This dairy-free roasted red pepper and tomato soup is savory with garlic, leeks and shallot and balanced with balsamic vinegar and coconut sugar before being topped with delicious pesto grilled cheese croutons.
How to Roast Red Bell Peppers
The number of red bell peppers that you’ll need for this roasted red pepper and tomato soup recipe will depend on the size of the peppers that you find at the store. I’ve noticed that there can be a lot of variation in the sizes of bell peppers, so you’ll have to adjust the number of bell peppers used based on their size.
Sometimes I use 4 small bell peppers, but if they are large, use 2. Medium-sized? Use 3. I promise, you won’t mess anything up ;).
To roast the bell peppers, first core them and remove the seeds. Then slice them so that you can lay them flat on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Preheat the oven to 450, lightly brush them with avocado oil and bake them at 450 for about 10-20 minutes until roasted and slightly charred.
The timing will depend on your oven. If the option is available, you can also roast them over an open flame until slightly charred.
The Tomato Base of the soup
Canned, peeled tomatoes are a pantry STAPLE in my house! They are so versatile, affordable and have an incredible flavor. I’m definitely partial to the brand Centro (I find them at Trader Joe’s), but I would just recommend looking for a brand that doesn’t have any added ingredients other than the tomatoes.
the other ingredients in the roasted red pepper and tomato soup
Once the red bell peppers are roasted, I like to let them cool slightly before chopping into smaller chunks. It doesn’t need to be perfect, because everything is going to be blended. Add the chopped red bell peppers, canned tomatoes and the rest of the soup ingredients to the pot.
The tomato paste gives the soup a thicker texture and a punch of more concentrated tomato flavor, and the coconut milk gives the creamy, bisque-like texture without adding dairy! It’s okay if the coconut milk has chunks in it, add the entire can and as it simmers, the chunks will dissolve.
The other ingredients added to the soup are the seasonings: salt, pepper & Tuscan seasoning by Simply Organic. If you don’t have the Tuscan seasoning (I highly recommend it), just replace it with an Italian seasoning blend. It’s important to check the seasoning blend to make sure that it doesn’t have salt and pepper in it before adding those or else you may be adding too much!
The balsamic vinegar and coconut sugar are important because the acidity of the tomatoes definitely needs sweetness to balance it. If you don’t have coconut sugar, you can replace it with regular or brown sugar, or just add another tablespoon of balsamic and test it.
how to blend the roasted red pepper and tomato soup
The easiest way to blend this roasted red pepper and tomato soup is definitely to use an immersion blender. If you don’t have one yet, I highly recommend adding one to your kitchen because they are the KEY to creamy soups without having to transfer them to a blender, which is messy and time-consuming.
the best grilled cheese
My mom, a grilled cheese master, always taught me that the key to the perfect grilled cheese is lots of butter. I really can’t argue with that. If you are vegan, just replace the butter and cheese in this recipe with vegan substitutes.
First, smear the slices of sourdough with a thin layer of butter on the sides that will be touching the pan. On the “inside” sides, spread a thin layer of pesto and layer thinly sliced cheese to your liking.
Heat a large skillet and add a couple tablespoons of yep, you guessed it, butter. Let that melt and then add the sandwiches to the skillet. You may need to play around with the temperature to ensure that the browning of the bread is happening at the same rate as the melting of the cheese. I find that covering the skillet with a lid intermittently helps with this, as it speeds up the melting of the cheese.
Once your grilled cheeses are perfectly browned on each side & filled with melty, gooey cheese, I like to let them rest for a minute or two and then slice them into squares and set them on top of the roasted red pepper and tomato soup as croutons.
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Pesto Grilled Cheese Croutons
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 1 cup sliced leeks
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large shallot
- 28 oz. canned peeled tomatoes
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 13.5 oz. full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tbsp Tuscan or Italian Seasoning
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
For the Pesto Grilled Cheese Croutons:
- sliced sourdough bread
- cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450. Wash & slice bell peppers so that you can lay them out on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with a small amount of avocado oil and roast for 10-20 minutes (this will depend on your oven) until slightly charred. You can also char them over an open flame if that’s an option.
- Remove red bell peppers and once slightly cooled, slice the strips into chunks. This is all going to be blended, so it doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Carefully slice the white parts of your leek into rings and rinse them in a colander (leeks hold a lot of dirt in between their layers). Set aside to dry.
- Roughly mince garlic and shallot.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pot and allow to heat for another minute. Sauté the leeks and shallot until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the minced garlic and tomato paste and sauté for another 30 seconds.
- Add the canned tomatoes, chopped red bell peppers, broth, coconut milk, seasonings, balsamic vinegar and coconut sugar. Bring to a boil, turn to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes covered, stirring occasionally.
- Using an immersion blender (or transfer soup to a blender in batches), blend the soup to desired consistency. Taste for seasoning adjustments.
- To make the grilled cheese, smear two slices of sourdough bread with butter on the sides that will touch the pan. On the other side, spread a bit of pesto. Layer slices of cheese and build the sandwiches.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt a tablespoon of butter. Add the sandwiches to the pan and cook until golden brown on one side.
- Flip the sandwiches and cook on the other side until golden brown. Turn heat down slightly and cover with a lid if needed to melt the cheese.
- Serve soup with a pesto swirl and sliced pesto grilled cheese croutons on top.