Red Lentil Soup

This is one of my favorite soups.  It can be made ahead and seems to taste better after a day or two in the fridge (though good luck keeping it around that long!) This recipe  makes about 6 cups. Enjoy!

1-2 T. olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 diced carrots
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf (opt.)
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. (+) cayenne pepper
4 c. chicken or veggie broth
2 c. broth or water
1 rounded cup (8oz) red lentils

Plain lowfat yougurt, for serving (opt.)
Lemon wedges, for serving (opt.)

Saute onions, carrots and celery in olive oil over med heat until onions are translucent. Add garlic and bay leaf and saute 2 minutes. Stir in cumin and cayenne and saute until fragrant, 30-90 seconds. Remove bay leaf.

Add broth (and water, if using) and lentils. Bring to boil,
reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes. Puree in batches in blender. Reheat. Serve garnished with yogurt and/or lemon wedges, as desired.

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