Classic Gazpacho

This classic gazpacho recipe is a vibrant red-orange and full of traditional Spanish flavor! It’s quick to blend up this…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This classic gazpacho recipe is a vibrant red-orange and full of traditional Spanish flavor! It’s quick to blend up this summer soup.

Gazpacho recipe

What’s better than a creamy, cool gazpacho on a blazing hot day? Sure, some Americans aren’t into cold soups. But this Spanish soup, born in the heat of Southern Spain, is the true definition of refreshing. The cool puree of tomato and cucumber against the zing of the sherry vinegar and rich olive oil is truly one of life’s great pleasures. Finally, we’ve got a great recipe for a summer gazpacho: made like the Spanish do.

What’s gazpacho, exactly?

Gazpacho is a cold tomato-based soup from the Andalusia region of Southern Spain. It’s made of raw, pureed vegetables and is now eaten around the world. An important thing about gazpacho: it’s intended as a refreshment on a hot day, not to be a filling main course! So it’s usually served as a starter or tapas recipe. There are a few similar Spanish soups, like salmorejo (creamier and made with bread) and ajoblanco (a white garlic version).

Lucky for us, Alex and I have been able to experience first hand a good, cold gazpacho in the Spanish heat! It was our first meal in country on a trip to Spain a few years ago, in a tiny restaurant in the center of a white-washed village. Dang, was it refreshing! Since then, we’ve been perfecting our perfect gazpacho recipe to recreate that special moment.

Spain travel | Frigiliana Spain
Here’s the Spanish village where we had the transcendental gazpacho

Ingredients in a classic gazpacho recipe

The ingredients in a classic Spanish gazpacho vary, like any traditional recipe. Everyone has their perfect way to make gazpacho! Here are the ingredients we selected to make this gazpacho similar to our perfect Spanish rendition:

  • Ripe tomatoes: only the best, ripe summer tomatoes will do
  • Cucumber
  • Red bell pepper
  • Shallot: this brings a more subtle flavor than onion, which can be spicy
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Sherry vinegar: traditionally used in Spanish recipes and brings in that authentic flavor
  • Smoked paprika: the secret ingredient! See below.
  • Salt
Gazpacho recipe

What makes this gazpacho recipe great

There are good gazpacho recipes, and there are great ones. We hope you’ll find this one to be in the latter category! We’ve studied the Spanish tradition and tried to stick as close to authentic as possible. Here are a few notes on what makes this recipe great:

  • Sherry vinegar and smoked paprika bring authentic flavor. Smoked paprika (aka pimentón) is a traditional Spanish ingredient and adds just the right hint of complexity here. Sherry vinegar is another Spanish ingredient, and it’s astringent flavor lends just the right flair. It’s worth finding for this recipe.
  • It nixes the bread. Some Spanish gazpacho recipes use soaked bread for creaminess, but it can dilute the flavor. Plus, we took cues from our favorite Spanish Chef (José Andrés) who doesn’t use it in his. Try a Salmorejo recipe for a bread-thickened soup.
  • It’s pureed, but not strained. Some chefs strain their gazpacho, but we like ours pureed, right from the blender. But we think a good gazpacho should be blended, not chunky! Chunky gazpacho seems to be more of an American creation, not Spanish.

Chill until cold, about 2 hours (or up to 3 days)

Gazpacho is very simple to make: simply throw the ingredients in a blender, and blend until pureed! The hardest part is waiting for it to chill. Here are a few notes:

  • Chilling makes it cold, and helps the flavors meld. Don’t be tempted to throw it in the freezer to speed things up. The timing helps the flavors to mesh while they also cool.
  • Refrigerate up to 3 days. Personally we like it within 1 day of making. But you can also make in advance and refrigerate until serving.
Gazpacho

How to garnish gazpacho

A great gazpacho is also all about the garnish! It works in either bowls or small cups or glasses. It’s most often served with chopped veggies and a crusty piece of bread. Here’s what to use for a garnish for gazpacho:

  • Chopped tomatoes, cucumbers or shallot
  • Fresh herbs like oregano, chives or basil
  • Crusty bread like crostini or grilled bread
  • Olive oil drizzle

