Cucumber Melon Gazpacho with (or without) Shrimp

With shrimp (photo by Patrick Lyons)
I have absolutely loved making this chilled soup every Summer since I came across the recipe on epicurious a few years ago. Right around the same time that I start to crave freshly squeezed margaritas, lazy beach days and gelato, this recipe invariably finds its way back into my repertoire. Gazpachos are always a great Summer option- light, healthy and refreshing, but the cucumber and melon in this version make such a delightful pair…Bath & Body Works really hit the nail on the head with their ubiquitous scent combo, and for good reason: cucumber and melon are cousins, after all, so of course they get along famously! 
The best part is that it comes together in no time, so it’s perfect to serve at summertime get-togethers. It works as both a starter or main course…I’ve even prepared it as a soup shooter for a larger event paired with a zippy Sauvignon Blanc, and people went crazy! I had numerous requests for the recipe that day, so ta-da, here it is. The balance of cooling flavors with just the right amount of heat make this soup a showstopper any way you decide to serve it up. 
Vegetarian option: sans shrimp, sub cantaloupe!
Though it is super simple to prepare (just chop and blend), the addition of zesty flavors like ginger, garlic, hot sauce and fresh herbs make this gazpacho anything but boring. Another bonus is that this recipe is easily adaptable- just omit the shrimp for an even faster vegetarian option, and you could also skip the yogurt to make it vegan-friendly (although I’m partial to the mint green hue and fuller texture that the yogurt imparts). 

adapted from epicurious
3 cups cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped, plus 1/4 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (for garnish)
2 scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup assorted fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, and mint, coarsely chopped, plus ¼ cup finely chopped (for garnish)
1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup cantaloupe, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sriracha (optional)
1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, cooked, and roughly chopped (optional)

1. In a blender or food processor, combine coarsely chopped cucumber, scallions, 1/2 cup of herbs, ginger, garlic, olive oil, and yogurt and process until smooth. Stir in salt and pepper to taste along with sriracha, if using. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors mingle.
2. In a small bowl, stir together shrimp and/or cantaloupe and remaining diced cucumber and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Divide soup evenly among bowls and top each with dollop of shrimp/melon mixture.

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