Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Soup

I’m terrible at being on my own. Seriously. If I didn’t have a cat I would have to enlist a parade of friends and family to come and check on me every half an hour because I just don’t know what to do with myself. I’ll happily watch hours of Food Network (not an exaggeration, sadly), but as soon as it moves from Triple-D to Restaurant Impossible I am out.

I got a lot of housework done this weekend is what I’m saying. I even secured and adorned our newly mounted dining room shelf:

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Swoon.

Anyway, the upshot of me being on my own is that I don’t need to cater to Isla’s requirements; I don’t mind doing it at all, but it’s nice sometimes to just think about yourself.

Or so I’ve heard.

With a wife who’s allergic to peppers, it’s easy to forget how delicious they can be – so I whipped up this hecka tasty soup to remind myself. Lunches for days, you guys.

Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Soup (Vegan, Gluten-free)

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40-50 minutes

Equipment

Large saucepan with lid; roasting tray, lined with greaseproof; chopping board and knife; jug; wooden spoon; whizzy-whizzy-let’s-get-busy equipment (e.g. stick blender).

Ingredients

  • 4 red peppers
  • 2 beef tomatoes (or 4-6 large salad tomatoes)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (in 700ml boiling water)
  • 10 basil leaves (+ small leaves for garnish, if you like)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste/puree
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic & herb oil (or regular oil + 2 cloves garlic)
  • 1-2 tsp paprika
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Turn your oven to 200C and get those veggies prepped. Peel and chop the onion into chunks, then add to the lined pan. Give the tomatoes a quick wash and remove the green stems, then chop into chunks and toss in with the onion. The peppers are, in my view, the easiest bit: push down into the green stem with your thumbs until it pops in, then tear the pepper in half – the stem and seeds should all come out as one, and any excess seeds can be shaken out. Tear the pepper into chunks – no need to chop! – and add to the pan with the other veggies. Drizzle over the oil, add a generous amount of salt & pepper (and the garlic cloves, chopped, if using), mix with your hands (or a spoon) then pop into the oven for around 30 minutes.
  2. Once everything’s nice and soft and starting to char, pop the kettle on and get your pan on a low heat – pour all the veg (and juices!) into your pot and admire the frankly lush colours. In a jug, combine the stock cube and tomato puree with around 700ml boiled water, then pour it over the veg, adding paprika and a little more salt and pepper. Put the lid on and let it simmer for around 10 minutes.
  3. Layer your basil leaves and roll them up tightly into a cigar shape. Slice as thinly as possible and set aside. Congratulations! You’ve just done a good old-fashioned chiffonade. Whizz up your soup until it’s nice and smooth, then stir through the chopped basil. Garnish with a little extra basil, if you fancy.

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This couldn’t be easier, and it’s one of the healthiest soups I’ve ever made. Since making this I’ve turned some of the leftovers into pasta sauce (with a little tuna and blue cheese – random but delicious) and there are plenty of other ways you can jazz it up. You can add red chilli or dried chilli flakes for spice, or whizz up a little more basil with some olive oil and drizzle over the top for a bit of zing. The world is your oyster! Except soup-based. The world is your seafood chowder, maybe?

I’ll work on it and get back to you.

Hattie

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