This tomato-based dish appears in her new cookbook, One Dish at a Time

By Alison Schwartz
Updated October 07, 2012 12:30 PM
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Credit: Getty; Inset: Andrew H. Walker/FilmMagic

For Valerie Bertinelli, heating up the romance with husband Tom Vitale came down to whipping up a hearty helping of cold soup.

The 40 lbs. lighter-Jenny Craig success story, 52, already admitted, “The first time I made gazpacho for him, I thought I was going to be made love to the entire night!”

This tomato-based concoction is just one of the healthy (did we say delicious?) recipes included in Bertinelli’s new cookbook, One Dish at a Time (available Oct. 16).

“Tom looooooves tomatoes, which is why they appear so often in this book,” she writes in the book.

Try out the dish for yourself with the recipe below (whether or not you’re cooking for a special someone). A few chef tips straight from Bertinelli: “We like it on the chunkier side, so we only blend half, but feel free to blend it all for an entirely smooth base.” She says she often switches up the proportions of the vinegar and lemon juice as she taste-tests her creation. And a word of warning for beginners: “Don’t make the mistake I once did by putting all of the cilantro into the blender,” she says. “It turns the soup an unappetizing green.”


Serves 6-8; 139 to 186 calories per serving

  • 8 fresh plum or heirloom tomatoes, majority of the seeds discarded (or 6 canned San Marzano tomatoes, drained, juices reserved and roughly chopped)
  • 10 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pushed through a press
  • 2 cans (5.5 oz. each) low-sodium tomato juice
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne (or more to taste)
  • 1 avocado, sliced in wedges for garnish
  • leaves from ½ bunch of fresh cilantro for garnish

Combine the tomatoes, scallions, bell pepper, garlic, tomato juice, oil, tomato paste, vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, salt and cayenne in a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender, add 2 tsp. of the cilantro and puree to the desired consistency. Pour back into the bowl. Refrigerate until serving time, if desired. Stir once. Garnish with the avocado and cilantro leaves. Serve cold.