Red lentil sausage soup

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This soup is a perfect weeknight meal because it cooks in about 30 minutes. It goes really fast if the vegetables have been cut up ahead of time. It is thick and rich and has a real Italian flavor.
1 pound Italian sausage

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 leek, cleaned and sliced whites only

1 can rotel tomatoes

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cups water (more if desired thinner soup)

1 large chicken bouillion cube

1 cup dried red lentils

1 tablespoon sweet basil

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 12 ounce can tomato sauce

1/4 teaspoon mexican oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Add olive oil to a large soup pot. Bring the oil to medium heat. Add the veggies and cook 10 minutes stirring often. Add the sausage. Continue to stir often cooking until browned. Add the water, rotel, tomato sauce and all of the spices. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and stir. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.

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