Soak the lentils into water for 6 hours. (Thin lentils boil really quickly and don’t need pre-soaking.)
In a large pot add the lentils, water, bay leaves and garlic gloves, bring to a boil and simmer for 30’.
When lentils begin to soften add the chopped onion, blended tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots and potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for another 45’, until all ingredients are tender enough.
Add the olive oil, bring to a boil and remove from heat. Taste for additional salt and pepper and set the soup aside to cool.
After removing the bay leaves, puree the soup in a blender for a velvety texture. In case it is too thick, add some boiling water to adjust the thickness as you like.
Prepare the croutons either with Cypriot pita bread or with stale bread (croutons with pita bread are tastier although a bit harder – at least they don’t soften too easily in the soup). Bake in low temperature (120oC) for about 45’ until they get golden in color and crunchy. Alternatively, prepare croutons in a non-sticking pan in low heat for 1-1 ½ hours stirring occasionally. Keep in mind that pita croutons require some extra baking time.
Lentil soup can be ideally combined with Greek feta cheese or alternatively with anchovies fillets in red chili-scented oil!