It’s no massive secret that we love our veggies around here. Nothing against meat or folks who love eating it (hey, we’re right there with you some nights), but with increasingly wide accessibility to peak season produce and countless innovative chefs coming forth with creative uses for it, there has never been a more delicious time to veg out. That said, we’re enthusiastically kicking off our Cooking Light vegetarian week celebration. Each day this week, we will feature a standout vegetarian recipe from various chefs around the nation. Although some run exclusively vegetarian/vegan kitchens and others are omnivores with a knack for fully utilizing the freshest flavors, passionate produce-inspired cooking is the element that binds them together.

First up this week is Chef Jeremy Bearman of Rouge Tomate in NYC. Bearman and his team prioritize sourcing exceptional products and prepare them to highlight their greatest natural qualities. Thus, the menus at RT are largely inspired by what is available from local markets, farms, fisheries, and artisan producers during each given season. Beyond providing dishes that are remarkable in terms of flavor and aesthetics, Bearman strives to feed his patrons food that is genuinely good for their bodies. Using a set of SPE-certified nutrition guidelines, Bearman focuses on highlighting fruits and vegetables in his dishes, using less and better quality fats, opting for nutrient dense ingredients, and combining ingredients in ways that taste fantastic and work together to provide health benefits. Ideal for a refreshing and simple warm weather meal, Bearman’s vibrant Carrot Gazpacho is a delicious way to pack in a hearty does of fresh late-spring veggies.

Late Spring Carrot Gazpacho with AvocadoCourtesy of Jeremy Bearman

1 quart Freshly juiced Carrot juice1 tablespoon sherry vinegar2 1/2 cups carrots peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces, then steamed until tender and cooled1 1/2 cups sourdough bread cut into 1 inch cubes3 cloves garlic with germ removed3 1/2 cups cucumber peeled (no green) and cut into 1 inch cubes1 1/2 cups tomatillo cut into 1/8’s1 1/2 cups red pepper cut into 1 inch squares1 1/2 cups yellow pepper cut into 1 inch squares1 teaspoon sea salt3 tablespoons sherry vinegar4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil2 tablespoons fresh cilantro1 Avocado cut into bite size pieces

Mix the sourdough, cooked carrots, garlic cucumber, both peppers, and tomatillo with the salt and place in a non-reactive container overnight in the refrigerator.

Place the carrot juice in a large saucepot along with the 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar and cook on high heat.  When the juice comes to a boil, begin skimming the carotene off the top with a ladle (it is the very orange, foamy solids that come to the top). Place the carotene immediately in a small bowl on ice to cool.  This will keep the orange color while you reduce the rest of the juice, which should begin to look more like brown water than carrot juice as it reduces.  Reduce the juice by half then cool in refrigerator or over ice.

Blend the marinated vegetables in a high-powered blender with the reduced carrot juice and the carotene.  You will need to do this in batches.  After it is blended, pass it through a fine mesh strainer and chill on ice.  Whisk in the remaining sherry vinegar and the olive oil, check the seasoning and serve.

Garnish the soup with pieces of fresh avocado, and fresh cilantro.  You can also use some small croutons as well to garnish.

Serves 6