This is a very filling, satisfying soup and is excellent for cold winter nights, and the best part is that it can be made from stuff you probably already have in your pantry. I actually prefer canned tomatoes over fresh for this soup, and the Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes give it a nice, smoky undertone. I don't usually add cheese to the soup, although I might top it with some of whatever I've got in the fridge; this soup is tolerant of many cheeses -- cheddar, mozzarella, parmesaen, jack, etc. I happened to have a fair sized chunk of gruyere, left over some some pumpkin gruyere soup (which was not nearly as exciting as it sounds) so I threw some into the tomato lentil soup and it was super, super yummy. But I've regularly made this soup without any cheese at all, and the vegan version is still quite awesome, and a little bit of nutritional yeast thrown in at the end, or as a garnish for each bowl, will give it a little extra oomph. You can use any kind of lentils, but the red are the prettiest.
TOMATO LENTIL SOUP
1 onion, chopped
3-6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried basil (or about a handful fresh)
28 ounce can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded gruyere, plus some for garnish (optional)
1+ tablespoons nutritional yeast powder, plus some for garnish (optional)
1.) Heat oil in a large soup pot and saute onion until translucent. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, basil, tomatoes, and lentils and stir well. Add broth and allow to simmer over low-medium heat until lentils are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
2.) Allow to cool slightly, then transfer 2/3 of the soup to a blend and process until smooth. (You can certainly blend all of it if you want a smooth soup, but I like my soups chunky.)
3.) Return soup to pot. Add gruyere or nutritional yeast and heat through until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve warm, topping each bowl with shredded gruyere or a sprinkling of yeast powder.