Or "How to Make Brown Lentil Soup that Doesn't Taste Like Dirt".
Here in Morocco, Melanie and I have had the problem that we can't find anything other than brown lentils - she's asked locals, and looked around pretty extensively, and hasn't been able to find the much tastier red variety. However, after a lot of travel, we were desperately craving something simple and vegetarian like lentil soup, and so I did my best to come up with a recipe that wasn't just edible, but delicious.
1 smallish head cauliflower, cut into very small pieces
1 large carrot, cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, minced
4-7 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
2 Tbsp olive oil
1.5-2.5 c. brown lentils, picked over and cleaned if they're sketchy
Water or broth sufficient for the quantity of lentils (I always just eyeball this)
2-3 bay leaves (depending on size and quality)
1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
Parsley (flat leaf is best), minced, 1-2 tsp per bowl of soup
Start by sauteeing the onion and garlic in the olive oil on medium heat in a pressure cooker or heavy bottomed soup pan, then add the carrots, and then the cauliflower. Cook until everything is getting nicely browned around the edges, but without burning. Add the lentils, water/broth, cumin, and a good amount of both salt and papper. If you're using a pressure cooker, cover, wait until it comes to pressure, and then cook 20 minutes. If you're using a normal pot, simmer covered until the lentils are quite soft.
We don't have an immersion blender, but if you like you can blend the soup when it's finished cooking.
Serve the soup garnished with parsley, with lemon wedges on the side. The parsley really isn't optional - it makes the soup that much more delicious and fresh. It makes a soup that seems wintery much more summery.