We're told to get 5-10 portions of vegetables and fruit a day, according to the Canada Food Guide. When my children were younger (and still somedays), they aren't gung-ho on raw vegetables. Combine that with a husband that considers red peppers to be an exotic vegetable, and it sometimes feels like there aren't many recipe options to give my family the necessary vitamins. A few years ago I came across an excellent recipe for a vegetable soup that has lots of vegetables, with some "exotics" like eggplant, chickpeas, plus taste that is out of this world. In fact, my husband's delicate palate loves this soup. It does have quite a few steps, but they're pretty easy after you've made the recipe once. A truly delicious and nutritious option, so I'm sharing it with you. (I'll probably make a pot later today since I found some roasted red peppers in the back of my freezer yesterday.)
Roasted Vegetable Soup
2 medium eggplants (about 2 lbs.)
2 red onions, cut into wedges
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 1/2 lbs. tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
3 red bell peppers
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups fresh basil (or to taste with dried)
1 sprig marjoram (again, to taste with dried)
parmesan cheese for garnish
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1. Preheat oven to 425oC. Prick eggplants and place in a baking pan with onions; toss with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in upper third of oven, turning once, until eggplants are soft and onionsbrowned, about 1-1/4 hours. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, season the tomatoes; place in a baking pan with garlic. Roast on lower rack of oven until tomatoes are soft and juicy, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
3. Roast peppers under broiler until blackened (doesn't take long). Transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let steam under wrap 20 minutes. Using paper towels, rub off skins; remove stems and seeds.
4. Remove stems and skins from eggplants. Coarsely chop flesh; place in a stockpot. Add roasted vegetables and any accumulated juices from baking sheets. Add stock, 1-1/2 cups of the basil, marjoram, and chickpeas; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered until vegetables are very tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Cool.
5. Place soup in blender. Heat. Thin with water if needed. Finely chop remaining 1/2 cup of basil; stir into soup. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parmesan and basil.