Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I love this light, colorful roasted red pepper soup. This recipe is modified from a number of places on the web and a couple favorite recipe books. It makes a great starter or main dish for a light meal; I had plenty of leftovers that were a lovely addition or star of thrown-together meals for a couple days. 

It's harder than usual for me to estimate how many people this would feed, because it's so light and can be used so many different ways in a meal. But based on the amount of liquid, I'm going to say that, in a full-sized soup bowl (rather than a cup-sized one) it will feed between 4 and 6 people. Estimating the prep and cooking time is difficult too; I always plan a lot of extra time when making this so my soup can cool before I blend it (I have one of those blenders that hates blending boiling-hot liquids, and no immersion blender) and then reheat it. I'd say if you have an immersion blender, though, the whole process takes between 40 and 50 minutes. 

(above: a not-fully-roasted yet red pepper)


4 large red bell peppers
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and diced
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced 
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 - 5 cloves garlic 
4 cups vegetable stock (or water, if necessary, though the soup will be even lighter and slightly less flavorful) 
1/4 cup vegan white wine (optional) 
cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste
to garnish: vegan sour cream, soy creamer, etc. (optional) 

(above: roughly chopped peeled and roasted red peppers and peeled carrots) 

To roast the peppers: If you have a gas stove, you can use tongs to hold the peppers one at a time over the flame of your stove. Turn the peppers frequently. The skin will start to pop, blister, and turn black. Unlike my photos, the skins should be almost entirely black, and already beginning to peel from the pepper. (For more on roasting peppers and different methods of roasting peppers, check out this thorough eHow article on it.) 

A lot of recipes say to put your peppers in a sealed plastic bag after roasting them, but my peppers are always too big for even one to fit in a sandwich-sized bag, so I prefer to place them all in a large bowl and cover as tightly as possible with plastic wrap. Let the peppers steam in the bowl (or in the plastic bag) for 5 - 10 minutes, or until the skins slip off easily. Then, remove the skins, cut the peppers in half, core them, and remove the seeds. 

To prepare the soup: Heat 1 tsp or so of olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften. Add the potatoes and cook for another one or two minutes, then add the carrot, garlic, and roasted peppers. Stir well and cook for another two minutes. 

Add the stock (or water), stir well, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are soft. 

If you have an immersion blender (which I don't!) puree the soup in the pot until it's smooth. Otherwise, transfer it to a standing blender and puree in batches, using another pot to keep the pureed soup separate from the un-blended soup, if necessary. As I mentioned above, my blender -- and pretty much every standing blender I've ever worked with -- will kind of explode if near-boiling liquid is blended in it, even if I use teensy-tiny batches. So I try to plan at least an hour or two for the soup to cool a bit before I puree it, and then some more time to re-heat it. As a bonus, letting it sit allows the flavors to blend together more. 

Season with the white wine (if using), cayenne, salt, and pepper. Ladle into bowls and swirl with vegan sour cream or soy creamer, if using. 

(above: an un-roasted red pepper, and another partially-roasted one) 

1 comment:

  1. This soup is really good. In January I went to a friend's house for lunch and she served this soup. I thought it was really good and asked what it was. When she told me it was red pepper soup I was very pleasantly surprised and came home and found this recipe. It is great for low calorie or low carb diets. It's the third time I have made it. Really good!


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