Note: Smoked paprika is a Spanish staple. Look for pimentòn ahumado in specialty food stores, spice shops, Spanish food stores, or buy online here.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed until water runs clear
- 6 to 8 cups broth or water
- Extra virgin olive oil for garnish (optional)
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook the olive oil, onion, celery, carrot, and salt until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cumin and paprika, cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the lentils and 6 cups of broth or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook until the lentils are soft and falling apart, about 20 minutes. Add up to 2 cups additional broth or water if soup seems too thick.
- Use a hand-held blender to purée the soup. Or, whirl the soup in batches in a blender or food processor (cover with a kitchen towel to avoid potential burns). Season to taste with salt. Serve hot with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil, if you like.