Fresh lemon wedges, red chili flakes or chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Heat a large soup pot to medium high and add the onions. Saute the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Adjust the heat so they don’t burn.
Add the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds and then add the celery and carrots. Mix them for a few minutes to start them cooking.
Add 1 tsp. ground cumin, smoked paprika and ½ tsp. cinnamon. Mix to coat the vegetables.
Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, bay leaves and fresh thyme. Mix well and simmer the tomatoes for about 5 minutes to start building the flavor.
Add the lentils and 8 cups of vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce it to simmer, cover the pot and cook for about an hour until the lentils are tender and the liquid has reduced. Check the soup periodically and add more broth depending on the consistency you want.
Serve the soup hot in bowls and garnish with lemon wedges, crush red chili flakes or chopped parsley if desired.
The cooking time is dependent on the type of lentils you use and how old they are.
The amount of stock you use will depend on what you want the final consistency to be. If you want a thicker, stew-like dish, then use only 8 cups and if you want it thinner and more of a broth-based soup, add 10 cups or even more.
You’ll be making a lot of soup, but it freezes like a dream. You can keep it in the fridge for at least 5 days and in the freezer for 3 months.