Red Grape and Almond Gazpacho

by Gena on October 1, 2011

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A month or so ago, I was treated to one of the finest meals of my life by my friends at VegNews. The location? Portobello restaurant in PDX. The highlights of the meal? Where do I begin! There was a gnocchi from heaven, garnished with sweet corn cream; there were Italian cookies crispy and crumbly enough to make the folks at Veniero’s genuflect. And, most of all, there were soups.

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A trio of soups, each more delicious than the last. For me, there was a clear highlight, and that was the grape and almond soup (it’s the creamy looking one to the left). I’d never heard of such a combination before, and I was astounded by how delicious it was: sweet, of course, but also subtly tart and a little salty (sweet, tart, and salty: it’s my holy trinity).

I vowed that night, at the table, to recreate this dish. Since it’s now officially autumn (happy October, people!) and the season of farmer’s market grapes is upon us, I figured now was the right moment to try.

As it turns out, there are quite a few recipes for white grape and almond soup or gazpacho floating around out there on the internet. But most of them are not raw, and most of them are a little complex. Per my norm, I decided to keep mine very, very simple. All you need are fresh grapes (OK I’ll be honest: I did not use the farmer’s market variety; I used seedless ones from Whole Foods. You can too.) soaked almonds, apple cider vinegar, salt, and a willingness to try something wonderful and new.

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Red Grape and Almond Gazpacho (raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Serves 2, or 4-6 as soup shooters

1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes (or pitted red grapes)
2 tsps apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt
A dash of black pepper
1/2 cup grape juice (I made fresh grape juice from the juicer, but you could certainly purchase an organic juice from a brand you like)
2/3 cup almonds, soaked 8-12 hours
Water to thin (about 1/4 – 1/2 cup, depending on your consistency)

Handful raw almond slivers and 1/2 cup halved red grapes for garnish

1) Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till smooth. Check seasonings (add more salt if needed) and check the consistency: at this point (depending on how plump your grapes were) you might need quite a bit more water, or not very much at all. I needed no more than 1/4 cup.

2) Garnish soup with almond sliver and grapes. Mine sunk to the bottom of my bowl, which is why they’re largely invisible in my photos. A professional food stylist I shall never be.

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This is a great soup to serve as a small appetizer. It’s very rich, so you don’t need much to feel sated and delighted. If I were you, though, and I were serving this to guests, I’d take a cue from the folks at Portobello and I’d serve the soup in shooter glasses; it’s a fun way to have a mini-appetizer or an amuse-bouche that’s easy to prepare and highly unusual. And the creaminess and richness of this soup will lend itself well to such a presentation.

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The color, as you can see, is a beautiful but subtle pink/purple.

This soup serves as a reminder that the most unlikely of food combinations can prove to be stunningly tasty. And as far as raw soups go, it’s one of the more palatable and mild. I urge you to try it for yourselves! And since it’s a very simple recipe, I urge you to play around with the acid, salt, and consistency: I had to experiment quite a bit before I hit the right combination.

On that note, I have a hot date with this guy:

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Have a fabulous Saturday, guys!

xo

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah October 1, 2011 at 9:56 am

What a beautiful soup! I’m assuming the color comes from the almonds? I think I could see myself downing this soup pretty quickly.

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JL goes Vegan October 1, 2011 at 10:34 am

Okay, now you’re just showing off, you genius! I love this recipe, Gena! I cannot WAIT to make it!

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Christine (The Raw Project) October 1, 2011 at 10:34 am

This looks wonderful and simple, I need to try it soon! Agreed on the pics, gorgeous colors.

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Jen October 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

This is why I love your recipes. Simple, quick, and I know this will be delicious! Can’t wait to make this!

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Katie @ SerenityintheStorm October 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Yum! Looks filling and refreshing all at once. Thanks for the recipe!

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Wendy October 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm

This looks delicious! You are a raw genius Gena.

