Red Pepper Soup with Pesto

Roasted red peppers are sweet and have a great texture and flavor when puréed in this soup. Try the yellow or orange variety for a change as well. The dollop of pesto adds the savory component. I like to make my own pesto in larger batches and freeze it.

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Follow the instructions on page 100 on how to roast red peppers. Cool them slightly, then peel and dice them. Set aside.

2. Lightly coat a large, nonstick pot with cooking spray then add the oil and set over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until just softened. Add the carrots, potato, stock, diced roasted red peppers, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until the carrots and potato are tender.

3. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor in batches. Return the soup to the saucepan and add the milk. Heat through. Serve the soup in bowls, and garnish each with 1 tsp of pesto.

4 red bell peppers, cored and cut in half
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
2 1/2 cups peeled and diced potato
3 1/4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 cup canned evaporated milk (2%)
2 Tbsp pesto

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 143
Protein 6 g
Fat 3.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Carbohydrates 23 g
Cholesterol 2 mg
Sodium 423 mg
Fiber 3.9 g

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Make Ahead:

Roast the peppers and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 4 months. Prepare soup up to a day in advance and reheat gently.

Serves 6

Nutrition Watch: Red bell peppers are a good source of vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and folic acid. Bell peppers also contain a large number of phytochemicals, which help to protect against cancer and heart disease.