Cary Neff

Photo: Ann Stratton

1. Fresh Thinking

When Cary Neff was the executive chef at Arizona's sumptuous Miraval spa, he put together a special healthy, delicious, and filling menu for O readers. Neff, the author of Conscious Cuisine, who would go on to work at La Costa Resort and Spa, says, "The idea is to look at the items that are best for us—fruits and vegetables and complex whole grains—and spend some time and energy making these dishes outstanding." The result? Food with less fat, more flavor—exactly what we're hungry for right now.
Tomato Roasted Garlic Soup

Photo: Ann Stratton

2. Tomato Roasted Garlic Soup

Soup is the perfect food for "conscious cuisine," says Cary Neff. It's impossible to shovel it down mindlessly; we're forced to eat it slowly and taste it fully.

Click here for the full recipe.

Photo: Ann Stratton

3. Asparagus with Tarragon Aioli

This vegetable dish, perfect alongside just about any entree, is a delicious starter or side for your next dinner party.

Click here for the full recipe.
Carrot Quinoa

Photo: Ann Stratton

4. Carrot Quinoa

This delicious dish, with sweet carrot juice and flecks of zucchini and celery, is the healthiest starch imaginable. Serve with steamed, grilled or braised vegetables for a balanced meal.

Click here for the full recipe.
Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Tenderloin of Beef

Photo: Ann Stratton

5. Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Tenderloin of Beef

In this dish, the risotto is the star, with the beef playing a supporting role.

Click here for the full recipe.
Espresso Cake

Photo: Ann Stratton

6. Espresso Cake

This tasty cake is a mass of clever substitutions. Chef Cary Neff recommends garnishing it with fresh berries instead of whipped cream—it's healthier and the taste is even fresher.

Click here for the full recipe.
Mango-Strawberry Griddle Cakes

Photo: Ann Stratton

7. Mango-Strawberry Griddle Cakes

Low-fat buttermilk, fat-free ricotta, egg whites only—so why do these taste so amazing? Do we really need to know why?

Click here for the full recipe.

11 amazing cooking secrets for healthier (and more delicious!) meals

This article is part of Oprah.com's 2011 Feel Good Challenge. Join now!

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