Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion; sauté for 3 minutes or until tender. Add the turmeric and the next 6 ingredients (turmeric through garlic); sauté for 1 minute. Add water and next 4 ingredients (water through diced tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 hour.
Reserve 2 cups lentil mixture. Place half of remaining mixture in blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with other half of remaining mixture. Stir in reserved 2 cups lentil mixture. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and a cilantro sprig, if desired.
Good, very filling soup. I did cut the ground red pepper by half and was glad that I did. So nice to have an imersion blender for this (thanks mom!) Sprinkled some parmesean cheese on top with the tomates and cilantro. Served with a tossed green salad and sliced foccacia bread.
This has been our favorite lentil soup since the recipe first came out. No shrinking violet, this is a soup with assertive flavor that combines tomato with garlic, onion, and a variety of spices. We vary the consistency from smoother to chunkier depending on whether we want a rustic or a more sophisticated feel.
If you don't garnish this soup with fresh tomatoes, you would never know there are tomatoes in it. I was expecting more tomato flavor! I also thought it turned out too spicy, even though I used only 1/2 tsp ground red pepper. I love spicy foods but this was all spice and no flavor. Also looks unappetizing. Won't make again.