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Light, spicy, vegan RED LENTIL SOUP – Perfect to warm you when it’s cold outside!

• 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
• large onion, chopped
• garlic cloves, minced
• tablespoon tomato paste
• teaspoon ground cumin
• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
• ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
• Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste
• quart chicken or vegetable broth
• cups water
• cup red lentils
• large carrot, peeled and diced
• Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
• tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
2 Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
3 Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
4 Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
5 Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

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