Note: I like to cook this entire meal in my KitchenAid Multi Cooker. It sautés, boils, simmers and slow cooks all without dirtying another pot.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil on low-medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown. About 8-10 minutes.
Add the minced garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes more.
Add the spices and tomato paste and increase the heat to medium. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste becomes a dark red.
Add the celery and carrots. Stir to coat.
Add the diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, water, coconut milk and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Add the Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix (or substitute red or green lentils or green or yellow split peas; see Recipe Notes)
Simmer on low heat until the lentils are cooked through.
Remove the bay leaves. Add the baby spinach and cook until wilted.
Season with salt & pepper and serve with crusty bread.