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Roasted red pepper tomato soup is a warm, healthy, and hearty meal on a cold winters night. Roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and lentils loaded with protein, vitamins and minerals will leave your body happy, while the taste will leave your taste buds happy. Made in an Instant Pot or another pressure cooker, it's ready to go in just 30 minutes. Puree it to make it a bisque or leave chunky- the choice is yours!
Even though it doesn't always get really cold often in Texas, I'm still a soup lover. I've shared favorites like white bean kale and sausage soup and chipotle chicken chili with you before. Last week I shared these healthy banana muffins with oats and several of you asked for more healthy recipes for the new year- so I knew sharing this tomato lentil and roasted pepper soup would be perfect!
Besides being healthy and good for you, it's made in the Instant Pot. Don't worry- any brand pressure cooker will work! It's a one-pot wonder and cooks in no time flat. You can serve it as a side dish or a main meal. It is perfect to dish into a glass refrigerator meal prep container for a quick lunch or dinner during the busy work week.
The key flavor in the soup is the roasted red peppers. Roasting your own is easy peasy, and one of those tips all home cooks should master. Especially when peppers are on sale, it can cut down the cost considerably. After washing, drying, deseeding, and slicing the peppers, you will coat the peppers in olive oil.
Simply place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast until the skins blacken in spots. Some people take the charred skin off, and some choose to keep it on. It's really just your own personal preference.
Benefits of Red Peppers:
Red peppers are just green bell peppers that have ripened longer on the plant before being picked. Other peppers- like yellow or orange are different varieties of bell peppers. The longer they ripen, the sweeter they become.
Red peppers have more than 10 x the beta-carotene than if they had been picked as green peppers. They are also a great source of Vitamin A, potassium, vitamin B6, fiber, and other minerals and vitamins while being low in calories.
Red bell peppers even have over double the amount of vitamin C compared to other citrus fruits. Of course, variety is the spice of life, and using the other colors will allow a different range of health benefits, so feel free to experiment. Eat the rainbow!
The soup also contains lentils. If you are not a fan of lentils, you 100% do not have to include them. There are several great options available to substitute. I like to replace lentils with a can of great white northern beans or chickpeas. If you do, leave one cup of broth out. I've also used cooked rice, but if you do this, add it after it's been pureed, or leave it chunky. But there are a few reasons why you might consider using the lentils (besides the wonderful earthy flavor they impart!).
Benefits of lentils:
Unlike beans, dried lentils do not require a pre-soak. But also just like beans, you should give them a good rinse and pick out any small stones or blemished lentils. You’ll also want to drain them well, I like to use a fine sieve so they don’t slip through.
Lentils are full of protein and are a great source of iron, thiamine, and potassium. There are many varieties- this recipe uses red lentils, but feel free to experiment with whatever you can find, be it green, yellow, black, or brown.
I like to puree most of the ingredients of the soap to make it more like a bisque. You can use a blender by ladling out the soup, but I prefer to use an immersion blender since you can just blend right in the pot!
- Red bell peppers
- an onion
- olive oil
- canned diced tomatoes
- red lentils (see notes for other suggestions)
- tomato paste
- vegetable broth
- dried thyme
- dried oregano
- salt & pepper
- Garnishes: goat cheese, fresh parsley (see more suggestions below and in notes)
For the most part, the actual assembly of the soup is what takes the majority of the time. You'll saute the veggies in the instant pot liner, and drop in the rest of the ingredients. Pop the lid on and walk away. So easy!
- Instant Pot or similar electric pressure cooker
- chefs knife for dicing the vegetables
- cutting board
- immersion blender for pureeing the soup
- sheet pan for roasting the peppers
- aluminum foil
- large spoon
- soup bowls
- soup spoons
FAQ's about Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup:
Do I have to use red lentils?
No! I know several friends who for whatever reason they are just not fans. As suggested above, you can substitute canned beans (you'll want to reduce the amount of broth by one cup if doing so). You can also substitute a cup of cooked rice like basmati, wild grain, or brown rice. You'll want to add it in after you puree the soup, and you'll want to reduce the broth by 2 cups. If you want to leave the soup chunky, you can use uncooked rice with the amount of broth called for in the recipe.
Can I use a jar of roasted red bell peppers or do I have to roast my own?
I've had great success using the equivalent of 2 red bell peppers from a jar with absolutely no issues. Some days it can be hard to find a ripe pepper, or you may not have time to pop in the store. The jarred kind also helps cut down on the time! So yes my friends- use whatever is easiest for you!
Is this soup gluten free?
Great news! The soup is gluten free- with a caveat! You'll want to verify that the lentils are gluten free by checking the label. Some brands do have cross-contamination because it is allowable for lentils to have an allowable amount of other grains in the bag. Just make sure to check the packaging so you don't accidentally gluten yourself or a friend or family member!
Can this soup be made vegan?
I'm not vegan, so be sure to double-check. If you make sure to use a vegan vegetable stock and garnish with a plant-based cheese (or skip it altogether), then yes, this is safe for vegans!
What can I top this soup with?
Experiment with cheese— feta, gouda, a sharp white cheddar, whatever suits your fancy. Dip bread (or a grilled cheese sandwich) into the soup or top with croutons, oyster crackers, and fresh herbs of your choice (parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme are great ones to start with)!
If you are a fan of this recipe, I think you'll also really like this recipe for seedless roasted red bell pepper hummus, this recipe for pasta salad with artichokes, tomato basil pasta sauce with rigatoni, or these easy to make chicken avocado wraps that are loaded with peppers!
Pin to your favorite soup board!
Instant Pot Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
- Olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes can use regular or fire roasted
- 1 cup red lentils rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 cups vegetable broth chicken broth if not vegan
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme or 4 - 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
- Salt & pepper to taste
- goat cheese
- fresh parsley
To roast peppers:
- Heat oven to 500 degrees.
- Prepare a baking sheet with foil and grease with olive oil.
- Wash and dry your peppers, then deseed. Place on baking sheet, skin side up.
- Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until skins are blackening.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. After cooling, remove the charred skins, or keep them on- it's up to you which you prefer.
To make the soup:
- Set Instant Pot to Saute. When hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions, carrot and celery and cook until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, tomatoes with juices, and roasted peppers. Stir together.
- Add lentils, tomato paste, broth and seasonings. Mix everything together and turn pot to off.
- Lock lid in place and make sure valve is set to Seal.
- Set Manual cook "high" for 9 minutes.
- When cook time is up, allow for natural release for 10 minutes.
- Release any remaining pressure and open lid. Let cool for 2 - 3 minutes, then ladle about 4 cups of soup into blender. Blend until chunks of veggies are no longer visible. Pour back into pot and stir. Or you can use an immersion blender if you have one.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve in soup bowls, and garnish with goat cheese and fresh parsley.
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