Lentils are a versatile bean and can be made into incredible and hearty salads, a thick Indian dal or a creamy and luscious soup. Just vary the ingredients, spices and amount of liquid and you can make three distinctly different dishes. This is a light and tasty soup that has diced vegetables, a hint of ginger and the richness of a cup of coconut milk. Serve as a soup, with a dollop of rice or a salad and this is a nutritious meal that makes you yearn for leftovers tomorrow.
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring until tender, about 5-8 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and turmeric and cook, stirring another minutes more.
Add the salt, pepper, lentils, tomato and bay leaf and then add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the coconut milk and lemon juice and cook until fully incorporated and warmed through, about 2-3 more minutes. If you are adding spinach to the soup, drop it in now and let it melt and meld with the coconut milk and lemon juice.
If you are like me and prefer your soup the day after it was made, either refrigerate or freeze the soup after it completely cools.
Otherwise, serve the soup in big bowls--with a handful of raw spinach in the bowl if you didn't add it to the pot of soup--and garnish with cilantro and serve with a lemon wedge.