Spicy Melon Soup is Gazpacho in My Book

Spicy Melon Soup

I hadn’t planned to post this Spicy Melon Soup just now. But it was such a pretty color I took its picture anyway. That was the same day as my last post on Smoky Gazpacho. But something happened that I didn’t expect, so I decided to post this chilled summer soup on the heels of a gazpacho post with quite a few similarities. Not something I would normally do.

I did it because it’s been years since I’ve gotten hate mail on this blog. I didn’t know trolls still existed, but Smoky Gazpacho received 2 nasty comments. I can’t quite decide if that’s progress or regress. After all, back in the ‘glory days’ of this little blog I was regularly ‘chewed’ out by a few particular (recurring) readers. I quit posting comments with no redeeming value and my haters soon went away. But I have to admit, it was fun to be so reviled for what I ate (and who I slept with).

So today I’m posting this Spicy Melon Soup just to stick it to the throwbacks who thought I took too many liberties in my last gazpacho post. I acknowledge that to many people gazpacho is much more than a chilled soup. I acknowledge that it has a long, proud Andalusian history. And I acknowledge that there are other chilled Spanish summer soups, such as Salmorejo, that most Andalusians would never refer to as gazpacho (because it has both meat and a hard-boiled egg in it).

Spicy Melon Soup

However, to me vinegar is the ingredient that transforms this Spicy Melon Soup into gazpacho. Others will say it’s simply a cold summer soup unless it has tomatoes for zing and stale bread as a thickener. My Spicy Melon Soup has neither. So to both appease and stick it to the haters, I’ll say all that matters is this melon gazpacho is one great summer soup. Let me explain why.

Spicy Melon Soup

I like summer soups– whether they’re a traditional blending of tomatoes, red pepper, onion, oil and vinegar as in gazpacho– or something less expected like today’s melon and habanero. However, there’s a secret to keeping these soups from becoming little more than pulverized salad.

That secret is balance, and you probably knew that.

Traditional gazpacho balances bright acidity with aromatic flavors. A poorly made gazpacho has aggressively raw flavors that somehow linger on the tongue. I’m not talking about finish. Good gazpacho, like a good wine, will linger on the palate in a pleasing way that transforms the initial taste experience.

The same can be said for sweet soups. They need a savory balance to keep from becoming a ghastly ice cream topping. I tried to achieve that balance in this Spicy Melon Soup with the spiciness of fresh ginger and a touch of habanero chile. I realize it’s a controversial combination of flavors, so to appease the gazpacho purists I’ll call this a chilled soup (despite the balancing bite of bright vinegar). GREG

Chilled Melon Soup with Habanero 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6–8Published
Chilled Melon Soup with Habanero


  • 2 ½ pound peeled, seeded and cubed watermelon
  • 1 ¼ pound peeled, seeded and cubed cantaloupe
  • 1 ounce peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon minced habanero chile (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and white pepper (as needed)
  • crumbled feta cheese (as needed for garnish, optional)
  • freshly cracked black pepper (as needed for garnish, optional)


Place watermelon, cantaloupe, minced ginger, minced habanero, sherry vinegar and a pinch each sea salt and white pepper. Process until as smooth as you like. Drizzle in the olive oil with the machine running until fully incorporated and emulsified.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to come together. Blend or whisk just before serving if necessary. Garnish with feta (if using) and black pepper.