6 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 (32 ounce) cartons chicken broth
2 cups red lentils
2 large carrot, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion has turned golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, kosher salt, black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder. Cook and stir 2 minutes more until the spices are fragrant.
2. Stir in the chicken broth, lentils, and carrot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.
3. Pour half of the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot. Do not puree all of the soup, leave it a little chunky.
4. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro, then season to taste with salt.