In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, chile and stock. Cover partially and cook until the vegetables are softened. Remove from heat.For a smokey flavor, saute the red peppers separately until blackened on both sides.
In a blender, puree the vegetables in batches until smooth. Alternatively, process with a handheld blender in the pan until smooth. Pass the pureed soup through a medium-mesh sieve set over a serving bowl, pressing on the pulp.
Discard any solids left in the sieve. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you serve it chilled, let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate the soup until it is well chilled. (4 hours minimum.) If served chilled add a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
If served hot (recommended), chop up some basil, olives, and/or parsley for garnish and top with cheese -- mozz, ricotta and parm works best.
I got the first part of this recipe from the The Whole Foods Market Cookbook: A Guide to Natural Foods. By the way -- this is a great book. My good buddy Rob gave it to me for my birthday last year, and I highly recommend it to those in search of healthy recipes. Anyway... I changed the recipe up a bit. Just as I have a hard time writing recipes, I have a hard time following them. I advocate changing recipes -- it's a great way to be creative. Let me know if you try this one with a different twist. Here goes, Recipe Number One:
1 tablespoon Canola Oil
3 Carrots, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (not to be confused with yams)
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 -7 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
4 cups chopped kale leaves (just the leaves, not the stems)
1 sprig of thyme
¾ teaspoon turmeric,
Salt to taste
A few shakes of Cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of corn starch
¾ cup parsley
½ cup cashew pieces (optional, but makes the soup creamy)
In a large pot, sauté carrots, onion, celery, sweet potato and squash for a few minutes. Add thyme and turmeric. Add tomatos and stock and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add corn, kale, and salt. Simmer for another five minutes of so. Add cayenne pepper.
Blend corn starch, cashews, and a cup of the soup broth in a blender or food processor. Add mixture to join other veggies in the pot.
Depending on how thick or chunky you want the soup, blend some of the soup. I recommend blending half of it, so it's thick, but still chunky. This works best with an immersion blender. If you don't have one, put half of the soup in a blender (may take a few trips to the blender) and return it to the pot. Final simmer for a few minutes.
The first night I ate it with some goat cheese crumbles on top and it was extra delicious...