This recipe is from The Anti-Anxiety Diet Cookbook by Ali Miller, RD, LD, CDE

This is a velvety bowl of yum—charred red bell peppers complement the meaty broth while the pesto provides an awesome pop of brightness and boosts the soup’s vitamin C to the next level! Peppers are also a rich source of vitamin C, which reduces oxidative stress and is used by the adrenal glands in cortisol metabolism. Red bell peppers provide natural sweetness to tame sugar cravings and boost B6 to reduce stress with serotonin and dopamine production. They are also rich in carotenoids and other polyphenols that reduce inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that eating bell peppers and bell pepper extracts can lower blood sugar levels, drive bile flow, and support detoxification and cholesterol-lowering effects.

Makes: 6 (11/2 cup) servings | Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes | Cook time: 30 to 35 minutes

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small carrots, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cups beef bone broth
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅔ cup Simple Kale Pesto (page 138), to serve
  • ⅛ cup pine nuts, to serve

1. Roast the red peppers (see instructions below) and chop them up.

2. While the peppers are roasting, heat a large pan over medium heat. Once warm, add the olive oil, onion, and salt, stirring to coat in oil. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.

3. Add the carrots and garlic, stirring to coat and combine. Cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables start to stick.

4. Add the red peppers and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the beef bone broth, stirring to loosen up the vegetables and reduce the browning. Return to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low.

5. Add the thyme leaves and black pepper.

6. Simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes, then puree with an immersion blender or transfer in batches to a blender. After blending, return to the stove top and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes to combine the flavors.

7. Serve topped with 2 to 3 tablespoons of Simple Kale Pesto and pine nuts.

Note: Vitamin C and other antioxidant levels are 10% to 30% higher in concentration in organically grown foods. Since they are included in the Dirty Dozen (see page 36), purchase organic bell peppers both for more nutrition and for less toxicity to the body and neurological system. Note: Although peppers have many favorable impacts, they are in the nightshade family and, if you are dealing with autoimmune disease–related inflammation, it may be worth eliminating nightshades for three months to see if they are contributing to your symptoms.

Nutrition facts per serving
Calories: 313 | Carbohydrates: 16g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 21g

Roasting Red Peppers

For the most flavorful roasted red peppers, place cleaned whole peppers over an open flame, such as an outdoor grill, a stove top gas burner, or on a baking sheet in the oven directly under the broiler flame. Turn every 4 to 5 minutes for a total of about 4 rotations. Remove the peppers from the heat, place them on a flat surface (such as a cutting board), and cover with a bowl to steam and cook through. This also makes it easier to remove the skin. You can also place them in an airtight container such as a sealable glass container to achieve the same results. When cooled, remove skin, stem, and seeds.

Find out how to get started with the Anti-Anxiety Diet here.