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Rich Soup—with Zero Heavy Cream
What makes this soup so lusciously creamy? As it turns out, no dairy needed. Quickly sautéed cauliflower, onion, garlic and herbs, along with a few cups of stock, can be transformed into an unexpectedly luxurious puree by using a blender or food processor to whip the cooked ingredients together. A drizzle of roasted garlic-infused olive oil gives the dish even more depth.

Get the recipe: Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Garlic Oil
veggie tacos

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A Fast and Fresher Taco Night
Spice rubs are usually reserved for hunks of meat, but this smart recipe shows just how well they can complement veggies, from zucchini and yellow squash to red and yellow bell peppers. Dredge the sliced vegetables in a mixture of paprika, chili powder, coriander and cumin; then cook them on a grill (or grill pan) or slide them under the broiler for a few minutes, and you'll be rewarded with a delicious taco filling that's healthier than most. A crunchy cilantro slaw adds texture, and spiced crema provides a cool finish.

Get the recipe: Grilled Veggie Soft Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Spiced Crema

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A Bright Take on a Forgotten Legume
Lentils are one of the unsung heroes of healthy weeknight meals—they're a great source of protein and cook in about 15 minutes. Simmer the legume in reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, which adds more flavor, then stir in diced carrots and chopped asparagus. When the vegetables are tender, you dress them in a zippy Dijon vinaigrette then combine them with chopped kale leaves, red onion and fresh tarragon for a filling meal that's enjoyable chilled or at room temperature.

Get the recipe: Green Lentil Salad with Kale, Carrots, Asparagus and Dijon Dressing

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A New Way to Make a Classic Pasta Sauce
There's more to pesto than basil and kale. Take this inventive twist, which uses the nutritional powerhouse chard as its base, along with the usual olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan and garlic—plus, parsley and rosemary. The pesto tastes more woodsy and somewhat less floral than traditional varieties, and is a fantastic match with whole wheat pasta or one of the many other white-flour alternatives available, such as chickpea or farro.

Get the recipe: Swiss Chard and Rosemary Pesto Pasta
Black beans

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The Bean Burgers You'll Want to Stock Your Freezer With
Making your own veggie burgers is surprisingly easy—and they're so tasty, you may want to make a double batch and freeze half. You simply combine flour, tomato, onion, garlic, some herbs and spices (they lend a Southwestern flavor) and canned black beans in a food processor and pulse until they're coarsely chopped; then stir in more beans and form the mixture into patties. (At this point, you can freeze any burgers for later.) Brown the patties in a skillet with some olive oil, and serve on buns with the fixings of your choice, from mustard to lettuce to avocado, or even salsa, for a supertasty take on homemade fast food.

Get the recipe: Black Bean "Burgers"

Photo: Dana Shultz

Another Reason to Love the Tiny Little Superseed
This simple quinoa bake is packed with vibrant produce yet delivers a warm, comfort-food vibe. You cook quinoa in vegetable broth to give the seeds rich flavor, and the dish gets a subtly sweet, earthy taste from roasted butternut squash and mushrooms. Dark green kale brings even more nutrition and a burst of color. And unlike most casseroles, this one comes together in 30 minutes flat.

Get the recipe: Butternut Squash, Kale and Quinoa Bake