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The Delicate Place October 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm

that soup could almost be dessert?! also, are those your organic molecule set? i had fugly plastic ones, those ones are way more design chic with the wood. i hated orgo so much!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga October 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm

The soup almost looks like it could be a really fancy hors’ deourvs (<—always spell that wrong) if you serve it in a shooter glass or even a savory-ish or non-traditional smoothie. Depending on presentation, i.e. bowl, shooter, or big glass, you could go so many ways with it.

I love grapes and just picked up the most delish bag of red grapes that were on sale. They are perfect. You know when you find perfect grapes, crunchy, juicy, sweet…mmmm, it's the small things that make me happy.

Good luck studying!

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bitt October 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm

this dish doesn’t sound amazing to me at first, although i do love grapes and almonds. although it is the chefs that combine really unique flavors and find a way to make it work that are true superstars, as it sound like this chef (and you) are. i may have to test a small batch if I ever feel well enough to cook or uncook again.

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) October 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm

This looks delicious! A savory grape almond milk of sorts :) On my list of to-try recipes for sure.

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Ela October 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Sounds yummy, and isn’t it interesting how playing around with the seasoning and presentation can make the difference between a ‘soup’ and a ‘smoothie?’

Happy studies!

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Ali October 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Yum! This looks lovely! Haha, I am sure that the Whole Foods grapes were at least half as tasty as the farmers market grapes would have been. I have some grapes to eat myself tonight! I am in wine country BC right now, so I was lucky enough to score some local organic grapes. I wish you all the best with your chemistry date lady!

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Kate (Peacocks & Moonshine) October 2, 2011 at 5:18 am

I am usually not phased by new food pairings, but this one is different
Grapes and almonds seem so opposite
Soft, sweet, fleshy grapes
Hard, dense, crunchy almonds
But maybe that’s exactly what makes this recipe work so beautifully
Considering every recipe I try from CR is delicious, I am willing to look beyond my conventional thoughts and give this one a try next week
Thanks Gena :)

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blossjoss October 2, 2011 at 6:51 am

Just attempted to identify your element-color code in your modeling kit. *nerd alert*

MO bonding. I studied. I learned. I conquered.

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GetSkinnyGoVegan October 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Love the photos!!!! I always get grapes, WHEN I get grapes, from Whole Foods. OUR farmer’s market doesn’t have organic grapes!!! And I only get them a few times a year when I know the bunch I picked up won’t be a 35 dollar surprise at the checkout! OH how I hate the things sold by “weight” because I never actually check it prior!

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Jess @ Jess Go Bananas October 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I am almost weary to try this but it’s really enticing!!!

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles October 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I love how simple this recipe is! Salty/sweet is my favorite flavor combo. And your modeling kit is so much cooler than mine!

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Marlena Torres October 3, 2011 at 9:54 am

That soup looks too pretty to eat! Just kidding! I love eating pretty food, the prettier, the better! I can imagine this is the perfect balance of sweet with tang. Genius!

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Julie J October 4, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Just tried the soup tonight. Didn’t have any grape juice on hand and didn’t want to use the fresh grapes to make the juice, so I used the only juice I did have – banana juice. (Sounds weird, I know, but is good.) I used that in place of the grape juice and it made for a delicious soup.

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Nae October 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I made this. TOO sweet. Wish there was some way to bring that sweetness to more of a minimum.

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Gena October 21, 2011 at 8:18 am

Sorry! This one is a recipe that’s going to be an acquired taste.

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Rande October 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Its been days since this has been posted and I can’t stop thinking about it, whenever that happens (rarely) I know I have to make it. It sounds absolutely incredible.

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Magda October 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Looks delish! I have almonds soaking for this now but I don’t have grape juice or a juicer. Can I just throw some grapes and water in the Vitamix for a substitute?

Thanks!

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Magda October 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm

OK, just made this for lunch…. soooo good! and so easy! It is chilling in the fridge right now because I think it will be even better chilled.

It reminds me a lot of a raw yogurt recipe I was addicted to last summer. That one was made with cashews instead of almonds and I think this recipe would be just as good (maybe even better) with cashews too.

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