Countering the white, grey and cold

January 5, 2017 | My Jottings

My mom used to make a marinated salad she called gazpacho salad, and when I was young I didn’t think it was that great, because I didn’t like tomatoes, cucumbers, onions or green peppers. Now that I’m old and have come to my senses in some areas, I love those vegetables.

I make this salad pretty often, especially in winter, when the bitter cold of northern Minnesota closes in and makes one feel like everything is white, grey and dangerous. This salad feels the opposite of white, grey and dangerous, because it’s so colorful and healthy. It’s definitely not a dangerous salad, I think I can declare that with some confidence.

Here’s a photo of someone else’s chopped gazpacho salad that looks close to what I’ve made for the past few decades, but not exactly. I don’t use parsley, although it would be good, and I use green onions instead of the purple in the picture. And my cucumber ratio is higher. ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me tell you how I make my mom’s chopped gazpacho salad, and what I serve it with.

You’ll need only six vegetables. Sometimes when I’m grocery shopping and at the last minute think of making my mom’s chopped gazpacho salad, I remind myself there are six vegetables, and count on my fingers until the items are all safely in my cart, because I’ve come home with five before and then the whole week is ruined. For the huge storage container I made of this deliciousness yesterday, I used:

2 large (English, ridged, in plastic wrap) cucumbers, unpeeled
8 ripe Roma tomatoes
2 green peppers
6 green onions (or scallions), green and white parts
6 stalks celery
12 radishes
red wine vinegar
olive oil

Wash all the vegetables and remove stems, roots, leaves, where applicable.

Cut all the vegetables up into small cubes, slightly smaller than a pair of dice found in a game. They don’t have to be perfect, but the more uniform they are, the prettier. Of course you can’t cut celery or green onions into perfect cubes, but keeping the pieces around that size is good.

Toss everything together and then add about 1/3-1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, 2 T. olive oil, 1-2 t. sugar, 1 t. salt and 8 grinds of black pepper. Toss again, and put in the fridge to marinate for a while. Taste the salad to see if you think it needs more seasoning. The salt helps draw out the moisture from the vegetables and makes the most delicious juice — just stir the salad when you’re going to serve it, to coat everything a bit.

Serving suggestions:

On baked potatoes
In omelets or with scrambled eggs
As the perfect side salad with tacos, enchiladas, lasagna, spaghetti
Serve a spoonful on top of your homemade tacos or in burritos or on a taco salad
On top of crusty, warm slices of french bread
Pressed into the bottom slice of the soft roll used for sub sandwiches, before adding meat, etc.
Piled in a bowl and eaten plain (and a slice of French bread to soak up the juices is yummy too)

My fosters enjoy this salad, and it never lasts long when I make a big batch of it. If you make it, don’t ever skimp on the tomatoes and/or cukes. I’ve made batches with fewer radishes, but I usually wait until I have all six veggies before making it.

Yesterday as I sat at the kitchen counter and chopped everything, I listened to this song on repeat. It’s one of those nostalgic, yearning songs for me. Michael used to listen to Christian radio when he worked and drove, and a few months ago the memory of this song came back to me, so I found it online. I remembered that it used to be played quite a bit at night, and we often heard it on his clock radio by our bed as we drifted off to sleep. Is anyone familiar with it?

It got so cold here last night my house started booming. Apparently when the temperatures plummet (it was -15 Fahrenheit, -26 Celsius here), it’s not unusual for wooden rafters, joists, outside walls and roofs to contract enough to make loud sounds. I read online that some people say it’s like a gunshot. I would describe the sounds I hear as booms — deeper and scarier. Like a boulder was thrown against the house or dropped on the roof. The booms are so loud they cause Millie to go from a sleeping circle-dog to a vibrating pooch on all four legs in a split second.

I’ve said it before — January in Minnesota feels dangerous to me.

So I think making a very non-dangerous salad is what is called for.


  1. Ember says:

    Sounds delicious! xx

  2. Just Julie says:

    Hi friend. xox

  3. Diane says:

    I made your mom’s and your wonderful recipe last night–even made a special trip to get radishes, since the weather had warmed up to above zero (and made a new friend named Amos in the parking lot who was singing hymns as he loaded his groceries in his car). Thank you for sharing the stories behind the recipe–as well as the recipe itself. Steve has already sampled the batch down to half. He proudly dubbed it “gazpacho salad”–and then I told him that that was what you called it, too.

    Seems the recipe makes stories as it is prepared and eaten!

    Love to you, Julie.


  4. Just Julie says:

    That is so great that you made the gazpacho salad already, Diane! I liked hearing about Amos too. I made another batch last night and had some with breakfast and I realized it didn’t taste the same. I had forgotten to add the teaspoon of sugar, and it needed a little more salt. My love to you and your mom and Steve today!

  5. Kay says:

    Brightly-coloured vegetables are a feast for the eyes!
    Would you save some for me, please?! ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  6. Just Julie says:

    Yes I will save you some, Kay. ๐Ÿ™‚ When might you be here to enjoy them? xoxo

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