We love a cozy bowl of tomato soup, but too often it lacks complexity and winds up tasting more of cream than tomato. Forgetting the cream, we turned to a simple tomato and red pepper soup inspired by Turkish cuisine, which is enriched not with dairy but with herbs, spices, and grains to yield an irresistible flavor. A sprinkle of fresh mint gave the soup a final punch of flavor. When shopping, don't confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which has a much longer cooking time and will not work in this recipe.
Turkish Tomato, Bulgur, and Red Pepper Soup [Vegan]
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups homemade or low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 cup medium-grind bulgur, rinsed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
- Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, bell peppers, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until softened and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, dried mint, smoked paprika, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and their juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes soften and begin to break apart, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in broth, water, and bulgur and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until bulgur is tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, sprinkling individual portions with fresh mint.
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