Tomato-based gazpacho uses a variety of vegetables

When everything in your garden is ready at the same time, sip some vegetables.

Gazpacho, a chilled soup, is just the ticket.

This soup can be mighty good for you. You’ll get a dose of lycopene, an antioxidant known for its health benefits, from the tomatoes. Fiber is an added boost as are the vitamins from other vegetables, which count as at least one (or more) serving of vegetables.

Most gazpacho recipes are tomato-based. You can use fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes or you can roast tomatoes for a deeper flavor. Using cooked tomatoes ups the lycopene.

Today’s recipe is adapted from one in the August 2013 issue of Eating Well magazine.

With this recipe, I used a mix of low-sodium juice, canned tomatoes and a bit of freshly diced tomatoes.

Most classic versions of gazpacho call for soaking day-old bread in water, then squeezing out the liquid and blending the bread with the other ingredients.

But this recipe is perfectly fine without the bread. It depends on the texture you want. I like the soup to have a bit of body and thickness — not thin like a broth — so I used bread. But I also like to serve a few slices of crusty baguette on the side.

Serving this gazpacho with chunky bits of lobster is purely optional.

Fire-roasted tomato gazpacho with lobster

2 cups cubed day-old bread, optional

2 cups low-sodium vegetable juice (regular or spicy)

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic

1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced

1 medium diced fennel bulb plus fennel fronds for garnish

1 cup diced tomato

1/3 cup finely diced red onion

2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium Old Bay seasoning, plus more for garnishing glasses (or use celery salt for glasses)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Several lime wedges

1 1/2-2 cups chopped cooked lobster (optional)

1 avocado, halved, pitted, diced

If using the bread, in a medium bowl soak the bread cubes in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid.

In a large bowl combine the bread, vegetable juice, fire-roasted tomatoes with their juice, bell pepper, fennel, tomato, onion, vinegar, oil, Old Bay, pepper, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 2 hours.

Rim serving glasses using a lime wedge. Sprinkle some Old Bay (or use celery salt) on dish. Dip the rim of the glasses in the seasoning. Spoon desired amount of gazpacho into the glass. Top each with a few tablespoons of diced lobster and avocado. Garnish with fennel fronds and lime wedges.

One serving is 1 1/2 cups. Makes 6 main-dish servings, more as an appetizer.

Adapted from Eating Well magazine, August 2013.

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

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