1 cup or 100 grams pureed tomatoes or tomato sauce
½ tsp chili flakes (if you wish to add a little kick)
1. In a big pot cook garlic in olive oil on medium heat for about 5 min, until onion is translucent and starts browning.
2. Add garlic, grated carrots and celery. Stir and cook for 10 minutes or until carrot and celery start browning.
3. Add all the spices - cumin, fennel seeds, bay leaves and chili flakes. Stir well.
4. Add dry lentils and mix well with the soup base. Cooking lentils for about 2 min before adding water will give your soup a deeper, nuttier taste.
5. Mix in the tomato sauce and cook for another 2 minutes.
6. Lastly, add water and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
7. Serve with a splash of lemon juice and/or cilantro.
Notes: You will notice that I never use store bought vegetable broth in my soups. I find that you can get a nice, deep and brothy flavor just by cooking onion + carrot + garlic + celery and adding salt, bay leaves and then water. It’s more natural that way, and one less item to buy at the grocery store.