Meatless Monday: Grilled Avocado Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Gazpacho

On yesterday’s post, I noticed that I said I’d share a Bloody Mary with you. My apologies. Everyone deserves their own Bloody Mary. It’s only right.

No one took a guess on what I used Spicy Hot V8 for, but I’m sure you know now after reading the headline.

I made gazpacho, basically because it’s just a fun word to say. Gaz-pacho. Let’s see how many times I use the word in this post.

I was inspired by a vendor at the Coronado Farmers Market to make one and I was also given some beautiful avocados from the market manager. It was fate, staring me right into the eyes.

Gazpacho is basically a cold soup made with raw vegetables, no cooking involved. It’s especially delicious when the weather’s warm and here in SoCal, the weather’s been pretty beautiful. Of course, as I type this today it’s cold, wet and rainy.

The gazpacho was an experiment for me. I winged it and I think it came out pretty darn good. I do wish it was just a tad bit smoother, but it still went down nice. And it’s really good when you dip your hot and cheesy grilled sandwich in it. There’s a nice contrast of flavor, temperatures and textures.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Tomato Gazpacho

  • 1 1/2 pound of tomatoes, roughly chopped and seeded (I used orange. I recommend orange heirlooms if you can find them, but any tomato will work)

    Too much time in the tanning booth...
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded, plus thin slices for garnish

    Scoop out the seeds with a spoon
  • 1/2 can of spicy hot V8 tomato juice

    "I'm Spice-ay!"
  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped (any color will work)
  • 1/2-1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 shallot, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3 tsp. Tabasco
  • 1 Tbsp. EVOO, plus more if needed for thinning or flavor
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Turn It Into Gazpacho

  1. Dump everything in the blender, including seasonings.

    Before it was called gazpacho...
  2. Whirl it around until smooth (I blend on high, then liquify on high.) If it seems too thick, add some more EVOO.

    ...while it's becoming gazpacho...
  3. Taste it and adjust seasonings as you see fit. Does it need salt? More acid? More spice? Tasting as you go is always the best way to cook. Adjust to your liking, then hit blend again.
  4. Chill for at least an hour in the fridge. The flavors really marry if you let it sit in the fridge overnight.
  5. Pour into shot glasses and enjoy aside a hot grilled cheese (see below). Garnish with cucumber, cilantro and shallots.
    Phase Gazpacho: Complete
    Gazpacho close-up

    Gazpacho cuteness

Avocado and Havarti Grilled Cheese

  1. Get two slices of your favorite bread and spread the inside with a grainy mustard on both slices.
  2. Layer one slice of havarti cheese on each side of the bread.
  3. In between the cheese slices, layer avocado slices and salt and pepper.

    Another reason California is awesome
  4. Close up the sandwich and spread MAYO (yes, Mayo. It browns so nicely!) on the outside of both pieces of bread and sprinkle with Parmesan or Pecorino.
  5. Cook over medium heat on a skillet, smooshing the sandwich down with a griddle pan or a lid.

    Totally professional
  6. Cut in triangles and service with the gazpacho, dunking the cheesy goodness in the cold, spicy soup!
    I'm not shy about avocado, as evidenced here

    The marriage of two beautiful things...le sigh

Final Gazpacho count: 13. My lucky number. Fate comes through again.

Psst: I was soo excited to use this entertaining set I was given last year for my birthday from my MIL! I heart it.


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