Vegetarian Lentil Soup



1 1/3 cup (about 8 ounces) red lentils, picked through and rinsed
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
3/4 tsp fine sea salt, to taste
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon, to taste
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Soak lentils in cold water for at least two hours (and up to 24 hours) before cooking. Rinse and drain before using. Heat oil in a large pot over low-medium heat. Cook onion until transparent. Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant (one minute). Add the carrot and cook until softened (about 8 minutes). Mix the lentils in, allowing them to cook for a couple of minutes, while stirring occasionally). Add in the rest of the ingredients. Increase heat; bring to a simmer while stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom. When the soup has been simmering for 2–3 minutes, reduce heat down to low, cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 30–40 minutes, while occasionally stirring, until lentils are tender but still hold their shape.

Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to quickly blend the soup until it is creamy but not completely puréed. (Alternatively, you can also blend the soup in batches in a blender.) Stir in half the lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt and/or lemon juice to taste.

Note: You can use canned lentils in this recipe to save on time. Just add them in the last five minutes of cooking.