1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cups dried green or brown lentils,
3 large tomatoes, diced
2 medium-sized potatoes, diced (I use Yukon gold)
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons vegetable stock powder (such as Vegeta)
2 teaspoons paprika sweet or mild
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, plus extra to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large saucepan or pot over low-medium heat. Cook onion until transparent. Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the carrot and celery and cook until softened (about 8 minutes). Mix the lentils through the flavors in the pot, allowing them to cook for a couple of minutes, while stirring occasionally. Add in the tomatoes and cook until soft, then add the potatoes and allow them to cook for about 4-5 minutes.
Mix through all remaining ingredients, increase the heat, bring to a boil while stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom.
When the soup has been boiling for 2-3 minutes, reduce heat down to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 40-50 minutes, while occasionally stirring, until lentils and potatoes are soft.
To thicken soup, use a potato masher, pressing down 3 or 4 times through the soup until reaching your desired thickness or consistency.