All summer long, I admired other blog’s recipes for soup but broke into a sweat at the mere thought of sipping from a steaming bowl. Tomato and bell pepper soups taunted me most since they contain my very favorite flavors. It just didn’t seem fair that my favorite ingredients grew during the hottest season of the year. Now that it is finally cool enough to turn on the oven and the stove, I decided to capture those flavors in a giant batch of soup to bottle and freeze.
In preparation, I bought a few Oklahoma grown red bell peppers at the Saturday morning farmers’ market and filled a bag with organic tomatoes at the store on the way home. Perhaps I should have made this soup a couple of weeks ago with the last of the locally grown tomatoes, but the weather wasn’t cooperating and I was not to be deterred.
On Sunday, I woke up late and discovered that it was raining for the second day in a row. I pulled on leggings and rain boots and ducked into a diner with girlfriends to discuss the birthday party the night before. As usual, we lamented the fact that there are no decent guys to date in this town (where are they?).
My belly full, I spent the rest of my lazy, restless afternoon making this soup. I hummed along to the harmonies in Feist’s new album as I chopped the tomatoes and red bell peppers, stretched out on my bed to read a few more pages of The Sun Also Rises while the vegetables roasted in the oven, and paused to snuggle with Cookie while the soup simmered on the stove. The falling rain reinforced my idle ways, and I reflected on the fact that someday when I (presumably) have a family of my own, I won’t have full days to myself. For now and the unforeseeable future, I do what I want. This is my time.
My roasted red pepper and tomato soup is more than just soup—it’s a celebration of the end of summer heat. Slightly spicy and tasting more strongly of peppers than tomatoes, this vegan soup goes great with grilled cheese sandwiches and simple cheese quesadillas. I also love it with avocado on toast. I can’t decide which herbs make the best garnish. Dried oregano went well, but chopped, fresh cilantro seemed like a slightly more complimentary flavor.
I divided the soup into 8 ounce canning jars, filling them up to the freezer line. I left the tops off until the soup had frozen completely. I feel a little better about the predicted harsh winter ahead knowing that I’ll have hot soup to warm me up.
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato SoupCourse: Soups
Roasted red pepper and tomato soup to celebrate the end of summer heat. Make a giant batch to freeze for cooler weather! Recipe yields about 12 cups of soup.
8 to 9 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
3 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered
2 small yellow onions, cut into wedges about ¾” wide on the outer edges
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
5 cups vegetable broth
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce or omit if sensitive to spice)
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with two racks placed in the middle of the oven.
- Grease two (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil. Place tomatoes, skin side down, on one of them.
- Gently toss the onions and red peppers lightly with olive oil (try to keep the onion wedges intact as best you can). Place on the other baking sheet, with the red peppers skin side down. Place the unpeeled garlic on the sheet, too.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender throughout and turning golden on the edges.
- In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Peel your garlic and toss it in. Add the roasted vegetables, cayenne and smoked paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes, reducing heat as necessary to maintain a steady simmer.
- Purée the soup using an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a blender, several cups at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper.