Hot or cold, this sweet pepper gazpacho will delight

By Jim Bailey

This cold soup is just as delicious when you omit the ricotta and add 2 cups light or heavy cream and gently warm it over low heat, topped with a few flavored croutons. Yankee Chef logo
Gazpacho is traditionally made never touching heat. A variety of vegetables are chopped then processed in a blender until fairly smooth, then served with a rustic bread. Although I find this satisfactory, it’s not the texture I admire completely. I find that cooking a portion of the ingredients makes for a smoother and more flavored meal, if you can call it that. This makes a great lunch served with a hot, grilled vegetable sandwich. Although neither contains meat, the meal is truly satisfying.

Sweet pepper gazpacho

red pepper gazpacho

Red pepper gazpacho is good hot or cold.

3 red bell peppers
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chili pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 cup Ricotta cheese

Preheat the broiler and set broiler pan 3 inches from heat source. Half and seed bell peppers. Line peppers skin side up a baking sheet. Place under broiler until black and blistered, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove peppers and seal in a large resealable bag. Set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so until cooled. Remove and under cold running water, rub the blackened skin off. It should come off readily. If not, don’t worry about any remnants of blackened skin left, it only adds to the flavor.

Chop the peppers roughly when cooled; set aside. Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes and scoop out seeds. Roughly chop and place in a large skillet with chopped onions, olive oil, bell peppers and vinegar. Cook over medium heat until onions are soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, carefully pour into a large bowl and let cool completely, uncovered, about an hour in refrigerator.

Put this in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, and process until smooth. Remove to bowl, add chili pepper and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and let set until serving time in the refrigerator. Place ricotta cheese in a bowl and with a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the cheese until creamy; set aside.

Right before serving, add the maple syrup to the gazpacho; mix well. Divide the gazpacho among plates or bowls, garnish with dollop of whipped ricotta cheese, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serves 4

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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