This is a lovely soup to prepare when you want a heart-healthy meal with just a touch of indulgence. Chopped and roasted red peppers are our favorite quick method for achieving that sweet, roasted red pepper flavor without the hassle of peeling pepper skins. An immersion blender will quickly become your best friend when making this smooth and satisfying bisque. Plus, you’ll find that this soup gets even better a day or two later!
SERVES 4 TO 6
Bisque Ingredients: 4 red bell peppers, chopped6 cloves garlic, peeled 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1 onion, minced1 carrot, diced2 tablespoons unsalted butter1 tablespoon tomato paste4 cups vegetable broth1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes2 bay leaves2 springs fresh thyme1/4 cup half n’ half
Pesto Ingredients: 4 cups basil leaves, packed1 teaspoon Kosher salt1/4 cup pine nuts2 cloves garlic3/4 cup olive oil1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread out the chopped red peppers and garlic in a single layer. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and roast until peppers are a bit charred, about 45 minutes. Stir halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Make the pesto by combining all the pesto ingredients in a food processor and blending until smooth. Add additional olive oil or a drizzle of water as needed to thin. Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, over medium heat, sauté the onion and carrot in the remaining olive oil and butter until translucent. Add the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, and fresh thyme. Simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Use tongs to remove the bay leaves. Add the roasted red pepper and garlic pieces, and remove the pot from the heat. Carefully blend the hot soup using an immersion blender until the texture is smooth.
6. Return the pureed soup to the heat, and stir in the half n’ half. Drizzle the top with pesto, and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with crusty bread and butter.