Lentil spinach soup

3 tbsp olive oil
1 whole onion, diced
1 whole carrot, peeled and diced
2 clergy stalks diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
(I added pepper flakes because we like it spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 quart vegetable stock (if not vegetarian, you can substitute chicken stock)
1 can tomatoes
1 cup water (or more)
1 1/4 cups brown, green or red lentils, rinsed and sorted
2 potatoes cut up
1 bay leaf
2 cups fresh spinach leaves (or substitute kale, swiss chard, or another favorite green)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or can substitute parsley– I prefer the flavor of cilantro here) (did not have this)
1 whole lemon

Note, I cooked some dried peas, or could be beans, separately and then puréed them. I added to soup with the rest of the liquids. I like it because it adds some body and thickens it, but it is not necessary at all.

Sauté onion, carrot, celery until soft. Add garlic for 30 seconds. Add spices and stir until aromatic. Add liquids and tomatoes. Lentils and potatoes. And bay leaf. Cook for 30 minutes, until lentils are soft.

Put soup over medium heat again. Add the fresh spinach leaves and cilantro. Stir the greens into the soup for 1-2 minutes until just wilted (covering the pot will wilt them faster)

Turn off the heat and stir in fresh lemon juice to taste. Adjust seasonings if desired, and serve