2 tablespoons unsalted vegetable broth
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups unsalted vegetable broth, divided
2 cups water
2 cups red split lentils, uncooked
1 small pinch saffron
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a large stock pot on medium-high heat, sauté onion with 2 tablespoons vegetable broth and garlic 3-5 min or until onion is translucent. Add 3 cups broth (save remaining 1 cup broth for later), water, lentils, saffron, coriander, cumin, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low-medium and bring to simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are no longer firm (15-18 min).
Very carefully pour the lentil mixture into a food processor (or blender) and puree until smooth. Depending on how big your food processor/blender is, you may need to do this in batches.
Put mixture back into the large stock pot and add remaining 1 cup broth and bay leaves; stir. Cook over low heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove bay leaves, add lemon juice and stir.
Once it sits for a few hours, it will soak up most of the liquid and thicken up a lot.
Instant Pot Instructions: First, set the Instant Pot to the Sauté function. Add the oil or vegetable broth. Then add the garlic and onions. Cook until the onions are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, except for bay leaves and lemon juice. Stir and lock on the lid of the Instant Pot. Press Cancel and then choose the Soup function (Manual or Pressure Cook also works) and set to 30 minutes. The Instant Pot will immediately start to warm and cook for 30 minutes. Let it set another 20 minutes (or so) to release pressure. Open the lid and add lemon juice and bay leaves, if desired. Stir and set for 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves and enjoy. *If I make this in the Instant Pot, I won’t blend the soup in a food processor or blender and will just eat a little chunkier. =)
Serving Size: 1 cup