Greek
An overhead photo of ajo blanco white gazpacho garnished with green grapes, toasted almonds, olive oil and black pepper with a spoon next to it.

Ajo blanco, also spelled “ajoblanco”, is a cold soup from southern Spain made with almonds, garlic, stale bread, sherry vinegar and a garnish of fresh green grapes. Hearty, refreshing and luxuriously creamy yet completely vegan, it's ideal for an elegant starter or light lunch on a hot day. It only takes 15 minutes to make (plus cooling time) and no cooking is necessary!

A closeup of white ajo blanco gazpacho garnished with green grapes, toasted almonds, olive oil and black pepper next to a plate of grapes.
Photo credit: Mark Beahm

Ajo Blanco literally translates to “white garlic”. It is a refreshing and creamy cold soup originating from southern Spain, especially Málaga and Cádiz. Unlike Gazpacho or Salmorejo, it does not contain tomatoes, hence the nickname “white gazpacho”.

Ajo Blanco is a simple soup blended with almonds, stale bread, garlic, sherry vinegar, olive oil and water. The almonds and bread make it rich and creamy, while the garlic and vinegar make it spicy and flavorful. It was originally a humble soup for farm workers that kept them cool and nourished after working for hours in the sun.

Summary
  1. Food Stories: How I Fell in Love with Ajo Blanco
  2. White Garlic Ingredients
  3. How to prepare Ajo blanco
  4. Tips for the creamiest Ajo Blanco
  5. What to serve with Ajo blanco
  6. More cold soup recipes
  7. White garlic (white gazpacho) recipe.

Food Stories: How I Fell in Love with Ajo Blanco

I first discovered the wonders of Ajo Blanco several years ago when my husband and I lived in Madrid. We took a train to Malaga, rented a car and spent two weeks traveling along the southern coast to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, spending each day in a new city. At each stop we explored the city, taking breaks to eat countless tapas on restaurant terraces in the city squares. We saw the entire coast of Cadiz, famous for its beautiful beaches, whitewashed buildings, sherry and tapas.

In the heat of summer, we mostly made do with cold tapas like Papas Aliñás (a Spanish tuna and potato salad) and, of course, Andalusia's famous cold soups. Salmorejo is one of my favorite tapas and I knew Gazpacho. But before this trip we had never heard of Ajo Blanco.

Lacking the tomatoes of the other cold soups, the Ajo Blanco was as white as the famous one white cities we were visiting, such as Vejer de la Frontera on the hills and Conil de la Frontera on the coast. It was full of garlic and sherry vinegar, just like the Gazpacho and Salmorejo, much creamier and richer but just as refreshing. After the discovery, I started alternating which cold soup I would enjoy each day!

Ingredients for ajo blanco white gazpacho including blanched almonds, bread, garlic, water, sherry vinegar, sea salt, olive oil and green grapes.Ingredients for ajo blanco white gazpacho including blanched almonds, bread, garlic, water, sherry vinegar, sea salt, olive oil and green grapes.

White Garlic IngredientS

Although less known than Gazpacho and Salmorejo, Ajo Blanco or ajoblanco predates both by centuries. It dates back long before the arrival of tomatoes from the Americas, at least from Al-Andalus, perhaps even from Roman Hispania. Today it is still made with a short list of ingredients from humble Mediterranean staples. You will need:

  • Almonds: Peeled and peeled almonds give life to a white and creamy soup with a light almond flavour. Toasted almonds are added as a garnish just before serving for a little crunch.
  • Bread: The bread thickens the soup. You can use both fresh and stale bread. If it's stale, let it soak in water for a minute or two to hydrate it before blending.
  • Garlic: Ajo means garlic, so with garlic in the name, it should have a lot of garlic flavor. Garlic is raw and has more potency than cooked garlic. I like to add two or three cloves but for a more delicate flavor use just one.
  • Sherry vinegar: Sherry vinegar is mild with a toasty, caramelized flavor. It is made with sherry wine, also from Andalusia.
  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil makes the soup rich and creamy. Use one with a nice flavor, as it will add a lot of nuance to the soup. Our Spanish Hojiblanca it's a great pairing: it comes from the same region as Ajo Blanco and is pleasantly fruity, peppery and robust.
  • Green grapes: Ajo Blanco is traditionally garnished with local muscat grapes, but any green seedless grape will add refreshing bursts of sweet and sour flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: Enhances the flavor of cold soup.
An overhead photo of 2 bowls of ajo blanco white gazpacho garnished with green grapes, toasted almonds, olive oil and black pepper.  Alongside these are spoons, bowls of almonds, garlic and black pepper, a plate of grapes with a knife, cups of water and a bottle of olive oil.An overhead photo of 2 bowls of ajo blanco white gazpacho garnished with green grapes, toasted almonds, olive oil and black pepper. Next to these are spoons, bowls of almonds, garlic and black pepper, a plate of grapes with a knife, cups of water and a bottle of olive oil.

