Tomato and red pepper warmer

    50 min

    Sweet red peppers and passata make a beautiful red soup that is sophisticated yet simple to prepare. Swirled with crème fraîche and accompanied by hot pesto bread, it makes a splendid special-occasion starter. For a mid-week supper, garnish the soup with fresh herbs instead of crème fraîche and serve with wholemeal bread.

    92 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 1 long French loaf
    • 3 tbsp pesto
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 675 g (1½ lb) red peppers (3–4 peppers, depending on size), seeded and coarsely chopped
    • 300 ml (10 fl oz) vegetable stock, preferably home-made light or rich
    • 300 ml (10 fl oz) passata
    • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
    • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • salt and pepper
    • To garnish
    • 6 tbsp half-fat crème fraîche
    • 6 sprigs of fresh basil

    Prep:25min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:50min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). Cut the French loaf across in half so that it will fit into the oven. Cut each half into 3.5 cm (1½ in) thick slices, leaving the slices attached at the base. Hold the slices apart and spread each one thinly with pesto, then press them back together. Wrap the bread in foil and set aside.
    2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 5 minutes or until softened but not browned. Stir in the peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the stock and remove from the heat.
    3. Place the bread in the oven to heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and stir in the passata, thyme, cinnamon and sugar. Heat the soup gently without allowing it to boil. Season to taste.
    4. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish each portion with a spoonful of crème fraîche and a sprig of basil. Serve with the hot pesto bread.

    Some more ideas

    Plain low-fat yogurt or fromage frais can be used instead of crème fraîche. * For a spicy version, add 1 seeded and finely chopped fresh red chilli with the onion, or a dash of Tabasco or other chilli sauce with the final seasoning. * For a tomato and carrot soup, use 675 g (1½ lb) diced carrots instead of the red peppers. After the stock is added, cover the pan and simmer the carrots for 10 minutes or until they are tender. Finish as in the main recipe, omitting the sugar. * Add 450 g (1 lb) coarsely chopped leeks and 4 sliced celery sticks with the onion instead of the red peppers. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the leeks are softened before adding the stock. Purée the soup and finish as in the main recipe, omitting the sugar.

    Plus points

    Red peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C – weight for weight they contain over twice as much vitamin C as oranges. They also provide good amounts of carotenoids and bioflavonoids – both antioxidants that help to protect against heart disease and cancer. * Tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid compound and a valuable antioxidant that is thought to help protect against prostate cancer. Lycopene is enhanced by cooking and so is most readily available in processed tomato products, such as canned tomatoes, tomato purée and passata.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C. Good source of folate, vitamin B1. Useful source of niacin.

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    Reviews in English (7)


    We really liked this. I didn't add the creme fraiche or basil at the end but it turned out perfect. Will definitely be making this again.  -  18 Sep 2013


    I'm afraid I didn't really like this soup but wonder whether I did something wrong. I added everything apart from the cinnamon and had to put a whole tub of creme fraiche in to make the soup taste less bitter. I won't be making this again  -  27 Sep 2012


    I have made this soup several times my family lover it! You really need to add the sugar and cinnamon to take away the bitterness. I have had it with and without the creme fraiche and it's delicious either husband and son prefer it with a swirl of cream.  -  14 Oct 2015