Monday, August 18, 2014

Bell Pepper Soup: An Adaptable Veggie Classic

Images of home made bell pepper soup with ground turkey.
An easy, inexpensive, gluten-free recipe!

This adaptable soup, made with three types of bell peppers, is flavorful, colorful, healthy, and fairly inexpensive.

This bell pepper soup is exceptionally adaptable. It's a great recipe to use whether I'm feeding a large group of big eaters or just cooking for myself. I freeze any leftovers in glass storage containers and pull them out of the freezer for single meals, making it easy to pack lunches or plan for a busy week. After it's reheated, there is no lost flavor.

I can also make this soup a few different ways depending on my budget—either my money budget or my calorie budget. Depending on my guest list, it can be gluten-free, sugar-free, low-sodium or high-fiber. My favorite way is to make this soup by choosing low-fat and low-calorie ingredients because the low-calorie and low-fat ingredients make up for eating it with homemade bread and butter and a big glass of milk!

I've marked here what I've found to be either required or optional ingredients.

Required Ingredients for Bell Pepper Soup

From the fresh produce department

3 fresh bell peppers (I like to use one green, one red or orange and one yellow.)
1 small bag of baby carrots
1 sweet onion

From the canned goods aisle

2 -3 cans/jars stewed or diced tomatoes
1 large can/box chicken broth

From the meat department

1 pound of ground turkey

"Soup it Up" with Optional Ingredients

Yellow bell peppers behind small piles of diced red and green bell peppers.
Make this soup using three kinds of bell peppers.

From the spice rack 

(I add all my spices to the turkey while it's browning.)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fresh garlic
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon mixed, ground peppercorns
1 tablespoon chili powder (Surprisingly, adding this is best in the summer when it's hot.)

From the frozen foods aisle

1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup frozen beans

Homemade or dry ingredients

1-2 handfuls of Polish kluski or Hungarian rivilchas (I add these when it's cold outside, but when I add noodles, I have to use more chicken broth. This option is not the low-calorie option.)

Steps for Making Bell Pepper Soup

Carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, and ground turkey in a chicken broth.
Even after cooking, the soup remains bright and colorful.
1. I use a teeny-tiny bit of olive oil in a 6-quart kettle to prevent my meat from sticking. I brown my turkey, spices and onion in the kettle.

2. As the meat browns, I dice the peppers and add them to the kettle, too. Because I use ground turkey, there is no need to drain the meat when it's cooked all the way through, and I can add the tomatoes, broth, beans, spinach and carrots right into the same kettle. This has to come to a boil, then I lower the heat to simmer for an hour. It takes that long for the baby carrots to get soft—and longer when I use big carrots.

3. During the last 10 minutes, I bring the soup back to a boil to add the kluski or rivilchas. Dry noodles and fresh noodles take the same amount of time to cook, but I've found that fresh noodles actually absorb more broth, so I have a little more broth on hand.

4. When the noodles are soft, I turn off the stove. Before I eat, I let the soup sit on the stove for 20 more minutes to cool—then I eat!

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.  First published Jul 1, 2011 by Amy Lynn Hess.

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