Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Cilantro Oil

red pepper soup - 1

I may have been a little over-zealous at the farmers’ market when I saw how gorgeous and inexpensive the sweet peppers were this past weekend. I can’t recall my thought process, but apparently, I had in mind making stuffed peppers, Pad Thai, fajitas, AND some sort of slaw, in addition to eating them raw for a snack. It would be pepper-MANIA in our kitchen!

What was I thinking? I failed to take into account that we had company coming, and back-to-back events that gave me little time in the kitchen for the next several days. So there they sat. 

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Finally this morning, I had a block of time between conference calls where I could catch up on all things domestic. Into the laundry went the guest towels and sheets, out to the curb went the garbage with remnants of our party {so embarrassing when wine bottles spill out of the recycling bin and roll down the driveway}.

Now for the peppers… I decided they’d make a great soup. I’d had Roasted Red Pepper Soup a number of times at restaurants, but never made it at home. Within half an hour, I surprised myself with a delicious new addition to my repertoire! And it’s very healthy – blending it gives it a velvety texture without the addition of cream (though you could certainly add it).

I enjoyed some for lunch with a little side salad. The rest goes into the freezer for an evening when we’re short on time and inspiration! Hmmm, it would go great with Mini-Reuben Sandwiches too…

Roasted Red Pepper Soup w/ Cilantro Oil
  • 8 red/yellow/orange peppers, quartered and seeded
  • 6 tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • salt & pepper to taste
Cilantro Oil
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (about 1 cup leaves + additional for garnish)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • pinch sugar
  • kosher salt to taste
  1. Turn oven on to broil and place top oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Distribute the peppers on two of the sheets (skin side up), the tomatoes on the other (skin side up).
  2. Broil the peppers, one sheet at a time, until blackened and charred. Remove and place in tightly covered bowl for 15 minutes (this allows the peppers to continue steaming, and makes the skins easy to remove).
  3. Broil the tomatoes, until starting to wrinkle and blacken. Remove from oven to cool slightly, then remove skins. (I wear gloves to do this, especially if I've had a recent manicure!).
  4. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add peppers, tomatoes, broth and honey and stir together. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is smooth. (Alternatively, you can carefully transfer the soup to a blender. Cover the lid with a dish towel while blending, as hot liquids tend to find their way out of a blender!)
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. For cilantro oil, mix fresh chopped cilantro, olive oil, lemon and sugar in a mini-food processor or shake vigorously in a glass jar. Add salt to taste.
  7. Place soup in bowls, and drizzle about 1 Tbs. of Cilantro Oil over each serving. Garnish with cilantro leaf.

If you’re not a cilantro fan, you could use regular basil pesto as a garnish, but the cilantro oil is delicious.

red pepper soup - cilantro

This soup is also great served cold or at room temperature, which makes it a great appetizer option. {Try serving in shot glasses.}

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