In college in California, I went through a considerable phase where a simple, economical, relatively healthy lunch obsession for me was Trader Joe’s’ canned lentil vegetable soup. I only say “relatively healthy” because canned soups, including that one, are on the high-ish side in sodium content. I grew up eating my mom’s lentil soup, which she made with the bone of a leftover Easter ham, and although that was delicious in its own right, I actually kind of prefer a vegetarian lentil soup to one with a lot of hammy flavor. (Please don’t tell her this. Watching her painstakingly spend an entire afternoon devoted to chopping tiny squares of ham for the ordeal of making her lentil soup, I couldn’t bear to tell her that I like a canned soup better. It’s just too cruel.) I tried my hand at many different lentil soup recipes to try to replicate the Trader Joe’s soup in order to reduce the sodium level, but none satisfied in the same way. Until, eureka, I arrived at this recipe. This is a hearty, rich, and totally vegetarian soup that will satisfy even the lentil-haters in your life. Make it in a big batch and do as I do: freeze individual portions for a quick, nutritious lunch in just the time it takes to nuke a bowl’s worth!