How to prepare Ajo blanco

All it takes is the press of a button and about three minutes to prepare AjoBlanco, but after that you'll have to wait at least an hour for it to cool completely before serving.

  • Blend the soup: In a blender, add 1 ½ cups blanched almonds, 5 ounces torn bread (discard crusts), 2 minced garlic cloves, 3 cups cold water, 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, and ¾ teaspoon sea salt end. Blend on high speed until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. With blender running, drizzle in ½ cup of olive oil, blending until smooth. The soup should be thick and creamy, similar to the consistency of kefir or liquid yogurt. Add additional cold water to thin to desired consistency.An overhead shot of bread cubes, blanched almonds and garlic in the jug of a blender next to cups of olive oil, sherry vinegar and water.An overhead shot of bread cubes, blanched almonds and garlic in the jug of a blender next to cups of olive oil, sherry vinegar and water.
  • Cold: Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. The flavors blend and improve with a longer chilling time. For best flavor, chill soup for 4 hours or overnight.An overhead photo of ajo blanco white gazpacho in a large bowl.An overhead photo of ajo blanco white gazpacho in a large bowl.
  • Serve: Pour the soup into bowls. Cut green grapes in half for garnish. Garnish the soup with a few grape halves and toasted almonds. Drizzle with olive oil and finish with freshly ground black pepper. Serve cold.An overhead photo of ajo blanco white gazpacho garnished with green grapes, toasted almonds, olive oil and black pepper with a spoon next to it.An overhead photo of ajo blanco white gazpacho garnished with green grapes, toasted almonds, olive oil and black pepper with a spoon next to it.

Tips for the Creamiest Ajo Blanco

This recipe is creamy and refreshing as is, but you can make it extra special with a little patience. Soaking the almonds before blending them and letting the blended soup cool overnight makes it irresistibly creamy and flavorful. These additional steps add several hours of waiting time, but no additional hands-on work.

  • Soak the almonds overnight. Just like when making homemade almond milk, soaking the almonds overnight improves the texture of the finished soup.
  • Chill soup overnight. You can chill the soup until cold, about 1 hour. But with a longer chilling time the flavors have more time to blend. An overnight cool down works wonders, but even with 4 hours, there is a noticeable difference.
  • Use almond milk instead of water. For an extra creamy Ajo Blanco with a stronger almond flavor, replace the water with unsweetened, unflavored almond milk.
A closeup of ajo blanco white gazpacho garnished with green grapes, toasted almonds, olive oil and black pepper.  Next to it is a spoon, bowls of almonds and a plate of grapes.A closeup of ajo blanco white gazpacho garnished with green grapes, toasted almonds, olive oil and black pepper.  Next to it is a spoon, bowls of almonds and a plate of grapes.

What to serve with Ajo blanco

Ajo blanco is traditionally garnished with almonds, grapes and a drizzle of olive oil. Sometimes grapes are replaced with melon or green apple. It's not that common, but it's sometimes topped with pieces of raw ham. I also saw it with mojama, the salted tuna from Cadiz.

Ajoblanco is usually served as an appetizer or first course in a leisurely Spanish lunch or as one of many rounds of tapas. For a second course, try a roasted protein dish, such as lemon garlic salmon or baked chicken breast with white wine artichoke sauce.

As for tapas, you can't go wrong with the Spanish tortilla, patatas bravas and pan con tomate. With the nickname white gazpacho, a glass of white sangria would be a natural pairing!

More cold soup recipes

Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

Visit Our shop.

  • Blend the soup: In a blender add the blanched almonds, bread, garlic, water, vinegar and salt. Blend on high speed until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. With the blender running, slowly pour in the olive oil, blending until smooth. The soup should be thick and creamy, similar to the consistency of kefir or liquid yogurt. Add additional cold water to thin to desired consistency.

  • Cold: Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour (or ideally overnight).

  • Serve: Pour the soup into bowls. Cut the grapes in half. Garnish the soup with a few grape halves and toasted almonds. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Serve cold.

  • Buy this recipe: Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oil used in this recipe.
  • Soak the almonds in water overnight before blending them for an even creamier soup.

Calories: 451.4kcalCarbohydrates: 20.2GProtein: 10.6GFat: 38.5GSaturated fats: 4.1GPolyunsaturated fats: 6.9GMonounsaturated fat: 25.6GTrans fats: 0.01GSodium: 409.7mgPotassium: 306mgFiber: 4.9GSugar: 4.4GVitamin A: 8.3UIC vitamin: 0.7mgSoccer: 122.8mgIron: 2.3mg

Finish with a drizzle of Spanish extra virgin olive oil

Bold and peppery, our Spanish olive oil is harvested from 100% Hojiblanca olives.

A bottle of extra virgin olive oil.A bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

Related Articles

Grilled Cod with Pistachio-Herb Salsa

Contributor

Roasted Radishes

Contributor

Greek-Style Chicken Spinach Salad with Dried Figs and Feta

Contributor

Leave a Comment