Elgin, IL

Easy Eats in Elgin: Fresh and Tasty Gazpacho

Sherry McGuinn

Perfect for the "Dog Days" of summer, and all those leftover tomatoes.

Photo byF Delventhal

Although I’ve never actually made it, the idea of enjoying a chilled, refreshing bowl of what is essentially a Spanish take on cold tomato soup is immensely appealing to me. The prep work for gazpacho, however, is not.

All the peeling, seeding, and blending, along with the manipulation of very sharp objects isn’t my jam, especially these days when my brain feels as if it’s farted out my last cognizant thought.

So, I pondered, “What about using V8 as a base?” Hmmm. Could work, no? I could have my gazpacho and eat it, too!

I looked it up and sure enough, found a recipe using 32 ounces of V8 Juice, either regular or spicy. For me, it’s spicy, all the way.

As the temps are hovering around 90 degrees here in the Chicago area, I’m going to the following recipe from Food.Com, but with my own twist, which I’ll share at the end of this piece.

But first, did you know that, according to The Los Angeles Times, most culinary historians say that gazpacho’s roots go back to Islamic Spain, sometime between the 8th and 13th centuries? That’s one, old-ass

This is how gazpacho was made back in the day: Garlic, salt, and bread were pounded in a mortar-like vessel called a Dornillo. Then, vinegar and olive oil were beaten in.

This resulted in a thick soup very much like a traditional hot soup that is still enjoyed in much of Spain, called Sopa de Ajo, as well as Ajo Blanco, the cold soup from Malaga also known as “gazpacho Blanco,” or white gazpacho.

Enough history. Here’s a fast and easy gazpacho recipe for your Vida Loca. Light, yummy, and good for you, as well.


  • 32 ounces V8 vegetable juice
  • 1 1⁄2cups chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced scallion
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper


  • Pour V-8 into a large bowl.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Cover and chill for 2 hours.

BOOM! How easy is that? Now, you know you can always eliminate or swap out an ingredient. Also, I would add more lemon juice because I love the bright tang it adds to so many recipes. Corn kernels, too, would make for another fabulous addition.

Now here’s my twist: A can or two of Italian tuna packed in olive oil. Dump it in with the rest of the ingredients and you have a heartier gazpacho for a perfect summer meal alongside a crusty loaf of bread.

If tuna’s not your thing, swap it out for fresh, cooked shrimp. You really can’t screw this up, folks, which makes it the perfect recipe for yours truly.

Finish it off with a dollop of Greek yogurt and dig in.

Now go make yourselves some gazpacho and let me know how you like it.


© Sherry McGuinn, 2023. All Rights Reserved.

Sherry McGuinn is a slightly twisted, longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. She is currently pitching her newest screenplay, “The Month We Fell Apart,” a drama with dark, comedic overtones inspired by a true story, as well as “DEAD TIRED,” a female-driven, erotic thriller.

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Chicago, IL

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