Mediterranean Lentil Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 Carrots peeled and chopped
2 Celery Chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/3 cups water
2 1/3 cups dried lentils
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
5 cups of Veggie stock
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 or 2 Bay leaves
2 tablespoon red wine vinager
OPITIONAL:
For garnish(top each bowl with)
Chopped fresh tomatoes (optional)
Cilantro sprig (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add the onion, carrots and celery; sauté for 3 minutes or until tender.

Add the turmeric and the next 6 ingredients (turmeric through garlic); sauté for 1 minute.

Add water and next 4 ingredients (water through diced tomatoes); add bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; simmer 1 hour. splash with red wine vineger optional:

**Reserve 2 cups lentil mixture.

Place half of remaining mixture in blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl.

Repeat procedure with other half of remaining mixture.

Stir in reserved 2 cups lentil mixture. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and a cilantro sprig, if desired.