Note: If you like your soup with a touch of creaminess, adding a dollop of plain yogurt works nicely.
- Yield:Serves 6 to 8
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:4 hours
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 4 cups dry red lentils, picked over for debris and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 to 16 cups low-sodium vegetable stock or water
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 large red onion, minced (about 1 cup)
- 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring periodically, until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cumin, cayenne, and paprika, and continue cooking until fragrant.
Transfer mixture to a slow cooker. Add lentils, bay leaves and 12 cups of stock. Season with about 1 teaspoon of salt, stir to combine, and cover. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 4 hours, stirring hourly and adding in additional broth as needed to maintain a loose, soup-like consistency.
When the soup is done, discard bay leaves, transfer to a blender or food processor, and add vinegar. Adjust seasonings, if needed, and purée until smooth. Ladle into bowls and top with red onion and cilantro, and serve with lemon wedges.