In a large saucepan, sauté the leek or onions in the olive oil with the salt, uncovered, until they’re soft and transparent. Add the pumpkin or squash and carrot and sauté until the veggies start to ‘sweat’. Add the bouillon powder, turmeric, garlic, bay leaves and tomatoes and stir.
Next, pour in the wine and let the mixture boil. Now it’s time to add the lentils, kombu and water. Turn up the heat, cover and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and let simmer for about 25–30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are completely tender (if pressure cooking, you’ll only need to let it cook for 15 minutes).
At this point, remove the bay leaves. I usually use my handheld blender to purée the soup and make it creamy, but you can leave it as it is, if you like it chunky and more stew-like. Add the lemon juice, crushed pepper, and umeboshi vinegar and stir. Taste and add more spices if desired.
You can add more hot water if the soup seems too thick, and it will definitely thicken as it cools. Adding 80 g diced beetroot cubes together with the pumpkin and carrot will give this soup a nice earthy aroma and a lovely reddish-orange hue. Leftovers are always welcome and this is one of the best things that could wait for me in the fridge after a hard day’s work!