I wanted to give this 5 stars for flavor, but it was just such a hassle to make. Next time I'll either do the whole thing on the stove or maybe just toss it all in the crock pot on low all day and see how it goes. Anyway, I doubled the carrots, celery, and lentils, halved the onion, garlic, and cumin, and omitted the rice (it was a time issue). I added a bit of cilantro, and I squeezed a fresh lime into the pot at the end. I served it with some sliced avocado. I pureed most of the black beans in the blender towards the end of cooking, which helped their still-firm texture. I found that my beans needed a lot more cooking on the stovetop before they were ready for the crock pot, and even then they never got as soft as they should have. With a little adapting, this soup was really tasty- but as I said, if I can't find a way to make it easier, I'll be going back to my good old standards. (hint: Black Bean and Salsa Soup from this site is absolutely amazing and far easier.)
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I wanted to give this 5 stars for flavor, but it was just such a hassle to make. Next time...