Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on the stove over medium heat and add in your olive oil.
While the oil is heating up, prepare your vegetables. Chop your onion, carrots, celery, and mash your garlic.
Once the oil is hot, add your veggies into the pot along with the cumin. Stir until they start to soften, about 7-8 minutes.
Next, add in the tomato paste, making sure that it coats the veggies well. Cook for about 1 more minute.
Then, add in the lentils, broth, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Stir again to coat everything well.
Bring your mixture to a gentle boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat. Then, take off the cover and remove the bay leaves.
Next, stir in the lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese.
Taste, and adjust with more salt and pepper as needed.
Serve your soup in a bowl with olive oil, lots of chopped parsley, and an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Enjoy!