should be dipping into it with tortilla chips!

  12. Yum, I love gazpacho and I especially love your addition of green onion and avocado garnish. I can't wait to try this the first hot day we get this week!

  13. Tapas are a lot of work and you made a bunch of great little treats! I think your gazpacho looks amazing. And anything cold sounds great to me!

  14. That gazpacho looks great! It's not usually my favorite, but I think I would love it topped with avocados! Great summer food.

  15. I've never made tapas, neither gazpacho..but I'll try it as soon as I have all the ingredients : )

  16. I love gazpacho... especially in the hot summer :)

  17. YUM ~ I LOVE Tapas because you get to try so many different things and that always makes a fun meal.

    AVOCADO makes everything awesome ~ it "almost" makes me want to try that gazpacho, now if I only liked gazpacho LOL.

  18. I've made plenty of gazpacho this season... But I never thought to put avocado on top. Brilliant! I'm definitely trying that for the next batch.

  19. Wonderful, this is perfect for my daily routines! aside from green juices, I think this will suite me well.

  20. OH MY GOD! I cant wait to try this out! Mouthwatering.

  21. The gazpacho looks divine. I was just looking up vegan tapas ideas, as I'm throwing a vegan dinner party next week for a bunch of omnivores. I cam across this site that you might find interesting. http://www.vegangela.com/2011/04/29/vegan-tapas/


Thanks for your comment - I love hearing from you!