Happy September! Fall is almost upon us, even though temperatures around these parts are much more reminiscent of late July with mid-high 80s and lots of humidity. All this talk about the heat makes you think of soup, right? No? Just me? It’s probably because my office is tucked into the ground floor of the hospital, where it is always freezing. I’m not sure what it is about the Radiology department, but brrrrrr. I once read a fun article in the New York Times Style section about dressing for work in the summer months because of the juxtaposition of blazing outdoor temps, and ice box office buildings. Cardigans, lightweight scarves and pashimas (they double for an office appropriate blanket!) are my office lifesavers. It stands to reason then, that warm soup is right up my alley no matter what season it is. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been on a plant based detox this week, and this soup is a perfect fit for the week. It’s great for summer because it utilizes fresh bell peppers, and since we are going to roast them, the fresher the better as their flavor will concentrate and intensify.
There is a delicious soup here at one the hospital’s cafes, a roasted red pepper soup with gouda. It is freaking delicious, but the gouda is no-no for me this week, and I wanted to see if I could make something similar but much healthier. Tall order, but I think I did it! The hardest part of this is the roasting of the bell peppers. Then saute a few other ingredients, peel the peppers, cook it all together, blend it up and serve! This is SO GOOD. It reminds me of my roasted tomato and garlic soup, which you should totally make sometime soon. This soup has a TON of flavor, it’s surprisingly filling, vegan and gluten free. What could be better, especially during these last few weeks of beach and bikini season? Enjoy!
roasted red pepper soup.
4-5 red bell peppers, halved and cleaned
1 jarred roasted red pepper (I use the ones found at Trader Joes)* (see note below)
3 garlic cloves, in paper jackets
1 cup chopped onion (one medium onion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (I used chili garlic sauce)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar (optional)
Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil, and place halved pepper face down, pressing a bit. Add garlic cloves and broil 7-10 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and place pan back under boiler for another 5-7 minutes until pepper skin has blackened.
Remove peppers from pan and immediately place into large, zip lock bag to steam for 10 minutes.
While peppers are cooking, heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil and onions and cook for 5 minutes, being careful to not let onions brown (lower heat if this begins to happen). After 5 minutes, add thyme and bay leaf and continue to cook until onions and soft and translucent.
Once garlic cloves have started to cool, squeeze garlic from papers and add to pot. Also add in vegetable stock, hot sauce, jarred pepper, salt and pepper.
Remove roasted peppers from bag and peel/remove pepper skin and add to the pot. Heat to boiling, and then reduce and let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Remove bay leaf, and either blend using an immersion blender or your stand blender until smooth (I used my Vitamix).
If using stand blender, please make sure to either remove plug or loosen lid to let hot air escape (cover lid with kitchen towel).
Place back in pot (if using stand blender) and add in vinegar. Stir and keep warm until ready to serve.
Makes 4 1 cup servings; 2 for dinner sized main dish serving.
Note: I had one lonely jarred bell pepper just hanging out in the fridge, so I added him in. You can absolutely skip this ingredient, but it added just some more tangy pepper flavor!
**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible**