This hearty and creamy soup is very comforting on a cold winter day and is given a nutritional boost with the addition of fibre-rich beans. Garnish the soup with simple garlic croutons made with artisan sourdough bread, which is a natural-source of probiotics – important for a healthy gut (plus it tastes amazing!).
SERVES 4 - TOTAL TIME APPROX. 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES
Use organic ingredients when possible
6 large red bell peppers, roasted (see below for how to roast)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
2 cups white or yellow onions (approx. 3 medium onions), chopped
1 cup carrots (approx. 2 medium carrots), peeled, trimmed and chopped
1 cup fennel (white part only) or celery (approx. 1 small fennel bulb or 2 celery stalks), trimmed and chopped
2 cups cooked white or cannellini beans
6 cups of vegetable stock
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, or to taste
1 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano), finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary), finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups (approx. 100g) artisan sourdough bread (can use stale bread if you have it), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp each sea salt and black pepper
Chop the prepared roasted red peppers then set aside. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the onions, carrots and fennel or celery. Cook until tender, but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the roasted red peppers, along with all of the remaining ingredients. Season with sea salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low and cover. Simmer for about 15-30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
Remove the bay leaves. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until desired consistency is reached (blending more for creamy and less for chunky). Alternatively, transfer about half of the soup to a blender or food processor and purée until creamy and smooth. Return to the pot with the remaining soup and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
For the garlic croutons, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add the bread cubes to a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Pour over the bread cubes and toss to combine. Season with a bit more garlic powder if desired and toss once more.
Spread the bread cubes onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir/toss at the 10-minute mark to ensure even toasting.
Serve soup topped with a handful of the garlic croutons. Soup leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Inspired by "Roasted Red Pepper Soup" recipe from The Joy of Cooking
DIY ROASTED BELL PEPPERS
Gas burner method: Place each bell pepper on the centre of a burner of a gas stove and turn the heat to high. Blister, or partially blacken, the skin of each pepper on all sides, rotating periodically using tongs.
Oven method: Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the whole peppers on there and broil with the oven door ajar to let steam escape. Blister, or partially blacken, the skin of each pepper on all sides, rotating periodically using tongs.
When the peppers are blistered and partially blackened all the way around, place them in a bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap so no steam escapes. Let them cool for about 15 minutes.
When the peppers have cooled, the burnt skin will loosen from the flesh of the pepper and you should be able to peel it off. Don’t rinse the peppers in water to remove the skin because you will lose the delicious roasted flavour that lies at the surface. Remove the stem and seeds as well.
You can make the roasted peppers in advance. They will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Roasted peppers can also be frozen for up to 1 month, but leave the skin on in that case and peel when thawed.