Red lentil soup


This soup is really easy and quick to prepare, and on top of that it consists almost only of fresh vegetables. I've recently found out that it's better to use fresh tomatoes instead of buying canned tomato paste in order to prepare soups and sauces. You can just buy fresh tomatoes, chop them, cook and blend. There's a big difference in the taste of fresh tomatos and tamato paste. If just like me, you did not have so much time in the summer to prepare you own tomato preserve in jars you can still get a similar result by using the fresh ones! I do not peel tomatoes and press them through the sieve on purpose. I believe that the most valuable vitamins are right under the skin, so why to get rid of them?! Besides the soup tastes better with some chunks to bite :)

Ingredients for approx. 5-6 servings:

- 5 tomatoes
- 3 carrots
- 2-3 potatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 red pepper
- 1 teasp of sugar
- 1 teasp of vinegar
- 2 teasp of sweet pepper in powder
- 1 teasp of chilli (powder, dried or fresh)
- 500 g of red lentils
- 2-3 pieces of all spice 
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- fresh basil for garnishing (optional)

Chop the tomatoes, pepper and onion. Place them in a high pot and do not add any water or oil. Just heat them and cook for about 15 minutes stirring from time to time until they become soft. 
In the meantime, boil 2 liters of water in a big pot. Add the bay leaves, all spice, chopped potatoes, carrots and lentils. Cook until they become soft for about 15 minutes.  
Blend the tomatoes, pepper and onion with a hand blender. Pour them into the big pot with lentils and stir. 
Add the vinegar, sugar, sweet pepper, chilli, salt and pepper. 
You can garnish the soup with some basil- chopped or with the whole leaves.