Prep/cook time: 30 minutes / Serves 4 / Vegetarian

A hint of chipotle adds smoky depth without overwhelming the dish. Prep tips: For variation, omit the chipotle and add chopped olives, shaved fennel, and finely minced rosemary; stir in a spoonful of pesto and minced sun-dried tomatoes; or flavor with chopped fresh basil, cilantro, or arugula. Serving tip: Great with a dollop of sour cream.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 15-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes in purée (or diced tomatoes in juice)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Pinch of baking soda

1/8-1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder, or to taste

1 1/2 cups reduced-fat (2 percent) or whole milk

4 pieces thinly sliced pumpernickel or whole-wheat bread

2 large cloves garlic, pressed

2 ounces shredded Jarlsberg or other Swiss-style cheese

1. In a medium pot, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sauté onion for 3–5 minutes, until tender. Stir in tomatoes and purée or juice, tomato paste, baking soda, and chipotle powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook, partly covered, for 20 minutes.

2. Transfer to a food processor and purée until very smooth. Return to pot, stir in milk, and warm through on low heat. Season to taste.

3. While soup is warming, arrange bread slices on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and garlic. Spread over each bread slice, sprinkle with cheese, and broil until bubbly. Halve each piece on the diagonal. Serve soup in shallow bowls with toast alongside.

PER SERVING: 242 cal, 35% fat cal, 9g fat (3g mono, 1g poly, 4g sat), 16mg chol, 10g protein, 30g carb, 4g fiber, 288mg sodium

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