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Roasted Pepper and Fennel Soup

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

This tasty soup is paleo, gluten and dairy free, low histamine, (no tomatoes, which are commonly used in roasted pepper soup). The recipe can easily be modified to be vegan or low FODMAP as well. Many of us with chronic autoimmune disorders have digestive weakness and/or food sensitivities and fennel is a delicious digestive aid culinary herb. This recipe makes 10 servings and can be halved. Enjoy!

8 red, orange and/or yellow bell peppers
2 bulbs fennel
10-12 cloves garlic, peeled (skip for low FODMAP)
4 TBSP + 1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium yellow onion and/or celery, roughly chopped (skip for low FODMAP)   
6 TBSP fresh chopped fennel fronds
6 TBSP fresh chopped parsley
1 TBSP fresh chopped rosemary
1 TBSP fresh thyme
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar (vinegar is high histamine and you can try skipping,                        though I haven't tried this recipe without it)
1 TBSP coconut sugar
3-4 cups water, chicken or bone broth, as needed (bone broth is high histamine)
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste* (skip for low histamine)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F., and greases two baking sheets with olive oil..
Cut the bell peppers in half, remove the stems and seeds, and press each half flat onto the baking sheets, skin-side up. Cut the fennel bulbs into quarters (set the fronds aside for later), remove the core, and cut away any gnarly looking spots on the outer leaves. Place on the baking sheets along with the peppers.
Peel the garlic, and place in the center of a small sheet of aluminum foil. Pull the foil up around the garlic to create a bowl, and add 1 TBSP olive oil. Scrunch the foil tightly shut around the garlic to create a sealed pouch, and place on one of the baking sheets along with the peppers and fennel.
Place both baking sheets into the oven on the middle and lower rack, and roast for 40-50 minutes, or until the fennel is tender and the skin of the bell peppers is wrinkled, rotating the trays once halfway through baking.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and let rest for a couple of minutes, until the peppers are just cool enough to handle. Using your fingers, remove the papery skin from the bell peppers (the skin should separate fairly easily while the peppers are still hot. This is the hardest part of making this soup, but I promise you it is worth it.
In a large pot over medium heat, add the remaining 4 TBSP olive oil. Add the onion and/or celery, and a big pinch of salt, and sautee for 6-8 minutes, or until tender. Add the roasted fennel, bell peppers, garlic (and all of the oil from the foil pouch), and stir to combine. Then add the fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and 2-3 cups of water or broth. Either transfer the mixture to a blender, or puree using an immersion blender, until completely smooth. Add more water or broth as needed to reach desired consistency. Discard strings of fennel in the bottom of the blender.
Season well with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and add a dash of cayenne, to taste. Enjoy!

adapted from