Recipe | Roasted Red Capsicum, Smoked Paprika & Tomato Soup

Belinda Jeffery is a food writer, cookbook author and one of Australia’s most loved home cooks. She is known for using fresh, seasonal ingredients to create simple and wholesome dishes. 

Belinda exudes a delightfully warm and thoughtful presence on social media. Her dedicated Instagram followers look forward to her regular Sunday posts from her kitchen and garden, and the local farmers’ market.

Being a cook was Belinda’s childhood dream. She published her first cookbook in 2002 and since then has published several other popular cookbooks. Now, In Belinda’s Kitchen: Essential Recipes is here. 

Recipes include this roasted red capsicum, smoked paprika and tomato soup and a Spinach, leek, zucchini and feta bake – both of which we have shared to give you a wee taste of what you can expect from this endearing collection of Belinda’s recipes.

RECIPE — Roasted red capsicum, smoked paprika and tomato soup

— Words and recipe extracted from In Belinda’s Kitchen: Essential Recipes by Belinda Jeffery

I could eat bucketfuls of this soup, it’s just so delicious. It has the most wonderful rich colour and intense flavour, and you can feel it doing you good as you eat it. Speaking of which, I make this all year round because it tastes terrific at any temperature. In summer we have it cool with chunks of avocado on top; in winter, more likely than not, it gets a scattering of crunchy little croutons or, as in this case, some peppery nasturtium petals as they were flowering at the time we took the photograph. Whatever the time of year, I nearly always serve it with a batch of my really delicious cheese scones (also in the book). The two are a match made in heaven!




5 large red capsicums (peppers)

450g medium-sized ripe tomatoes

¼ cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

½ tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste or pesto

1–2 small red chillies (seeds and all), finely chopped

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

water, to cover (no more than 1 litre)

¼ teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons sea salt flakes red wine vinegar, to taste


mixture of equal parts soft goat’s cheese and crème fraîche (or thick Greek-style yoghurt on its own)

drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

freshly ground black pepper, optional


Preheat your oven to 220°C. Sit the capsicums on a shallow baking tray lined with baking paper. Put the tomatoes in a small baking tin and drizzle them with half the oil. Swizzle the tomatoes around to coat them well.

Sit the capsicums on one shelf of the oven and the tomatoes below them. Roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes, or until their skins have split and the tomatoes are collapsing. Cook the capsicums, turning them a few times, until they’re charred and blistered all over, about 25 minutes.

While the capsicums and tomatoes are cooking, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onion until it’s soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste or pesto and chilli and cook them briefly, stirring, until they’re fragrant, then turn off the heat.

When the capsicums and tomatoes are ready, take them out of the oven. Cover the capsicums with a thick cloth and leave them to sweat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, let the tomatoes cool slightly then peel away the skins, holding the tomatoes over the pan to catch any juices. Set the peeled tomatoes aside. As soon as the capsicums are cool enough to handle, peel away the skins, holding the capsicums over a bowl to catch any juices. Discard the skins, core and seeds. Chop 4 of the peeled capsicums roughly. Slice the remaining capsicum thinly for a garnish.

Reheat the onion mixture and add the roughly chopped capsicum, along with the tomatoes and their cooking juices. Strain any juices from the capsicum into the pan too. Now stir in the paprika, water, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 15–20 minutes, or until the capsicum is very tender.  Remove the pan from the heat.

Purée the soup in batches in a blender (or, if you have an immersion blender, you can do all this in the pan). One thing about this soup is that it needs quite a lot of salt, so taste the soup and add more as you go. It often takes me a while to get it right. Add a small splash of red wine vinegar to sharpen it slightly. This soup tastes even better if it’s made a day or two ahead to allow the flavours to develop.

To serve it, gently reheat the soup and ladle it into bowls, topping it with a few dollops of the goat’s cheese mixture (or yoghurt), a strip or two of the reserved capsicum, a drizzle of olive oil and a little freshly ground black pepper, if liked. 

TRY ANOTHER OF BELINDA JEFFERY’S RECIPES: Spinach, Leek, Zucchini and Feta Bake — Recipe by Belinda Jeffery

Recipe extracted from In Belinda’s Kitchen: Essential Recipes by Belinda Jeffery

(Published by Simon & Schuster Australia. RRP $49.99. Food photography © Rodney Weidland, Illustrations © Daniel New)

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