Gazpacho: The summer soup from Spain
This is an uncooked soup, really a salad in a bowl. The recipe was taught to the Spanish by the Romans who incorporated Spain into the Roman Empire.
Gazpacho is served chilled, slightly cooler than room temperature. The dysphagia patient cannot tolerate very cold foods.
For maximum flavor, I marinate the veggies. If you are short of time, you can skip the marinating.
Please make sure that your loved one can eat raw veggies.
A good blender with a flat bottom is best. The Ninja works well.
The Nutribullet or Nutribullet Rx are nutrition extractors and are good tools for the puree kitchen. The Vitamix is a restaurant quality high-speed blender and gives a smooth puree.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
4 large tomatoes, de-seeded, chopped
1 cucumber, de-seeded, chopped
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and cleaned, cubed (optional)
3 scallions, cut into slices, using the green and white parts
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 stalk celery, peeled to remove strings for dysphagia patient, chopped (optional)
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped (or cilantro)
1 thin slice jalapeno, no ribs or seeds (optional)
¼ cup olive oil (for the marinade)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (sherry vinegar is traditional)
4 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper (white pepper is best for the dysphagia patient)
½ cup V-8 lower sodium veggie juice or Knudsen Organic Very Veggie juice (more if needed to blend)
Fresh lime juice, as needed, for flavor (1 teaspoon to start)
Directions: Whisk together the oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, add the cut up veggies and marinate them for at least an hour in the fridge. This creates maximum flavor.
FOR THE PUREE:
Blend the veggies using the vegetable juice as needed to get the soup smooth. The celery will be rendered into a puree. If there are any strings from the celery, push the finished gazpacho through a mesh sieve with a silicone spatula to remove strings.
Begin on a low puree, pulsing for ten seconds to chop the vegetables, then puree for twenty seconds or until smooth. (The veggies make a thick puree when using a high-speed blender.) Puree should be smooth with no pieces of fiber or skin.
To thicken: Add a scoop of gel or powder thickener, as the manufacturer instructs, for a six ounce serving of soup. Any of the commercial thickening agents will work. Simply Thick, gel or powder, is my favorite.
Puree for 10 seconds. Refrigerate to make sure soup is chilled and at its peak of thickness. Do not chill too much, as very cold foods are not desirable for the patient with swallowing difficulties.
For complete discussion of instant thickeners, get the free download “The Science of Puree” from www.essentialpureel.com.
This gazpacho can be turned into a lunch with the addition of protein.
Add one sliced hard-boiled egg.
For vegetarian protein, add 8 oz. of silken tofu, cubed.
Tip: If you do not have good fresh tomatoes on hand, good canned and diced tomatoes will work, as they are picked at the peak of freshness and have good flavor. Organic, if possible, for clean eating.
Tip: For extra flavor, add a tablespoon of a good mild salsa, your favorite brand, to the puree. Common sense should prevail here.
DO NOT add tabasco sauce, a traditional accompaniment to gazpacho, because it is not safe for the swallow. You do not want the person with a swallowing disorder to aspirate because of the heat.
Notes from The Purees of Summer: Safe Grilling at the Cookout (recipe below)
Previously the person with swallowing disorders might have been discouraged when the family and friends enjoy the classic items of the summer cookout — burgers and dogs.
With the right tools and the right technique, the dysphagia kitchen may include the iconic dishes of summer, plus the classic sides. It is all a matter of the right equipment — the indoor electric grill and the high-powered buzz of the nutrition extractor.
Cooking technique: Gently grill, low and slow without a lot of charring. The flavors develop but the puree is safe for the swallow. It is better to tweak the dish than not to have the dish at all.
I use the example of a beef burger, but any burger will do —chicken, turkey, salmon, veggie, or black bean.
If you like to cook, by all means, mix up your favorite burger recipe and grill it low and slow, cooking it thoroughly. Season with salt and white pepper. Black pepper has large particles and is not safe for the swallow.
Once the dish is pureed, if there are larger particles than are recommended, run the puree through a mesh sieve with a silicone spatula.
Beef Burger Recipe (Other Burgers May Be Substituted)
The recipe calls for two burgers because one needs enough of the dish to fill the bowl of a mini food processor for maximum efficiency in operating the processor to get the best puree. If you are working with a Ninja, the blender has a double tier of blades. You need enough ingredient to get the blender to work. The same is true of the NutriBullet nutrition extractor.
Frozen Bubba grass fed beef burgers (or any other burger desired)
2 tablespoons water or broth
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 teaspoons mustard
Mayonnaise or vegetarian mayonnaise
Prepare the burgers according to package directions, on the grill or in a skillet on the grill or stove.
Remove to a plate and allow to cool.
FOR THE PUREE:
Break up the cooked burgers and add them to the bowl of a mini food processor, the pitcher of a double-bladed blender, or a nutrition extractor.
Add the broth.
Pulse ten times to break down the burgers.
Puree until smooth.
Add more broth if necessary.
At this point, condiments may be added to puree.
At the end: Add a teaspoon of instant thickener to bind the puree. The brands of xanthum gum thickeners are ThickenUp Clear, Thick and Easy Clear and Simply Thick. After the 10 pulses combine the thickener with the burger, wait a minute and allow the dish to set. Swirl Away!
For a complete explanation of Instant Thickeners, get the eBook The Science of Puree. This is a free download from the Essential Puree Bookstore. www.essentialpuree.com. As always, check with your health care professional.
HC: Thank you, Diane, for this huge contribution to the caregivers and those they provide care for. Pureed food is a topic that most people don’t even like to think about. You make it sound like a delicious alternative to a regular diet. We appreciate your generosity.
See more helpful articles:
HELP! Why Can't I Swallow?
A Speech Pathologist Explains Common Swallowing Issues: Causes and Coping
Mealtime With Dad: Caring for Someone with Swallowing Problems
Family Caregivers are the Heart of Alzheimer’s Care
Hearing Loss: Causes, Protections and Treatments
Aging in Place or Assisted Living: It’s About Choices