I like to pair this soup with crusty bread and a green salad tossed in a creamy dressing, for a casual, hearty vegetarian meal.

The alliance of tomatoes, lentils, and fresh herbs is so very pleasing. The soup actually improves when made in advance, allowing the flavors a chance to marry. Serve this for dinner tonight and save the leftovers for a quick lunch during the coming weekend.

Ingredients

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 c. finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 c. vegetable stock or canned chicken stock

2/3 c. dried brown lentils, rinsed

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

One 6-ounce can tomato paste

¼ c. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tbsp. minced fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried

1 tbsp. snipped fresh dill, or 1 tsp. dried

1 tbsp. minced fresh tarragon, or 1 tsp. dried

1 tsp. fresh sweet marjoram, or ¼ tsp. dried

½ tsp. freshly ground pepper, or to taste

One 28-ounce can tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice

Salt to taste