I feel a bit as though bell peppers are raining down on my head.  Tumble, plump, bumble, plop, boing… And then scattering across the floor.  Thankfully they aren’t actually, though I imagine it wouldn’t be entirely unpleasant.  But, it would make a lot of peppers to clean up – and they’d require extra scrubbing after being on the floor and all.

Anyhow, we do have bell peppers in abundance.  More than can be reasonably used, even through a well strategized line up of stir fries with peppers, pasta with peppers, salad with peppers, and sauteed melanges of who knows what but it definitely includes peppers…with peppers.

I thought about pickling them and packing them by the peck (into pints, of course), and it may yet come to that.  But, in the meantime, the clever, immediate, and entirely delectable solution was soup.  Roasted pepper soup.

I find red velvet cakes confusing on the whole (no, you’re not suddenly reading a different blog post that I accidentally spliced in or something, I did just make the leap to cake from bell peppers.  I’m going somewhere with it though, and soon.  Just trust me.).  They’re supposed to be red – which they usually are – and velvety, which in my experience they usually aren’t.  And their taste is just confusing.  I know there’s cocoa in there somewhere, but they don’t taste chocolatey.  And, they look like they should taste of berries, but they don’t.  Now, red bell pepper soup, there is some real red velvet.

From the taught skins and membranous flesh of raw peppers, there arises a silken smooth, luscious soup.  As velvety as the deep red curtains you might stroke as you steal out onto an empty stage to belt out lines from Hamlet to an abandoned theatre.

Many bell pepper soups call for sauteeing the pepper and onion first, then blending it.  This will produce a perfectly nice soup, guaranteed.  But, if you really want a voluptuous soup experience – and believe me, you absolutely do, you shouldn’t even hesitate – roast them instead.  Actually, roast the onions (or shallots, in this case), and garlic, and some tomatoes there too.

The distinct burnished caramel flavors and delicate smoke from the charred skins that washes through into the meat of the vegetables blooms within the sweet, creamy red base.  You will have to remove the skins after you roast the vegetables, which is a slightly trying process that gets your nails all full of grunge, but also an immensely satisfying process, as you feel the slippery flesh, and the papery flakey skins under your fingertips and know that you are really making something.  You’re immersed in a process of creating, and dirty nails are a sign of work well done.

The basics of this recipe are from my friend Steven of OuiChef.  He is a (very awesome) trained chef, and as such, some of his recipes cross the border into the land of ‘I would like to eat that, but I absolutely do not have time or energy to make that today.’  But, this one manages to stay just north (that’s my side!) of said border.  In part because I skipped the colorful, fancy array of garnishes.

You certainly can (perhaps should) add a sprinkling of sherry-vinegar enrobed sauteed corn and cilantro oil and feta.  Or perhaps swirl in a spoonful of pesto, or grate some Parmesan on top.  Or even – stop me, I may be getting a little crazy here! – sprinkle on some sauteed pancetta bits and chives.  But, as soon as I brought a spoonful of the freshly blended soup to my lips and took a sip, I was so thrilled by its complex, full, yet gentle flavor from the vegetables, I just wanted to eat it by itself.  With no extras.

Except grilled cheese.  My soups seem to be attached at the hip to grilled cheese.

Roasted Bell Pepper Soup (serves about 3) (adapted from Oui Chef)

  • 5-6 large bell peppers, red, orange, or yellow (don’t use green though, they’ll result in a taste that is a bit too thin and echoey for this soup), cut in half, and cored, seeds, and stems removed
  • 4-5 medium-large tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 large garlic cloves, still in their skins
  • 3 large shallots, peeled and cut in half
  • olive oil
  • 2 1/2-3 cups good chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. Heat your oven to 425F.  Put all the vegetables into a large roasting pan.  Pour several generous splashes of olive oil over them, and toss them to coat.
  2. Turn all the peppers and tomatoes so that their cut sides are down.  Stick the pan in the oven and roast for 50-60 minutes, until the pepper and tomato skins are blistered and charred and the garlic and shallots are soft.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool until the vegetables are cool enough to handle gently.  Then, use your fingers to remove the skins from the peppers and tomatoes.  Cut the very ends off of the garlic cloves and squeeze the roasted garlic out.  Put all the vegetables – peppers, tomatoes, shallots, and garlic – into a soup pot.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes (uncovered).
  4. Now, working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (be careful!  Use hotpads!  Don’t overfill the blender because you don’t want tidal waves of hot soup spewing forth!).  Pour it through a strainer into a large bowl or another pot.  Then, return all the soup to the pot, and reheat gently if needed.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve!  Accompany with a hearty bread and some good cheese.  Or grilled cheese.  Or maybe some good sausage.  Or you can garnish the soup with feta, sauteed corn kernels, and some cilantro oil, and pesto.  It will be tasty no matter which way you try it.

