• Healthy roasted red pepper soup

    Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

    Roasted red pepper and fresh carrot-based soup .

    This is a popular vegan soup if for no other reason than it is easy to make and goes from the stove to the table in 60 minutes. In addition, the carrots and bell peppers have beta-carotene, which is a good source of anti-oxidants.

    The combination of carrots and red bell peppers provides a beautiful color to this soup and, with the roasted peppers, a full-bodied flavor. The addition of lemon juice just before serving is a nice flavor flash that enhances the flavor of the roasted peppers.

    Here is my take on this smooth-textured, richly flavored soup. For a complete meal, serve with a loaf of fresh-baked bread.

    2 large red bell peppers
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    ½ teaspoon curry powder
    1 large bay leaf
    1 large onion (sliced)
    2 large carrots (sliced)
    4 cloves garlic (sliced thin)
    1 teaspoon salt
    4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    Turn the oven to broil.

    Place bell peppers on baking sheet, place on the middle rack of the oven and set a timer for 7 minutes. Broil on one side until the timer goes off or the skin is black and blistery. Remove from the oven, turn them “one quarter” to expose an un-blistered side, set the timer for 7 minutes, and broil until the timer goes off. Do this for all four sides. Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a large closeable baggie. When peppers are cool enough to handle, remove from the bag and rub off the blackened peel. Remove seeds. Set aside.

    While the peppers are roasting, heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add curry powder and bay leaf and stir to combine. Add onions, carrots, garlic, and salt. Continue cooking for 8 minutes more or until onion is translucent. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 25 minutes.

    Remove bay leaf and transfer carrot mixture to blender. Add bell peppers and purée until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. To serve, transfer soup to 4 bowls and serve while still hot.

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