Moroccan-Inspired Cherry Gazpacho Recipe

Gazpacho is one of the staples of Spanish (and particularly Andalusian) cuisine. The chilled soup highlights the freshness of such Mediterranean produce as tomatoes and cucumbers and is a cooling respite from the hot summer sun. This particular iteration, however, isn't one that you're likely to find in Spain. Instead, imagine this gazpacho traversing the Strait of Gibraltar, through Tangier, and into the deserts of Morocco — where a chilled soup would certainly still be a welcome sight.

This gazpacho recipe from Tasting Table Lead Recipe Editor Ryan McPhee throws cherries into the mix. The inspiration for this is twofold: as a play on ajo blanco (a white variation of gazpacho featuring green grapes) and as a nod to the stone fruits like apricots, dates, or olives (yes, olives are technically a stone fruit) one might find in a North African tagine. The result is not exactly a dessert soup, but rather a refreshing dish that incorporates sweet elements into a savory preparation, a core feature of Moroccan cuisine.

So, don your apron and grab your passport, because we're going intercontinental — culinarily, at least.

Gather the Moroccan-inspired cherry gazpacho ingredients

A majority of the ingredients used in this recipe are ones you'd find in a typical gazpacho: white bread (ideally slightly stale, which helps yield the right texture once blended), tomato, cucumber, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil. Our recipe strays a bit with the addition of Bing cherries for sweetness and plain Greek yogurt to assist in the creamy texture.

The remaining ingredients are ones you'd more likely find in a Moroccan souk than an Andalusian mercado. To round out the gazpacho, we use pistachios as a nod to the almonds in ajo blanco (almonds are also common in Morocco, but we're partial to the pairing of pistachios with cherries), ras el hanout (a Moroccan blend of several spices, including cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom), mint, and, if you so wish, orange blossom water. A little goes a long way, so we'd recommend using less than a teaspoon, but the floral aroma complements the fruity notes of this soup nicely.

Step 1: Cube the bread

Remove the crust from the bread and cut the slices into cubes.

Step 2: Thin the yogurt

In a medium bowl, thin the Greek yogurt with some water (about ⅓ cup). The consistency should be similar to pancake batter.

Step 3: Soak the bread

Add the cubed bread to the yogurt mixture and toss to combine. Set aside.

Step 4: Prep the cucumber

Peel and halve the cucumber. Roughly chop one half; set aside the other half for later.

Step 5: Prep the shallot

Peel and roughly chop the shallot.

Step 6: Prep the tomatoes

Halve 5 of the tomatoes. Remove the seeds and roughly chop.

Step 7: Chop the pistachios

Finely chop the pistachios. Set aside 2 tablespoons for later.

Step 8: Pit the cherries

Pit the cherries. Set aside 8 for later.

Step 9: Add the gazpacho ingredients to a blender

To a blender, add the yogurt-bread mixture, chopped cucumber, shallot, chopped tomatoes, cherries (still reserving 8), chopped pistachios (still reserving 2 tablespoons), garlic, salt, pepper, ras el hanout, sherry vinegar, ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, and orange blossom water (if using).

Step 10: Blend the gazpacho

Blend on high until the mixture is smooth.

Step 11: Chill the gazpacho

Transfer the soup to a large container, cover, and chill for 4 hours or overnight.

Step 12: Prep the garnishes

Meanwhile, prep the garnishes: Finely dice the remaining tomato and cucumber half; quarter the remaining 8 cherries.

Step 13: Ladle the gazpacho

Taste the gazpacho and adjust seasonings, if needed. Ladle into 4 chilled bowls.

Step 14: Garnish and serve

Garnish the bowls with diced cucumber and tomato, quartered cherries, the remaining chopped pistachios, mint leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.

Can you make gazpacho in advance?

We have some good news for meal preppers out there: Gazpacho is an excellent make-ahead meal for summer. In fact, it's actually kind of necessary, as you should give the gazpacho at least a few hours of rest time in the fridge after making it.

The first reason for this is practicality. You want the soup to be well chilled; that is what makes the dish so tempting on a hot summer day (whether or not you're in the south of Spain). Secondly, that chill time also gives all of the pureed ingredients time to marry, creating a cohesive, mellow flavor. Just keep in mind that you'll want to taste test your gazpacho after the soup has chilled, as our taste buds tend to require more seasoning on cold foods.

You can even freeze the gazpacho once blended. Normally, the high water content in the tomatoes and cucumber negatively affects their texture once thawed from frozen, but that's not as much of an issue in a puree like this. A return trip to the blender will help re-emulsify the thawed gazpacho if it has separated.

How do you pit cherries without a cherry pitter?

There are all sorts of nifty cherry-pitting devices out there, from handheld gadgets to hand-cranked machines that can spit out mountains of pits in minutes. But, if you have limited kitchen real estate — or are just averse to single-purpose appliances — you can go the MacGyver route and fashion an effective workaround with a bit of creativity.

If you have a metal drinking straw or a spare set of chopsticks, just hold a cherry over a bowl and carefully push the straw or chopstick through it. The pit should plop out pretty easily, but if not, just reposition the cherry on the implement and use your fingers to finish the job. Your hands will likely turn an interesting shade of red, but you'll at least have a bowl full of pitted cherries. We've also seen people have success removing cherry pits with wooden skewers used for grilling or even metal pastry tips.

Moroccan-Inspired Cherry Gazpacho Recipe
4.5 from 2 ratings
This take on Spanish gazpacho features influences from Morocco, including the use of sweet fruit (specifically cherries) and the ras el hanout spice blend.
Prep Time
4.5
hours
Cook Time
0
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
two bowls of gazpacho
Total time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 thick-cut slices of white bread
  • ⅓ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 small shallot
  • 6 medium tomatoes (such as Roma or Campari), divided
  • 12 ounces Bing cherries (about 2 cups), divided
  • ⅓ cup pistachios
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, loosely packed
Optional Ingredients
  • ¾ teaspoon orange blossom water
Directions
  1. Remove the crust from the bread and cut the slices into cubes.
  2. In a medium bowl, thin the Greek yogurt with some water (about ⅓ cup). The consistency should be similar to pancake batter.
  3. Add the cubed bread to the yogurt mixture and toss to combine. Set aside.
  4. Peel and halve the cucumber. Roughly chop one half; set aside the other half for later.
  5. Peel and roughly chop the shallot.
  6. Halve 5 of the tomatoes. Remove the seeds and roughly chop.
  7. Pit the cherries. Set aside 8 for later.
  8. Finely chop the pistachios. Set aside 2 tablespoons for later.
  9. To a blender, add the yogurt-bread mixture, chopped cucumber, shallot, chopped tomatoes, cherries (still reserving 8), chopped pistachios (still reserving 2 tablespoons), garlic, salt, pepper, ras el hanout, sherry vinegar, ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, and orange blossom water (if using).
  10. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth.
  11. Transfer the soup to a large container, cover, and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
  12. Meanwhile, prep the garnishes: Finely dice the remaining tomato and cucumber half; quarter the remaining 8 cherries.
  13. Taste the gazpacho and adjust seasonings, if needed. Ladle into 4 chilled bowls.
  14. Garnish the bowls with diced cucumber and tomato, quartered cherries, the remaining chopped pistachios, mint leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 385
Total Fat 25.3 g
Saturated Fat 4.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 3.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 35.6 g
Dietary Fiber 6.9 g
Total Sugars 19.2 g
Sodium 565.3 mg
Protein 8.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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