23 Responses to Roasted bell pepper soup

  1. Sasha says:

    HI,
    This isn’t really a comment on this post, but it is a question for you, and I felt silly emailing it to you (and thought others could benefit from your answer, and I could benefit from the answers of others). I invited a guy I have been dating over for dinner and I have to cook. I have cooked for guys before, but somehow this is making me a bit nervous. Any ideas for delicious/ somewhat impressive/ pretty foolproof meals? Constraints are that I don’t eat red meat, and live in a part of the world with pretty good produce, but not an incredibly huge variety (no chard!). Any tips? Tried and true recipes? Thanks a million.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Oh that’s a great question! Goodness, I used to always wig out like crazy before cooking for a date! My husband says that when I whipped up a moussaka for him, that’s when he thought to himself, “this girl’s a keeper!” :) Anyway, I think one of the ways to make a meal seem impressive without necessarily making it harder for yourself is serve the different parts as courses. But, the trick with that is making sure the timing works out. So, you can start with something that can sit for a while, like bruschetta, or toasted baguette that you smear with ricotta, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Then you can have a simple soup or a very simple elegant salad, like arugula tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, and topped with Parmesan cheese shavings. Then you want the main to be something that you can have baking in the oven/simmering on the stove while you eat the first course (like a tart (http://fiveandspice.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/tart-with-leeks-kale-and-cantal-cheese/), or roast chicken legs) – stay away from risotto! Or something that’s very fast, like quickly sauteeing a fish fillet rubbed with spices or shrimp (a favorite: http://fiveandspice.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/cajun-shrimp/). I also looove making pizza (if you’re comfortable with yeast dough) (http://fiveandspice.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/hipp-hurrah-for-pizza/). You can make several small ones and he can help you make topping combinations from ingredients you’ve pre-chopped.
      Then for dessert, I’d do something you can have pre-prepared also, a fruit crisp like the peach one I just posted about (gently rewarm it) or tart (here’s a great one: http://www.food52.com/recipes/14217_peach_tart) with some ice cream if he’s a fruit person. Or something like chocolate pudding (http://fiveandspice.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/sometimes-you-need-pudding/), maybe with a caramel sauce drizzle if he’s a chocolate person. Or, this cake is one of my favorites too: http://fiveandspice.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/yogurt-cake-with-pear-and-dark-chocolate/
      But, the most important thing is to make something you want to eat too, and have fun with it! If worse comes to worse, you can scramble some eggs and serve them on toast with a slice of tomatoes. Just put out some nice, plates, and napkins, and serve a nice(ish, at least!) wine, and you’ll be set.
      Sorry this it the longest answer ever!! I’d be so interested to hear what other people’s thoughts are too.

  2. Tien says:

    I just love red bell peppers. This soup must be hearty and delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Will definitely try this someday :)

  3. Margo says:

    We bought half a bushel of red peppers at the farmers market and roasted them on charcoal, cleaned them and canned them in their own juices with olive oil, garlic and salt. They are just waiting for a chilly winter day to break out and bust a move in our kitchen!
    We also roast peppers, onions, eggplants and garlic – clean ‘em up, cut into bit piece chunks, toss together and polish with olive oil and salt for an amazing roasted veggie salad.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Mmm, love roasted veggie salad! When you can them, do you process them in a boiling water bath, or do you need a pressure canner for peppers? Or do you use enough salt to preserve them? Canning vegetables always scares me a little bit!

      • Margo says:

        We give them a nice hot water bath for about 5 min. Out of 65 odd jars only two or three lids didn’t vacuum seal. So those went into the fridge to eat now while the rest will wait for later.

  4. Rachael says:

    I simply can *not* get enough roasted peppers. I roast some just to eat with a bit of mozzarella and bread for lunch some days. This soup will go into the number one slot in my recipe folder for the first cool day of Autumn. Thanks so much :)

  5. Melissa says:

    Ohhhh this sounds really good! I have a cold and a spicy pepper soup would be just the ticket.

  6. Katie says:

    I bet the slight smoky flavor from those roasted peppers is just fantastic. The peppers look so beautiful roasted in the pan!

  7. Candace Karu says:

    Wonderful way to use what’s left in my garden, and roasting the veggies brings out all their flavor. Perfect soup for autumn!

  8. Eileen says:

    This was my first time roasting peppers & I gotta say, I don’t think I’m going to do that again. The charred pan! The tediousness of the pepper-peeling process! The end product was delicious, but the process was NOT fun. My husband would tell you that listening to me swear under my breath was amusing, though.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Haha, oh dear. I’m sorry the process was so un-fun! I really don’t enjoy peeling roasted peppers either, and usually have to either focus on the end result or else convince myself that I’m enjoying the hands on aspect to get myself to do it. But the peppers are delicious once roasted! And if you use parchment paper or a silpat, that helps with the clean up of the pan, in case you do ever try again!

  9. Alex says:

    Holy moly- I just made this and it’s delicious! My body has decided that it is officially fall, so I have been craving soup. I’m glad I picked this one because YUM!

  10. […] got even better when I clicked thru to see that the recipe was from a food blog I read regularly, Five and Spice, who adapted the recipe from  Oui Chef. (I of course altered it a bit […]

  11. Gayla says:

    I know recipes say to not use green peppers. I had to pick my peppers last night because of freeze. They are 1/2 red/green and 1/2 yellow/green. Not quite ready. Will using them in this soup spoil the taste because of the green?

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Hi Gayla, I’d say if they’re quite green, it might not turn out so well. But, I think if they’re all partially turned sweet, it could still possibly be pretty good. I’ve made this soup with a green pepper or two in the mix because I was short on red, and I thought the final soup was plenty delicious.

  12. […] pepper soup, so I went to trusty Pinterest to see what I could find. I came across a recipe from here: But of course I couldn’t be satisfied with what I saw so I tweaked the recipe. And of course […]

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