When you see fresh red bell peppers go on sale at the market or grocery store, it’s a sign from the Food Gods that you need to make this delicious Roasted Red Pepper Soup. Typically, red bell peppers are the most expensive out of all the varieties of bell peppers. That’s because they are simply the best! They’re sweet, crunchy and refreshing and continue to be a crowd favourite time and time again.
Fresh vine tomatoes from Windset Farms, BC-grown red bell peppers from The Root Cellar and basil from my balcony all go into this fabulous summer soup!
While people may think that red bell peppers are completely different than green bell peppers, brace yourselves because I’m about to blow your mind: red bell peppers are really green bell peppers that have been fully ripened on the vine before they are harvested! Say WHATT?! Yes, it’s true! Similarly, yellow and orange bell peppers also start out as green bell peppers. Yellow bell peppers are harvested earlier on in the peppers maturity phase and orange peppers are picked in a later maturity phase- just before it fully matures into a full-blown red bell pepper. Not only do the colours of the bell peppers change, so does the sweetness level. Green bell peppers are the least sweet (and the most bitter tasting pepper) as they are technically unripe when harvested. As you move from yellow to orange to red, the sweetness level increases.
Serve this soup warm or cold- it’s great either way!
In this case, the most desired bell pepper for this soup is the red bell pepper as it is the sweetest and most flavourful. When the pepper is roasted in the oven, the flavour becomes even sweeter and a bit smoky which is what lots of people love about this soup. The smokiness is further enhanced by the addition of smoked paprika. My favourite is La Chinata from Spain.
La Chinata Smoked Paprika has so much smoky flavour <3
Smoked paprika, and paprika in general is made from…you guessed it…red bell peppers. The red bell peppers are slowly dried out and are then ground into a fine powder and can be used in many dishes. To make smoked paprika, the peppers are smoked while they are drying to give it that distinct flavour. It’s always good to keep in mind that a little goes a long way when using smoked paprika. If you add too much, it can impart a very bitter flavour to your dish, so stick to around ½ to one teaspoon.
In addition to the roasted red bell peppers and smoked paprika, tomatoes, shallots and basil are the only other ingredients that I include in this soup. I like to add some tomatoes to the soup so that it cuts down the cost of the soup (because red bell peppers can be expensive, and you will need a lot for this recipe) without taking away from the flavour. The tomatoes are rather neutral in flavour and they really allow the red bell peppers to shine through. Similarly, I opt for using a shallot rather than a yellow onion so that it doesn’t overpower the flavour of the peppers. An addition of bright, fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil pulls the whole soup together.
So the next time you see red peppers on sale, pick up a bunch and make this delicious Roasted Red Pepper Soup!
For the full recipe, click here!
It is also friendly to vegetarians and vegans and is also gluten-free and dairy-free! BONUS! Let me know in the comments below if you are looking for vegetarian and vegan friendly foods!