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roasted late-summer vegetable soup

I first made this soup last summer, a year ago, when my in-laws generously gave us as many vegetables as we could tote home from their garden. Bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes of all varieties and sizes were brought into our kitchen. I've made a couple of pared-down version since last summer, but this one really nailed it in terms of freshness, flavor and textures.

When making soups, I always start off my soup bases in the same way - by sauteing some onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper until soft. Doing this creates the first layer of flavor to any soup, and in this recipe adding heaps of oven-roasted vegetables adds even more intense flavor. The combination of the vegetables I used here made for a late-summer soup that was both economical and delicious. You can use any vegetables you like.
oven-roasted tomatoes with beautifully blistered skins

oven-roasted yellow squash and zucchini

little vintage mugs of hot soup + crusty bread

Roasted Late-Summer Vegetable Soup
Yields: 10-12 servings

Roasting the vegetables first is the key to this soup's intensely caramelized flavor. Try to chop all of the vegetables into similarly sized pieces so that they roast evenly. I usually don't bother peeling any of the vegetables as I prefer the texture they give to the finished soup.

For the roasted vegetables:
4 large bell peppers (I used 2 green, 1 red, and 1 orange pepper), seeded and chopped
2 medium cucumbers, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small yellow squash, chopped
3 large tomatoes (such as Beefsteak or Sunny Boy), chopped
6-7 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the soup:
1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
32 oz organic vegetable broth
12 oz fresh whole cherry tomatoes, rinsed
2 cups filtered water
Dried oregano, to taste
Herbs de Provence, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper. Arrange the chopped peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, large tomatoes and Roma tomatoes evenly on the sheet pans. Drizzle evenly with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast the vegetables for 1 hour, rotating the pans every 20 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and caramelized but not charred. Let them cool slightly while preparing the soup base.

In a large stockpot over low heat, cook the onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, stirring often, until softened and fragrant. Raise the heat to medium and add a bit of the broth; stir gently to lift and scrape any crusty bits from the bottom of the pot. Lower the heat again.

Add all of the roasted vegetables to the pot, along with the fresh cherry tomatoes. Add the remaining broth, the water, and a pinch or two of the dried herbs. Stir to combine.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for about an hour. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed, and blend until the soup is mostly smooth but still has some texture. Serve with crusty bread.