More Spanish recipes

Love Spanish recipes? After studying in Spain years ago, I fell head over heels with this special cuisine. Here are a few more of the Spanish recipes we love to make at home:

This gazpacho recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Gazpacho

Gazpacho


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 small servings (about 4 cups)
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ripe quality tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped (about 3 large)
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt as needed.
  2. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours, or up to 3 days before serving.
  3. Serve topped with additional chopped veggies, a drizzle of olive oil, and toasted bread. 
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Gazpacho, gazpacho recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Spanish Paella Recipe

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish. Here’s a stunning one pan dinner that’s made for celebrations: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish has thousands of variations. but it’s always rice with an explosion of colorful toppings. This one is our best classic paella recipe, based on our travels through Spain! We’ve perfected the skills so you can try it at home. It stars saffron-scented rice, mixed colorful vegetables and shrimp, and it’s full of traditional flavor. Here’s everything you need to know to make paella at home! What paella types are there? Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with saffron-flavored rice topped with seafood, meat and/or vegetables and served in a shallow paella pan. There are varying sizes of paella pans: small pans for two people, and massive paella pans for a crowd. (Fun fact: the world’s largest paella was made in a pan big enough for 30,000 people!) What types of paella are there? Spaniards themselves differ on what is the most classic, authentic paella recipe. Alex and I have eaten paella in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, and all […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.

Paella Recipe

Here’s a stunning one pan dinner that’s made for celebrations: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish has thousands of variations. but it’s always rice with an explosion of colorful toppings. This one is our best classic paella recipe, based on our travels through Spain! We’ve perfected the skills so you can try it at home. It stars saffron-scented rice, mixed colorful vegetables and shrimp, and it’s full of traditional flavor. Here’s everything you need to know to make paella at home!

What paella types are there?

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with saffron-flavored rice topped with seafood, meat and/or vegetables and served in a shallow paella pan. There are varying sizes of paella pans: small pans for two people, and massive paella pans for a crowd. (Fun fact: the world’s largest paella was made in a pan big enough for 30,000 people!)

What types of paella are there? Spaniards themselves differ on what is the most classic, authentic paella recipe. Alex and I have eaten paella in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, and all of them have been vastly different. There are four main types of paella:

  • Paella de mariscos: Seafood paella with shrimp, prawns, scallops or mussels
  • Paella mixta: A mixed paella with seafood, meat and vegetables
  • Valenican-style paella (paella Valenciana): Chicken, rabbit, garrofó (a variety of lima bean), saffron, and rosemary
  • Paella de verduras: vegetarian paella with vegetables only
Spanish paella recipe

Ingredients in this paella recipe

For our best paella recipe, we used the common elements in the paella recipes we’ve had in different regions in Spain. Here’s what’s featured in this paella:

  • Traditional paella pan: you can also use a skillet (see below)
  • Bomba rice: you can also use arborio
  • Tomato, onion and garlic to make a quick “sofrito”
  • Saffron and pimentón aka smoked paprika
  • Mixed vegetables like artichokes, red pepper and peas
  • Seafood: you can also make vegetarian paella (see below)
  • Lemon wedges: garnishing with lemon is the perfect bright finish
Best paella recipe

What is the best paella pan? Do you need to use one?

A paella pan is a large round, shallow pan with handles used for cooking paella. The shallow shape lets rice cook consistently and lets it dry out more than it can in a skillet. If you have a paella pan or want one, now’s the time to use it! This recipe is for a 15-inch paella pan that serves 4 people. If you’re looking for one, here’s a link to purchase a 4-person paella pan.

Don’t have a paella pan? Don’t worry! Make this paella in your largest skillet. The larger the better! You may need to adjust the cook time slightly if you are using a skillet.

Paella pan care instructions: Paella pans are made of carbon steel and can rust. Make sure to dry the pan completely after cleaning it, and rub it with a bit of vegetable oil to prevent rusting.

Paella rice

What’s the best rice to use in paella?

