Last year I discovered the art of roasting various vegetables, throwing them in the food processor with some stock or heavy cream and a few seasonings, and there you have it, a delicious concoction that can be used in a few different ways. The consistency of the final product lends itself well to a creamy soup, or you can throw it over pasta or some chicken and make a larger meal out of it.
Lots of different veggies lend themselves nicely to roasting. For this soup, I used Red Peppers, Carrots and Tomatoes. The red peppers are the stars, and really you are adding other veggies to get some more nutrition and to make a little go a long way! Start by prepping the veggies: cleaning, cutting the larger pieces into half, removing the seeds, and tossing them very lightly (1/2 tablespoon or so) of oil. I use veggie oil, because I don't want to waste my olive oil on roasting (I am on a budget you know)! Main reason for the oil: prevent the veggies from sticking to the pan as they roast.
The smaller cherry tomatoes are left whole, but the Roma tomatoes are cut in half lengthwise, and the seeds are removed. The carrots are peeled, cut in thirds, and the thicker pieces (3/4 to 1 inch in diameter) are cut lengthwise. Roast the veggies in the oven at about 350F for an hour or so, until they look like this:
The cherry tomatoes started to split, and there was some nice color forming on the peppers. Just look at those delicious tomatoes just bursting to see you! Do your best to hold back from enjoying this yumminess at this step!!
At this point you will want to remove some of the skins from the peppers and tomatoes. Don't worry if you cant get them all, just get as much as you can so you don't end up with lots of skin in your soup.
Transfer all your roasted deliciousness to your food processor or blender (either would work fine for this). Add some garlic, cilantro, lime zest, and cream and let the machine do its thing! Blend until its a uniform consistency. Taste test, adjust seasonings as needed, or add more cream if its too thick for your liking. I ended up using a whole half pint of cream, but I started out using only about 1/2 of the container, and then slowly added more until I got to the best consistency for me.
Cilantro Lime Cream. Sounds fancy doesn't it? So incredibly simple you will be like - seriously?, Thats it? To which I will say - Yup!! Literally all it takes is some fresh cilantro (which you can get for about $1 a bunch at a farmers market), the juice of a lime (the same one you zested for the soup, can get 3/$1 at the farmers market or produce shop), and some sour cream. Mix those 3 ingredients together, and BAM, cilantro lime cream! Put the mixture in the fridge while your veggies are roasting to let the flavors develop and combine.
I served this soup as an appetizer when my family came for dinner a few nights ago and it was a huge hit! Put the soup in a cute little bowl, and put a dollop of the cream on top. Swirl it with the end of the spoon to make it look even more tasty than it already is!
Roasted Vegetable Soup
4 large red peppers - cleaned, seeds removed, halved lengthwise
4-5 carrots - skinned, cut in thirds, with larger pieces cut lengthwise
2 roma tomatoes* - cleaned, halved, skins removed
12 cherry tomatoes* - cleaned
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 pint heavy cream
Zest of 1-2 limes
1 tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tbsp diced garlic
*You can use any tomatoes you have on hand, but make sure to remove seeds from the larger varieties.
Toss the red peppers, carrots, and tomatoes lightly in the oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in oven at about 350F for an hour, or until the skins on the peppers blacken, and the cherry tomato skins burst. (NOTE: while the veggies are in the oven, make the cilantro lime cream, recipe below).
As soon as the vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove as much of the tomato and pepper skins as possible, but don't worry if you can't get them all. Transfer all vegetables to a food processor or blender. Add some of the heavy cream (can always add more, but can't take it out once its in!). Add lime zest, cilantro, and garlic. Blend until consistency is smooth. Taste, adjust seasonings as desired, and add more cream if needed to thin out the final soup. Blend again, re-taste, repeat, until you are happy with the flavor. Heat soup on stovetop if needed.
Cilantro Lime Cream
1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro - minced
Juice of 1 lime
3/4 - 1 cup sour cream
Combine all ingredients while the vegetables are roasting in the oven. Place mixture in the refrigerator so the flavors combine until the soup is ready. Put a 1 tbsp dollop of this mixture on top of the soup before serving.
Ideas for the Leftovers
If for some crazy reason you end up with leftover soup, here are a couple ideas for using it up (other than having the soup again, which is always an excellent option!)
- Use as a sauce over pasta
- Combine with cheese, cooked ground beef or turkey, and use as a stuffing for baked shells
- Use instead of pizza sauce on homemade pizza