Summer Vibes: Grilled Blackened Shrimp & Watermelon Gazpacho

Enjoy a new summer recipe with a featured Upstate Chef every week all summer long.

Today, Chef Tony Keely invites you to indulge in a healthy, tasty, refreshing Watermelon Gazpacho serve with Grilled Blackened Shrimp. Prepare by grabbing a handful of delicious ingredients, plus your food processor and a cutting board. Serves six (6) people.


1 tsp. Cayenne (add more if you want it hotter!)
¼ cup Mild Chili Powder
¼ cup Paprika
¼ cup Old Bay
1/8 cup Salt
½ tbsp. Thyme (dry)
1 tbsp. Garlic (granulated)
1 tbsp. Onion (granulated)
Mix all together and keep in an airtight container. It will hold for 1 month.


36 South Carolina Wild Caught Shrimp (6 per person)
Blackening Seasoning (recipe above) | Enough to coat the shrimp.


2 lbs. Watermelon (cleaned no rind)
1 lb. Heirloom Tomatoes (multi-color)
7 oz. English Cucumber
4 oz. Lunch Box Pepper (or Yellow Bell Pepper)
2 oz. Red Onion
½ oz. Basil, Fresh
½ oz. by weight Champaign Vinegar
1 tsp. Salt (check for taste)
½ tsp. Pepper (check for taste)


  1. Peal and devein shrimp or buy already done.
  2. Coat shrimp with blackening seasoning.
  3. Skewer shrimp 6 per skewer.
  4. Now, set aside and make Watermelon Gazpacho.
  5. Small dice 1 lb. of the watermelon.
  6. Large dice 1 lb. of the watermelon to blend in the food processor.
  7. Small dice ½ lb. of Heirloom tomatoes.
  8. Large dice ½ lb. of Heirloom tomatoes to blend in the food processor.
  9. In a food processor, add large-diced watermelon and tomatoes. Add Basil and puree until smooth.
  10. Small dice Red Onions.
  11. Small dice English Cucumbers. (If you don’t like seeds, remove before dicing).
  12. Remove seeds and small dice Lunchbox Peppers.
  13. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and taste to see if you need more Salt or Pepper.
  14. After Gazpacho is made, grill shrimp. 5 – 6 minutes per side until done. (This will depend on how hot your grill is. Hotter the better because we are looking to quick sear the shrimp. If you don’t have a grill, you can sauté them.)
  15. In a large soup bowl, serve shrimp on top of Gazpacho.


  • A small-sized dice is 1/4″.
  • A large-sized dice is 3/4″.
  • Although this recipe calls for Heirloom tomatoes, you may also use whatever tomatoes you like to use in your kitchen. The difference is that Heirloom tomatoes tend to be more flavorful and less seedy. They are not grown for highest output but rather for quality of taste.
  • Did you know that Greenville County Soil & Water Conservation District hosts a Seed Library at the Berea Branch Library? Go and pick up Heirloom seeds all year long for your garden!
  • Try preparing the Watermelon Gazpacho early and refrigerating overnight. Flavors will develop more if left to sit overnight!