dr. orna’s beat-the-heat watermelon gazpacho

I’m not much of a cook in the best of times. (Seriously. I’m writing a whole book about this.) And hot summer days stuck in the city definitely are not the best of times for me.


A few years ago, I discovered a concoction that made the heat more tolerable, something that I’d actually prepare: Watermelon gazpacho.


Dr. Orna's beat-the-heat watermelon gazpacho recipe


We think of watermelon as a sweet summer treat, something that’s too tasty to have many health benefits.


But watermelon will surprise you.


Just one wedge gives you nearly 40 percent of your Vitamin C for the day, and one third of your Vitamin A. That includes the antioxidant plant chemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, which support healthy vision.


The fruit also offers a good chunk of potassium — an electrolyte we lose on hot, sweaty days that, among other things, helps keep our blood pressure in line. Two slices of a deep red watermelon deliver 18 percent of our daily requirement of potassium, plus 14 percent of our magnesium and 12 percent of our copper. (I got these numbers here.)


One joy of this recipe is that you don’t have to stop at two slices!


I find watermelon gazpacho an important cooling and hydrating remedy. It’s perfect for those times you feel nauseated from the heat but you still need to eat something. It’s basically a sweet and savory salad, except you make it in a blender and drink it cold.


Watermelon gazpacho established its space in my regular summer rotation during wildfire season a few years ago. Burning forests in the Columbia River Gorge rained ashes all over the region. It was dry and gritty and hot and miserable. Watermelon gazpacho felt not only rehydrating, it also was a balm to my itching and balking lungs. Good all around.


The onions and garlic in this recipe specifically stimulate the protective mechanisms of the sinuses, throat and lungs. Just what you want when your corner of the world is on fire.


As I mentioned, I’m not much of a cook. I tend to just throw things together, counting on the quality of the ingredients to make things taste good. There are many variations of this recipe, so feel free to adjust as you’d prefer.


Some online variations omit the onions or tomato, add sweet and/or spicy peppers, dress it up with mint or dill or cilantro, reduce the olive oil, or substitute lemon juice for the vinegar. I’m sure they’re all delicious.


If you come up with some delicious refinements, please share!





—Dr. Orna


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