Silky Lentil Soup


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l tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 colored pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 zucchini, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 cup split red lentils, washed and picked over
5 cups vegetable broth
1 can plum tomatoes
2 tsp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
sea salt and black pepper,  fresh parsley or cilantro, to garnish (optional)
Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the onion and cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes until soft.  Stir in the bell pepper, carrot and zucchini and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, cumin and coriander, then cook, stirring constantly, for another minute.  Add the remaining soup ingredients, lentils, broth, tomatoes and juice, tomato paste and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes, until the lentils and vegetables are very soft.
Remove the bay leaf and blend the soup in a food processor.  The soup will be fairly thick, so dilute with a little more veggie broth if you prefer it thinner.  Season to taste, then reheat and serve garnished with parsley or cilantro.
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