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Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

I have this thing about tomatoes. I can’t stand them.

Well, wait, that’s not exactly true. There is something about tomatoes in whole, sliced, quartered, or even itty-bitty chunk form, something about how gory they look to me, something about their smell (green and unripe always) and, most important, something about their flavor that always makes my gag reflex go into overdrive. (Don’t even get me started on how many times tomatoes have masqueraded as perfectly acceptable red bell peppers only to get discovered when being bitten into or that time I accidentally ran over a baby tomato with my bike and all its seedy sliminess shot up my leg -- shudder.) Suffice it to say, I am not a fan.

That being said, I have matured beyond my childhood stance of “no tomatoes, not ever” to one that embraces marinaras and salsas as long as there are no threatening intact tomato chunks. (I also love sun-dried tomatoes. I know, it’s weird but I’ve met others who are selectively averse in the same way, though.) We have a lot of tomato plants in our garden, even though they have that funky smell that makes me break out uncontrollably in a whole body shudder. It turns out that I love tomatoes as long as they are cooked and pureed. This Roasted Tomato and Red Bell Pepper Soup is a perfect example to me of my Acceptable Use of Tomatoes. Blended with two kinds of peppers (both sweet and hot, for those who don’t want to choose), creamy, rich roasted garlic and onions, this soup is smoky, sweet and full of peak, luscious summer flavor. Whether you are a tomato lover or someone of the more squeamish variety, this is one good soup, regardless.

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
Serves five - six large bowls

5 pounds plum tomatoes, sliced in half
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup fresh basil, whole or chiffonade

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two rectangular baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

Gather the chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables and gently toss so all is distributed. Salt and pepper as much as you like. (I used about two teaspoons of salt.) Divide the vegetables between the two baking sheets and bake for 40 minutes, switching the baking sheets at the midway point to ensure even cooking.

Put all the veggies except the garlic in your blender and squeeze the roasted garlic out of its peel into the blender. Add the broth and blend until its the consistency you like. Alternatively, add the veggies, squeeze garlic and broth in a large pot and use an immersion blender to blend. Heat and enjoy with basil on top. Want to make it creamy? Blend with some soaked cashews.

2013, 2014, Vegan Street

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