I was recently approached to help support an EU-funded campaign to promote peppers in the UK by itspeppertime.co.uk. I am rarely without peppers, given how brilliantly versatile and nutritious they are, so how could I refuse an opportunity to further champion them? Eaten raw, sautéed, slowly roasted, or even whizzed up, they work pitch perfect with meat, fish, eggs, and shine in purely plant-based meals. I often think that they inadvertently become the star of a dish – with their colour, texture and taste – even when side-lined to a lesser role. I especially love to use them as a vessel in which to pile more yumminess, as I did for one of my favourite dishes in Nourish & Glow, the vegan ‘Stuffed Peppers with Chilli’.
Peppers, of course, are also a true ‘rainbow’ vegetable coming in the full, dazzling gamut of colours from white through to purple. Whatever their colour, they are deliciously crisp and sweet, and are packed tight to bursting with vitamins and antioxidants, notably Vitamins C, A and B6. Although red peppers boast the most nutrients, all peppers afford us a rich dose of goodness.
What’s great about this soup (as well as bursting with pepper goodness) is that you get a massive veg-hit without any cooking. This version is gluten-free and I think it lacks nothing for being served without bread.
You’ll Need (serves 4)
- 1 red pepper, deseeded
- 1/2 stick of celery
- 1/4 cucumber, deseeded
- 500g firm ripe tomatoes
- 1 spring onion
- 1/2 clove of garlic (or to your liking)
- 1 handful of fresh basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- a generous dash of Tabasco
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- pumpkin seeds and fresh baby basil leaves, to garnish
- Reserve a very small amount of red pepper, celery and cucumber for the garnish, then blitz the rest of the ingredients (apart from the garnish) in a food processor until smooth – you can leave it a little chunky if you prefer. Season with salt and pepper, and add more sherry vinegar and Tabasco to taste. Leave to chill in the fridge for a least 2 hours.
- Chop the reserved red pepper, cucumber and celery into the smallest dice you can. Serve the gazpacho in bowls, topped with the chopped vegetables, pumpkin seeds and baby basil leaves.
Do please take a moment to visit itspeppertime.co.uk where you’ll find further pepper inspiration.
Taken from my book, Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan
Soup Image by Susan Bell