Inspired by fall and a jar of red peppers that had been in my cupboard for far too long, I was recently reminded of a wonderful tomato and roasted red pepper soup that I created for my cookbook, Eat What You Love Everyday. Last night I made it for dinner and, boy, am I glad I found that jar!
When it comes to produce, red peppers and tomatoes make a glorious pair. Not only are they complementary in color, the sweetness of the pepper also tempers the acid in the tomato making them a perfect culinary couple.
When I developed the recipe for the cookbook, I topped the soup with a bit of feta for a Mediterranean flair, but for our dinner instead, I left off the feta, added a very small pinch of cayenne pepper, and paired the oh-so dip friendly soup with grilled cheese sandwiches made with fresh mozzarella and basil. I can’t think of a better combo.
This nutrient-packed soup takes less than 30 minutes to make and has just 75 slim calories (and 1 Smart Point) per cup. For the sandwiches, I used wheat bread, a few fresh basil leaves, and about 1 1/2 ounces of cheese for each sandwich (did you know fresh mozzarella cheese has half the fat and 40% fewer calories than good ‘ol cheddar?). I then sprayed them with cooking spray and toasted them on grill pan while the soup was simmering.
Quick, easy, healthy, and tasty – or should I simply say, mmmm good!
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium carrot, finely grated
2/3 cup roasted red peppers, chopped*
1 (14-ounce) can no-salt diced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup fresh spinach leaves (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly softened and translucent. Add the garlic and carrot, sauté another 2 minutes, and then add the red peppers, tomatoes, broth, basil, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Transfer the hot soup to a blender, or use an immersion blender, and blend until smooth. Mix the cornstarch with one 1 tablespoon of water, return the pureed soup to the pot if using a blender, and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Bring the bisque to a low simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until thickened and warm. Stir in the spinach and simmer one additional minute to wilt spinach, if desired.
*Note: Fresh roasted (skinned) peppers are a great substitute. Jars of roasted red peppers come in many sizes. An 8-ounce jar, drained, yields about 2/3 cup. Leftover peppers can be used in salads, sandwiches, or on appetizer trays.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING (1 generous cup): Calories 75 | Carbohydrate 11g (Sugars 7g) | Total Fat 2.5g (Sat Fat .5g) | Protein 4g | Fiber 3g | Cholesterol 5mg | Sodium 450mg | Food Exchanges: 2 Vegetables, 1/2 Fat | Carbohydrate Choices: 1 | Weight Watcher Plus Point Comparison: 1 Smart Points: 1