Soup is a cold-weather staple, but can be a little tricky on a low sodium diet. You don’t have the luxury of ordering soup at a restaurant, and some classic soup flavors can be tough to makeover without all that added salt. Time to introduce some great flavors that can stand on their own without the salt – like garlic and roasted red peppers.
We live in Montana, which means long, cold, snowy winters. There are some definite downsides to the long winters (slick roads, shoveling sidewalks, short days), but there are many upsides too. Examples? A sunset reflected on snow-capped mountains. A hike out in the snowy hills, and then coming inside to a warm, cozy living room and your favorite blankets. A day of skiing, snowboarding, or (if you are less coordinated, like myself) sledding. These are some of my favorite winter things. And honestly, I love a big sweatshirt and long sleeve shirts. I love my Uggs (as unfashionable though they may be). I love the seat heaters in my car. I love the heated mattress pad on my bed. And I don’t get to use any of these things when it is hot out. So as much as I love hot summer days, I miss winter when it is gone and welcome it with open arms every time it rolls back around.
I also happen to love what the different seasons do for my menus. I am not crazy about soup on a hot summer day, but I will make endless soups in the winter. We have a decent collection of low sodium stew and chili recipes, but soup is a little more tricky. Our palates are used to the super salty broth in soup and it was difficult to make the switch. So for this soup I decided to start with the strong flavor of fire roasted red peppers, and went from there. There was definitely some trial and error, but we really like the combination of flavors here. And by the way – this is spectacular with Bannock, the quick bread that I posted last week.
If you want a full description of how to roast your red peppers (with photos), visit the Fire Roasted Green Chiles post. You will follow the same directions, but will use fresh red peppers instead of Anaheim green chiles. I have included instructions in the recipe below, too, but I don’t have the step by step photos here.
You basically just throw the peppers on the grill (or under a broiler) until they are black. You want as much of the skin black as possible (this means turning the peppers a lot and paying attention to the tops and bottoms of your red peppers). Then you let the peppers steam in a covered bowl or a gallon-sized baggie for at least 20 minutes. Then you scrape off the blackened skin, and remove the seeds and stems.
The rest of the soup is really easy. Sauteed onion and garlic are the foundation, with carrot and potato adding flavor and texture.
The only tricky piece is blending the soup. If you have an immersion blender, this is the perfect place to use it. You can use a regular blender here too, but be sure to do two things so that you don’t end up with hot soup flying out of the blender. First, don’t fill the blender pitcher past the halfway point, even if you have to blend the soup in batches. Second, vent the pitcher while blending by leaving the lid slightly ajar or popping out the lid plug.
After you blend the soup, toss in a bit of Tabasco and sour cream and serve! (Those are Hint of Salt Ritz crackers in the picture, by the way. We love them, but they aren’t super low so Joe uses them in moderation.)
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
SODIUM COUNT: 57.8 mg per serving; 289 mg in the entire recipe
- 4 large red bell peppers
- 2 tsp butter
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small onion (chopped)
- 1 medium carrot (peeled and sliced)
- 1 ounces small potato (about 5-6 ounces, washed, peeled, and chopped)
- 3 cups unsalted chicken broth (I use Swanson)
- ¼ teaspoon original Tabasco
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
Roast the Peppers:
Place the peppers on the grill over high heat. Grill for about 5-10 minutes per side. Rotate the peppers as needed so that the peppers are evenly blackened. (Note that you can also place the peppers under a hot broiler to get the same result.)
When the peppers are evenly blackened and the skin begins to crack, remove from the grill and place inside a large ziploc bag. Seal the bag and let the peppers steam for at least 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the peppers from the bag and scrape the skin off with a knife. Remove the stem and slit the pepper so that it lays flat. Scrape the seeds out of the pepper with the knife.
Set aside the prepared peppers until you are ready to use them in the soup. You can roast the peppers ahead of time; they will keep for several days in the fridges or a few months in the freezer.
Make the Soup:
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and onion and sautee for 1-3 minutes.
Add the carrot and potato to the pot and cook for another minute.
Place the roasted peppers in the pot, along with the chicken broth. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the carrot and potato are cooked through.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. You can also use a traditional blender but if you do, make sure that you do not fill the blender too full and that you leave the lid slightly ajar. Be very careful when blending hot liquids.
Add the Tabasco, sour cream, and tomato paste. Keep the pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat for about 2 more minutes.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION Yield: 5 servings, about 1 cup each
Sodium: 57.8 mg, Calories: 152.6, Total Fat: 6.8 g, Saturated Fat: 4.1 g, Cholesterol: 14.2 mg, Carbohydrates: 20.0 g, Fiber: 4.4 g, Sugar: 7.8 g, Protein: 4.5 g.