This post has been updated for recipe, photos and content since it’s original publication in 2013.
If you have fond memories of cream of tomato soup from your childhood, stick around. This silky smooth, homemade roasted red pepper and tomato soup is a grown up version of that schoolday classic. My classic tomato pepper soup is easy to make in just over an hour (faster if you’re using store-bought roasted peppers) and it’s LOADED with fresh veg. If you want healthy tomato soup recipes, stop here. You’ve found it.
We can all relate to the cozy feeling of Mom’s tomato soup, even one that came from a can. My red pepper and tomato soup delivers that same cozy feeling, but it’s even better than the stuff in the red and white can.
This red pepper tomato soup starts with sweet, oven-roasted bell peppers. You can use all red, orange or yellow peppers (or a combination of all three). They’re naturally mild and snappy when eaten raw, but roast them in the oven and their flavor intensifies and gets sweeter. That’s where we’ll start for this silky, luscious tomato pepper soup. Note: Don’t use green peppers here, save them for your green turkey chili.
Roasted red pepper tomato soup ingredients:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Fennel (optional)
- San Marzano Tomatoes
- Vegetable Stock
- Olive Oil
- Bay Leaf
- Whipping Cream
- Sugar (optional)
How to roast red peppers in the oven:
- Place whole peppers on a baking sheet and roast them in a 400° oven until the skins are blackened and charred and the flesh is soft. (about 25-30 minutes)
- Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool
- Once cool, slip the skins off the peppers and remove the stems and seeds.
Note: To save time, you can also use a jar of roasted red peppers, just drain them well, first.
Whether you’re making creamy or chunky soups, a base of aromatic vegetables makes a big difference in the final outcome. A tomato soup made with just tomatoes is boring and one-note. Plus the more veggies, the healthier the soup.
How to pick aromatics:
The key to aromatics, is looking for colors and flavors that compliment the main components of the dish.
Carrots, onions and celery are the usual go-to’s, but fennel is another soft, subtle aromatic that’s often overlooked.
Another option would be leeks or shallots. for this tomato and roasted red pepper soup. They blend flavor wise and the colors add to the palate, not detract.
I also add a bit of earthy yellow turmeric to the veg while it sweats. Not only does it add a subtle boost to the flavors, it puts an exclamation point on the color and hue of the tomato and roasted pepper soup.
The best tomatoes for tomato soup:
I recommend canned Italian San Marzano tomatoes in their own canning sauce. They’re less acidic than other varieties and their rich flavor really shines in this soup. I always keep a few cans on hand.
You can also use other canned whole tomatoes in their own sauce.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using fresh, either.
If you’ve got heavy, fragrant plum, beefsteak, or other ripe tomatoes, you can certainly use them, but it takes a bit more prep. Jessica Gavin shows you how in this tutorial on how to blanch, shock, peel and seed tomatoes to use in lots of recipes.
How to make roasted red pepper tomato soup
- Sweat the aromatics in olive oil until tender. Stir in the garlic, turmeric and salt and heat until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, peppers, veg and broth and simmer to develop the flavors. It doesn’t take long (15-20 minutes).
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender or use a food processor or standard blender.
- Stir in the cream and rewarm the soup. Serve with your favorite garnishes.
Is tomato & roasted red pepper soup healthy?
The quick answer is yes.
- With about 200 calories in each 1 1/2 cup serving, roasted pepper and tomato soup is a low calorie soup. It’s anti-oxidant rich and very satisfying.
- Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, which is great for improving cholesterol levels and even reducing risk of heart disease, among other notable health benefits.
- Sweet peppers are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C & potassium as well as fiber and folate. They’re made mostly of water and carbohydrates (the sugars in red peppers give them their sweeter flavor).
- Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. The curcumin in turmeric helps reduce inflammation.
- What about the cream? You might think… GAWD… a whole cup of cream? But it actually breaks down to only 2 tablespoons per serving. Yes, cream adds calories, but full fat dairy products also contain fat soluble vitamins, vitamin A, D, E and K and using whipping cream satiates hunger, so you don’t over-eat (not that I haven’t done that a time or two). Plus it adds a luxurious mouth feel to tomato pepper soup.
Garnishes for homemade tomato pepper soup:
- Fried Seasoned Oyster Crackers (like Anthony Bourdain remembered)
- Drizzle of Cream
- Fresh Herbs like Parsley, Dill or Basil.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich (cut into triangles the way Mom used to do).
More healthy soup recipes with tomatoes or peppers:
- Classic Conch Chowder
- Southwestern Chicken Taco Soup with Black Beans
- Belly Warming Hatch Chile Ham Soup
- Barley and Mushroom Soup
Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
FOR ROASTED PEPPER TOMATO SOUP:
- 3 sweet bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 medium carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1/2 fennel bulb chopped, optional
- 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes in their sauce
- 2 teaspoon sugar optional
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 quart low sodium vegetable stock can substitute chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup regular whipping cream
- Fried Seasoned Oyster Crackers
- Plain Oyster Crackers
- drizzle of whipping cream
- fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the bell peppers on a sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the skins are blackened and the flesh is soft. Transfer the peppers to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool to room temperature. Peel the skins fro the peppers (they’ll slip right off). Halve the peppers and discard the seeds and liquids. Chop the peppers roughly and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and fennel. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are slightly softened and the onions, celery and fennel are translucent.
- Stir in the garlic and turmeric and cook for one minute until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes and sauce, sugar, stock, chopped bell peppers and bay leaf. Break up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook with the lid slightly askew for 15-20 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender or working in batches use a regular blender or food processor to puree the soup until it’s smooth.
- Transfer the soup back to the pot and stir in the cream. Heat the soup on medium heat, stirring until it’s warmed through. Taste for seasonings and adjust to your taste. Serve with assorted garnishes.