Fresh, ripe tomato is gazpacho’s key ingredient number 1.
So, what if you are craving for this refreshing soup but don’t have good ones at hand?
In this post I’ll show you what alternatives you can use.
Refreshing, with a perfect combination of savory taste and tanginess, packed with veggie goodness…
No wonder gazpacho is one of the most popular cold soups in the world!
And as you can drink it from a glass, it can also be considered as a beverage, like a sort of savory smoothie.
But what if you don’t have good tomatoes at hand?
Can you make gazpacho when you don’t have ripe tomatoes?
Can you make gazpacho from canned tomatoes or from tomato juice?
The bad news: any kitchen lover (and any person in Spain) will tell you to please never ever use anything other than fresh tomatoes to make gazpacho.
Even as a person who tends to prefer the easiest recipe versions, I agree there’s a HUGE difference between the taste of gazpacho made with fresh tomatoes and if done with tomato juice.
My theory is that this difference in taste and texture comes because juice and canned tomatoes are pasteurized to make them last longer on store shelves.
You can even experience this difference when buying already-made-gazpacho: the non-pasteurized versions taste much better than the pasteurized ones (although you guessed it: their shelf life is much shorter).
That said, as a person raised in South Spain who now lives in a Central European country, I know how difficult (and expensive) it is to gather enough tomatoes to make gazpacho.
And what’s more, it’s near impossible to get the adequate ones for gazpacho like these juicy heirloom tomatoes:
So, for those of us who can’t afford big amounts of fresh tomatoes but still want to make a homemade gazpacho, let me tell you a little secret: I’ve done some experimenting with tomato juice…
Is it as good as real gazpacho?
Not by far.
But the good news is, if you are okay with “gazpacho-like tomato juice” (which I am okay with, because it’s delicious!), there are recipes that will allow you to enjoy something like this tasty veggie drink in a couple of minutes.
And the best part? They are very easy and quick to make.
How to make gazpacho with canned tomato
How to make gazpacho with tomato juice
Let’s make it clear one more time: this is NOT an authentic gazpacho (please don’t tell my Spanish friends and family I shared this recipe).
But if you want a juice that tastes similar to gazpacho when you don’t have access to fresh tomatoes, you can get a decent alternative to your gazpacho cravings by substituting tomato with tomato juice.
Vegetable juice (like V8) also works.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
How to make a delicious gazpacho drink from tomato juice
- Gather ingredients
You’ll need tomato juice (vegetable juice also works), cucumber, green pepper, a peeled garlic clover, white vinegar and olive oil.
*Tip: if you happen to have some fresh tomato, adding it will enhance the taste of this juice (even if it’s very little or not the ripest one)
Blend the chopped vegetables together with the juice until smooth.
Optional – if you find your gazpacho-juice too runny, you can add some bread.
I like adding chickpeas instead of bread: adding chickpeas is in no way traditional in Spain, but since this is already a very free variation, I include it here as a further secret suggestion.
- Chill before serving
Taste and add some seasoning if needed (salt, celery salt…).
Serve cold, but adding ice is not recommended, so it doesn’t get too watery.
Other substitutions for this recipe
While the taste and texture won’t be the same as for a gazpacho made with raw veggies, you will get a taste similar to gazpacho with this alternatives:
The closest alternative for real tomato are tomato juice, vegetable juice (like V8) and canned diced tomato.
Check below for the exact equivalents when switching fresh tomato for juice or canned tomato.
You can swap raw garlic for some garlic powder – 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder equals 1 garlic clove.
- Green pepper:
Original gazpacho calls for green pepper, but red bell pepper also works for this recipe. If you don’t have any pepper, you can also skip the pepper altogether.
- Bread (optional ingredient):
You can also use cooked chickpeas instead of bread to make this drink thicker: it also tastes good and it makes the drink more satiating.
- White wine vinegar:
I strongly recommend sticking to white vinegar. Furthermore, I encourage to use a good sherry vinegar if you have some.
But if you don’t have any, you may also use red wine vinegar or even lemon juice or lime juice instead.
The ingredient I haven’t found any good alternative for are cucumbers.
Tomato juice gazpacho recipe
- Blender or food processor Any type works
- 1 Cup Tomato juice (or vegetable juice such as V8)
- 2 Oz. Cucumber (50 gr.)
- 1 Oz. Green pepper (around 20 gr.)
- ½-1 Peeled garlic clover
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar (choose Sherry wine vinegar if you can)
- 1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
- -Wash your veggies and chop them.– Peeling the cucumber is optional (unless the skin is very thick: then please peel it). You only need to remove the seeds if they are from the hard sort.– Peel the garlic and remove stem.
- Put all the ingredients in a blending safe recipient and blend until smooth.
- Serve cold. Adding ice cubes is not recommended.
- If you have some fresh tomato (even if it’s only a couple of cherry tomatoes), adding it to the blend will make this juice much more original-like.
- I like drinking my gazpacho, but if you are looking for a more soup-like result, try adding some bread to the ingredient list.
FAQs to replace the fresh tomatoes in gazpacho
1 kg fresh tomatoes can be substituted for:
a) 28-ounce canned tomato
b) 800 gr. canned tomato
This means you could make this gazpacho recipe for 4-5 servings with a 28-ounce canned tomato or two 400 gr. cans.
Make sure you use diced tomato and not cooked tomato purée.
You can substitute 3 tomatoes or 250 gr. (half pound) for a cup of tomato juice.
Both tomato juice and vegetable juice that contains tomato provide similar results.
The gazpacho-like taste comes from the blend of the tomato base with cucumber and the decent accent of raw garlic (rounded of course with some white wine vinegar and olive oil), so there is not such a big difference between using tomato juice or vegetable juice.
While authentic gazpacho needs fresh tomatoes, if you don’t have any, you may get a similar taste by substituting the tomato for canned tomatoes, tomato juice or vegetable juice.