Roasted Tomato & Eggplant Soup

Au Bon Pain Copycat Recipe

Makes 4-6 servings

2 large tomatoes, cored, seeds removed, and cut into quarters
1 eggplant, stem removed and sliced in half length wise
1/2 of 1 sweet onion, cut into large chunks
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 (28 oz.) can peeled or diced tomatoes
1 small (6 or 12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers
handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup light cream or half and half, optional
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, optional

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange your tomatoes, eggplant, and onion chunks on top. To prevent garlic cloves from burning, insert into cored tomatoes. Drizzle veggies with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Roast your veggies for 30-40 minutes, or until the tomatoes have begun to collapse and eggplant is starting to shrivel. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

In a large sauce pan, combine your peeled and diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, basil, broth, and red pepper flakes. Once your roasted veggies have cooled slightly, add them to the sauce pan as well.

Use an immersion blender to blend the veggies to your desired consistency. (Or, alternatively, transfer the veggies to a blender and then return to sauce pan.) Heat the soup to low and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until hot. Stir in cream and cheese, if using. Serve with an extra sprinkle of cheese or your favorite type of bread

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