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You know spring is really here once you take a bite into that plump, juicy, bright red strawberry. We get excited when we see the “Pick Your Own” signs at area farms. This past Sunday the farmers market sold out in less than 30 minutes.

My mind is frantic with the many ways to use this irresistible fruit. There’s the expected strawberry shortcake, strawberry agua fresca, strawberries and cream, strawberry ice cream, strawberry-rhubarb pie … the options are endless.

After a recent salad of mixed greens, strawberries and goat cheese, I wondered how strawberries would taste in a gazpacho-style soup; a savory smoothie of sorts. I played around with a few different ingredients. A gazpacho base can offer many different outcomes. Mix and match different combinations of vegetables and fruit to come up with a flavor balance that you enjoy. It’s okay to play with your food.

Strawberry Basil Gazpacho

strawberry basil gazpachoWhat you need:

  • 6 c strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 2 lbs)
  • 8 sweet mini peppers (red, yellow, orange) or about 2 c diced
  • 1 lg English cucumber, peeled and chopped (about 2 c)
  • 16 grape tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1/2 c)
  • 1/2 c plus 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 c Devo Olive Oil Strawberry Balsamic
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 32-oz container vegetable stock (4 c) or water
  • 1/2 c basil leaves
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 c yogurt

Garnish:

  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1/2 c yogurt or buttermilk
  • 8 strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 4 basil leaves, finely chopped

What you do:

  • Add strawberries, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes to lg bowl.
  • In sm mixing bowl add 1/2 c olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.
  • Pour over strawberry mixture and toss to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • In large sauté pan, heat oil over med-high heat and sauté onion until translucent, about 5-7 min.
  • Add garlic and cook 2-3 min.
  • In lg saucepan add onion mixture and stock.
  • Bring to boil and reduce heat.
  • Add strawberry mixture and simmer about 5-10 min.
  • Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • In small batches, add strawberry mixture to blender and puree on high speed.
  • If you like a thinner soup, strain through fine-mesh sieve and return to blender in small batches.
  • Add basil and blend for 1-2 min.
  • Add yogurt and pulse to mix.
  • Repeat with remaining batches.
  • Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Garnish:

  • Blend goat cheese and yogurt until smooth.
  • Place dollop of goat cheese mixture on top of individual soup serving.
  • Top with diced strawberries, cucumbers and basil.
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