w4 red pepper & tomato soup
Credit: jules (jules:stonesoup on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

When I was a kid, a bowl of creamy tomato soup with crackers was my favourite after school snack.

Since it wasn't junk food, my parents didn't mind me having it before dinner.
On second thought, I never did understand why or how some foods could "spoil my dinner" and other foods couldn't. 
And soup has always been a comfort food, don't you think? People will make it for you when you're ill; if you are stuffed up, it helps clear your sinuses. 
Now that I am old enough to make it from scratch (and the authorities will let me), I make soups that are much healthier and tastier than those store-bought canned ones that my parents (and perhaps yours) relied on.
If you like tomato soup, you'll love roasted red bell pepper soup even more.

Lots of Variations

in Roasted Red Pepper Soup Recipes

I thought I'd search around and see what other ingredients are commonly found in roasted pepper soups. Some recipes included potatoes or carrots and thyme. I didn't bother adding those to mine. I love the unadulterated taste of roasted red peppers (actually, I'm too lazy to peel potatoes or carrots and I'm always short on time - and thyme).
Many of the creamy versions called for, well . . cream. (Which is fine for some of us, but I wanted to use Greek yogurt instead). I prefer basil and cilantro over parsley, so I threw those into the mix. But hey, that's the great thing about making your own, you can add whatever you want to your roasted red pepper soup.

Easy Creamy Red Pepper Soup

Prep: 15 mins | Total: 45 mins

My recipe was loosely based on one I found on the Dannon website called Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Yogurt Pesto Swirl.[1] It appealed to me because I knew I could tweak it to suit my tastes.

Since the original recipe only made about a quart, I doubled some of the ingredients. Instead of using prepared pesto, I added extra garlic, basil, cilantro, and lemon juice to mine (I skipped the pine nuts). Parmesan cheese is optional, of course (I prefer to grate it directly over each bowl to try to impress my guests).
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
1 medium sweet onion (Vidalia) OR 4 shallots (sliced thinly)
3 - 5 garlic cloves (minced)
2 (12 oz) jars of roasted red peppers (equals 3 roasted red bell peppers)
1 (900 mL/30 oz) carton of sodium reduced chicken or vegetable broth (equals 3.8 cups of homemade stock)
1 - 1.5 cups of plain Greek yogurt 
1/3 bunch (about 20 leaves) fresh basil (chopped finely)
handful of fresh cilantro (chopped)
2 tsp. lemon (or lime) juice
Optional: grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over med-high and add onions. Stir-fry onions until translucent (but not brown). Add minced garlic and keep stirring for another minute (burnt garlic will ruin your soup, so don't walk away). Throw in broth and red peppers (loosely diced roasted red peppers are ideal) and bring to a boil. 
Once boiling, reduce heat immediately and allow soup to simmer for 30 minutes. Give it an occasional stir during this time.
While soup is simmering, wash and chop basil and cilantro (or parsley, if you prefer) and add to a medium bowl. Drizzle lemon (or lime) juice over herbs and set aside. Add chopped herbs drizzled with juice to soup after about 20 minutes of simmering time (or later is fine too). 
Once the herbs and juice have been added, allow another 5 mins of simmer time to the soup and then turn heat off (but keep soup on the same burner). Here's where the fun begins, using an immersion blender, puree soup to your liking. (I don't mind it a bit chunky, but the choice is yours).
Lastly, add yogurt and combine thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. Top with freshly gated Parmesan cheese and sprigs of cilantro, if desired. If your soup seems too spicy, you can always water it down with more broth or Greek yogurt.
Tip: If you don't have an immersion hand blender, you can always use a blender and puree your soup in batches (a blender with a glass pitcher would be less likely to retain the spicy smells and flavour from the soup).

Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Hand Blender

Just makes life easier

Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender RoseWrites 2014-09-05 5.0 0 5

Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick

2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender

Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome
Amazon Price: $65.00 $34.49 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 8, 2014)
By far this is the best hand immersion blender on the market. The price has come down and these bad boys are available in a wide array of funky colours now. You just can't beat the 200-watt motor (keep a firm grip on it while it's in use or it'll get away from you and scare the cat half to death). Comes with a handy 2-cup beaker (perfect for beating eggs or whipping up smoothies). Amazon shows a demo video featuring Mary Rodgers, a housewares industry professional with over 20 years of experience.

Cento Roasted Peppers in a 12 Oz. Glass Jar

Cento Roasted Peppers, 2 / 12- Oz. Glass Jars RoseWrites 2014-09-05 5.0 0 5

2-Pack of Cento Roasted Peppers

Cento Roasted Peppers, 2 / 12- Oz. Glass Jars
Amazon Price: $7.69 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 8, 2014)
I prefer the Cento brand since the peppers are packed in water and natural sea salt (not oil and without any additional spices). These peppers do have a little bit of char left on them which gives them a smoky flavour. If you use other brands, be sure to check out the ingredients and cut back on those same spices that you add to your soup (often they come packed with garlic).

Want to Roast the Peppers Yourself?

3 Red Shepherd Peppers
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

There are Plenty of Methods

Chef Rich Jacobs has the best advice

Some chefs are quite handy with their knives (I'm not one of them). So after I viewed a half dozen videos, I felt that Chef Rich Jacobs nailed down the best way to roast your own peppers (shown next). Remember, for this recipe you'll need about three roasted red bell peppers.

His method to cut the peppers is safer and utilizes more of the pepper. I agree with him that oiling both sides yields the best result. And I especially liked his "frozen container method" for sweating the peppers. Yeah, don't let the burnt skins scare you.

These are Perfectly Done

once you take the skins off

My Roasted Red Shepherd Peppers
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

How to Make Roasted Peppers

by Chef Rich Jacobs

My Roasted Red Pepper Soup

with Greek Yogurt

My Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Greek Yogurt
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved