Use red, yellow or even brown lentils to make this iconic and super-simple Middle Eastern soup. Skip green or black lentils, which won't soften enough to puree smoothly. (Recipe adapted from Zooba Restaurant.)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, tomato, onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato has broken down and is starting to stick to the bottom of the pan, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste is browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lentils and water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and the soup is thickened, about 25 minutes.
Puree the soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids).
To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
This was very easy and good. I used curry powder instead of just cumin.