Lemon balm, also know as sweet melissa, is one of our favorite herbs and with good reason. It’s mild lemon flavor and aroma is comforting medicine for soothing nerves and helping to calm anxiety. Here in California, it grows like a weed, which isn’t a bad thing.
Usually, lemon balm makes it’s way into our kitchens to be used in pestos, teas or salad dressings. With the sporadic hot weather we’ve been having, all I want is something light and refreshing, so gazpacho is the perfect meal. Traditionally, gazpacho is made with summer’s ripest tomatoes, but the bright green and cooling cucumber version is just as tasty.
This lemon balm + cucumber gazpacho is super easy to make and can be prepared a day ahead. Keep it in the fridge if you want a chilled version, but its just as delicious right out of the blender, poured into a bowl.
2 handfuls lemon balm leaves
3-4 mint leaves
2 cucumbers, de-seeded + chopped
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded + chopped
1 avocado, de-seeded + chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
splash of white wine vinegar or lemon juice
pinch of cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp grey salt
1/2 cup water, use less if you want a thicker gazpacho
In a high speed blender, blend all ingredients together until smooth. Adjust the mint, vinegar or garlic ratios to taste. Enjoy cool or at room temperature, topped with fresh flowers and a drizzle of good olive oil.