Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

Brilliant red and filled with the spices of the country it represents, this soup is a definite crowd-pleaser - perfect for this big-batch recipe. Of course, you can always just halve the ingredients if you want to make less.

2 tbsp (25 mL) extra-virgin olive oil2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced2 celery stalks, chopped
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) salt1 tsp (5 mL) pepper
1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground ginger
1 Pinch saffron, (optional)6 cups (1.5 L) water
1 cup (250 mL) red lentils1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed1 can (19 oz/540 mL) tomatoes
1/4 cup (50 mL) light sour cream1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas
2 tbsp (25 mL) minced fresh parsley
 In large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions, garlic and celery, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and saffron (if using); cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add water, lentils, tomato paste, potatoes and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with spoon; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Add peas; simmer until lentils, vegetables and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. 
(Make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes; refrigerate, uncovered, in shallow airtight container until cold. 
Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat to serve.) 

Ladle into bowls. Dollop each with sour cream; sprinkle with parsley. 

Tip: For a smoother texture, purée 2 cups (500 mL) of the cooked soup until smooth, then stir back into remainder of soup. 

Nutritional Info Per serving: Recipe makes 8 servings 
cal 193 
pro 10 g 
total fat 4 g sat. fat 1 g 
carb 31 g 
fibre 6 g 
chol 1 mg 
sodium 582 mg 
calcium 7 
iron 28 
vit A 7 
vit C 27
 folate 68