The most authentic paella rice type is called bomba rice. Bomba rice is a white short grain rice. You can also use Arborio rice, which is easier to find but can result in a gummier texture than bomba. Either work! For this recipe we tried bomba and felt like it had more consistent results. You can find bomba rice online. Order it: Bomba rice

The secret spices: saffron and pimentón

This is an authentic style paella recipe, so it uses two special spices to get that traditional flavor. Here’s what to know:

  • Saffron brings an earthy flavor and a beautiful color to the dish. It’s an expensive spice, but it’s worth the splurge. What can you substitute for saffron? If you can’t find it or don’t want to splurge, use 1/2 teaspoon turmeric.
  • Smoked paprika: Called pimentón or Spanish smoked paprika, this bright red spice gives the dish more color and a smoky undertone. It’s easy to find and you’ll find it in many of our recipes here. (Here are our 20 best smoked paprika recipes.)
Easy paella recipe

Do not stir this paella recipe!

Once all the ingredients are added to the pan in paella, here’s what to do…or really, what not to do. Don’t stir it! Please repeat: no stirring allowed. The broth and spices boil through the rice, leaving everything perfectly flavored and cooked.

Traditionally, it’s good to get a brown crust on the bottom of the rice (perfectly brown, without burning it). The Spanish call this socarrat. It’s difficult to achieve the perfect socarrat because so much depends on the exact timing. It’s also a little harder to get it if you’re using a skillet. But never fear! Each time you cook this recipe, you’ll learn new things about perfecting your paella technique.

Paella variations

Variation: vegan and vegetarian paella

Don’t want to make a shrimp paella recipe? No problem. We love making vegan and vegetarian paella as well. (Or go to this Simple Vegetarian Paella.) Here’s what to do to customize this recipe:

  • Omit the shrimp! Obviously.
  • Add 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (1 1/2 cups cooked). Drain and rinse them, then add them when you add the vegetable broth.
  • Increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon. You’ll need it to flavor the chickpeas.

This paella recipe is…

Gluten-free, pescatarian, and dairy-free. For vegetarian, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the section above.

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Paella Recipe

Spanish Paella Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 roma or plum tomatoes (1 1/2 cups finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peel and deveined*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 cups seafood stock or vegetable stock 
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain Bomba rice or arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed under water
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
  • Lemon wedges from 1/2 lemon
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables: Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Finely chop the tomatoes, removing the cores but keeping the seeds with their juices.
  2. Measure out the ingredients: Measure out all the remaining ingredients before you start. The cooking process goes fast!
  3. Cook the shrimp: Dry the shrimp and add it to a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. In your largest skillet or a 4-serving paella pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute until it is just barely opaque, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp and set it aside.
  4. Cook the paella: In the same pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until just translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped tomatoes, the remaining 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and red pepper flakes, and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, saffron and 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle the rice evenly across the broth and tap the pan with a spoon to evenly spread the rice. Bring to a medium simmer and cook without stirring until liquid is absorbed, about 18 to 22 minutes (adjust the cook time as necessary if using a skillet).
  5. Adjust the heat as necessary: If your pan is large enough to span multiple burners on your stovetop, adjust the heat on each burner so you achieve a steady medium simmer. Rotate the pan every few minutes for an even cook.
  6. Add the artichokes and peas: When the top of the rice is beginning to show through the liquid (about 10 minutes into the cook time), press the artichokes and peas lightly into the rice.
  7. Assess whether the paella is done: In last few minutes, carefully watch the paella and rotate pan more frequently. As the paella finishes, you’ll see the steam start to slow down as the water cooks out. If desired, peek at the bottom of a pan by using a knife to scrape back the rice — you shouldn’t see any standing water. The sound will start to change from a simmer to a crackle. This indicates the crust is forming. Let the crackling continue for about 2 minutes before removing from the heat. If you smell any burning, remove immediately.
  8. Add the shrimp and serve: When the paella is done, add the shrimp to top of paella and squeeze the lemon wedges onto the top of the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of kosher salt and add the parsley, if using. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Notes

*Vegetarian and vegan variation: Remove the shrimp. Add 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) when you add the veggie broth. Increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Paella Recipe, Paella

More paella recipes

Love paella? Here are a few more options to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes