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Have all your ingredients measured and ready to go since the soup comes together pretty quickly. Make the cashew cream first or sunflower cream first. See NOTES below. If you have a Vitamix, no need to soak them. If you don't, I would soak them in a bowl of water overnight to soften or boil them for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well and then proceed. Blend the cashews (or sunflower seeds) with 1 cup (240g) water until completely smooth.
Add only 1/2 cup of the broth to a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook about 5 minutes, stirring a bit, until soft.
Add the carrots and garlic and cook another 3-5 minutes until the carrots are mostly tender, but not fully. Add small amounts of broth as needed to prevent sticking.
Add all of the spices (garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, turmeric, salt and the black pepper. Stir in the veggies for about 30 seconds.
Add the rinsed lentils, the remaining broth (4 cups) and the maple syrup. Stir well and bring to a boil on high. Once boiling, cover partially just allowing a small amount of steam to escape, reduce the heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender to your liking.
Add the cashew cream, spinach and lemon juice and stir through. Cook another 5 minutes until it thickens a bit and the spinach is wilted.
Taste the soup. Add any more salt or pepper if needed. This can really vary depending on the broth used. Mine needed another good pinch. The lemon should be noticeable but not overpowering. The lemon flavor does settle down after awhile of sitting. If you'd like more, add more to serving bowls. I like to add extra freshly ground black pepper on top for serving.