I love Roasted Vegetable soups, and usually, the ones I have in restaurants are strong and pungent in flavor, mostly giving off Middle Eastern flavors. The version that I am sharing with you today is something that I experimented with and a bit different, with a creamier taste and texture. It already tastes creamy, even without the cream.
Roasting Bell Peppers
There are two ways to achieve a nice char and smokiness to the vegetables—you can either grill the bell peppers on top of a grill or stove, or you can place them on a tray with olive oil and place in the oven at 210 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. I wanted to infuse more flavor, so I decided to roast half of my onions, some garlic, and a handful of chickpeas to top the soup for additional crunch.
Taming the Oven’s Temper
I’ve talked about my oven’s temper and found a solution which I already did with an older oven years back when I was still in college—I put an extra oven thermometer to watch if the temperature would suddenly spike and rage out of control (back then, the older oven’s issue was temperature drops). Thankfully this time though, the temperature was correct and even throughout. This trick can help you adjust because when you can’t afford to replace an oven with a personality at the time, you can still try to salvage the situation.
Peeling Roasted Bell Peppers
Peeling roasted bell peppers can be quite a pain, but there are ways to make it easier: right after roasting, you can either place in a paper bag and close for a few minutes, or place in a bowl and cover with clingwrap for a few minutes (around 10-15 minutes). This will allow the steam to work through the skin of the bell pepper so that you can easily peel it with your hands later on.
When I made this, I was quite exhausted from a shoot the last few days, so I felt like my brain was floating around while I was in the kitchen. While I had an idea of what I could do and add to the recipe, a part of me was moving around automatically. At that point, I felt that the soup would benefit from a generous addition of paprika. And without looking, I grabbed a bottle of red spice, assuming it was indeed paprika (because that’s where it usually was), and I kept adding and stirring, wondering why the color wasn’t showing as much as I wanted it to. Then I moved on to the other steps of the soup, but while tasting, I wondered why it was very very spicy when I didn’t put anything spicy in it! To my horror, I grabbed that bottle again and saw what it was: Cayenne Pepper! Thankfully, adding cream to the soup toned down the spice level, and it really worked well. I would suggest though, that if you prefer not to add cream or if you prefer to add a little dairy only, steer clear from too much Cayenne. A lesson learned for me on being mindful in the kitchen.
Roasted Bell Pepper and Tomato Chickpea Soup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 5-6 medium-sized bell peppers
- 5 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
- 1 can of chickpeas, with the liquid drained (reserve a handful for the crunchy topping)
- 1 large onion (half would be diced, half would be cut to wedges)
- 8 cloves of garlic (5 cloves whole and peeled, 3 cloves minced)
- 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
- 1 ½ of mixed herbs (oregano and thyme)
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- ¼ teaspoon of cayenne
- 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of carrot, minced finely to reduce cooking time
- ½ cup of white wine
- 250 ml of cream, or 1-2 cups of milk of your choice. For the dairy free option, almond milk particularly goes well with this.
- If you plan to add cream and still want a hint of spice, add a fourth of a teaspoon more of cayenne
1. Roast the Bell Pepper. Two options:
Open fire or grill – for this method dice all your onions and mince all your garlic because they won’t be roasted.
Oven Roast – Place them on a tray with the onion wedges, whole garlic cloves and a handful of chickpeas with two tablespoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of the mixed herbs, and some salt and pepper, and place in the oven for 20 minutes at 210 degrees Celsius.
2. While that’s going, in a sauce pan, heat some olive oil and saute the onions, garlic, 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs and paprika (this is where I made a mistake).
3. When the onions are slightly translucent and the herbs have sweat a little, add the carrots and tomatoes, and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper and saute for another minute.
4. Add the white wine (if you will use this) and let the alcohol reduce before adding 3-4 cups of water.
5. Let it simmer under medium low heat for 15 minutes.
6. Going back to the roasted vegetables, remove the tray of vegetables from the tray after 20 minutes and set aside the crunchy chickpeas.
7. Immediately place the bell peppers in a paper bag or bowl covered with cling wrap to let it steam for about 5 minutes. After that, peel the skin of the bell pepper and chop it up.
8. Add the roasted bell peppers, onions and garlic into the simmering mixture and add the tomato paste and 1-2 cups of water (depending on how much soup you want to make and how thick your soup would be). Let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
9. Place the mixture into the blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
10. Add the cayenne pepper if you will be using this. Adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper) according to preference.
11. Serve with some cream either on top or added to the mixture before serving. Top with roasted chickpeas and the olive oil from the roasting tray.