I have always enjoyed a bowl of soup, whether it is one chock full of vegetables and grains or a creamy one made with just a few ingredients. When I lived in Milano for eight years, I learned that soups can be savored year round. In fact, our favorite restaurant served a hearty bowl of minestrone with rice all year long. The soup was served at room temperature during the summer, with just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top. I recently made an immune boosting sweet potato soup on my other blog that I share with my daughter and I enjoyed it so much I decided to make a variation. Red lentils add substance to a soup such as this one, and because red lentils become mushy when cooked, they add that a starchiness needed to create a smooth and creamy soup when it is blended. Although I normally avoid red lentils because they do break down so easily when cooked, they are exactly what you need in this soup. Lentils are always a healthy choice as they contain protein, and are packed with high doses of folate, B vitamins, iron, and fiber. Red bell peppers add a punch of antioxidants and vitamin C, making this soup a very healthy one. I added fresh ginger to this soup for the burst of flavor it adds, but ginger also has anti-inflammatory benefits, aids in digestion, and is known to boost the immune system.
Roasted red peppers are hands down one of my favorite ingredients, and I have already posted a couple of red pepper soups here in the past. This soup, enhanced with lentils has become my new favorite as it is full of flavor, creamy smooth, and is packed with low-fat nutrition. This soup would be perfect served in small cups with an elegant garnish when entertaining, yet with the addition of the lentils, is hearty enough to serve in bowls for a mid-week family meal. I did add some bite with a little chili pepper simply because my husband likes his food spicy, but this soup is just as delicious without it. The intense color of this soup just screams fall to me, and I think this would be a great addition to any fall menu. I made a little zucchini and corn garnish for my soup, but this soup is also delicious with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Deborah Mele 2014
Roasted Red Pepper & Red Lentil Soup With Zucchini Corn Relish
- 4 Large Red Bell Peppers
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Diced
- 2 Carrots, Peeled & Chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Ginger
- 1 Small Red Chili Pepper, Chopped (Optional)
- 1 Cup Red Lentils
- 5 Cups Vegetable Broth
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Zucchini
- 1/2 Cup Kernels of Corn
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Lemon Zest
- 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Preheat the broiler and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Cup the peppers into 3 inch wide strips, discarding membranes and seeds.
- Lay the pepper strips side by side with skin side up on the baking sheet.
- Broil the peppers until the skin is blistered and blackened.
- Immediately place the pepper strips in a ziploc bag and set aside.
- In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat, then cook the onions and carrots until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and chili pepper if using, and cook until very fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add the lentils and broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Carefully remove the blistered skin from the pepper strips and place the strips in the pot with the lentils.
- Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the lentils and vegetables are very soft.
- Allow to cool for 20 minutes and use a blender to blend the soup in batches until it is very smooth and creamy.
- Alternatively, use a hand immersion blender to blend until smooth.
- Return the soup to the pot and add lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper.
- Keep warm until needed.
- In a small bowl, toss the garnish ingredients together to mix.
- Serve the soup in individual bowls, with a scoop of the zucchini and corn garnish on top.