"One thing I've learned as a chef is not to overfeed your customers—a food coma is very unpleasant," says Charlie Parker of Plum restaurant in Oakland, California. This salad of grilled spring vegetables feels just filling enough, thanks to the protein-rich quinoa and a puree of dates that are grilled first to soften them and intensify their natural sweetness.
Heidi Swanson, author of 2007's Supernatural Cooking, has already proven she's a master at creating amazingly healthy and tasty vegetarian recipes with very few ingredients. Here, she toasts kale, coconut and tofu until lightly browned and crisp, then tosses them with brown rice.
Chef Quinn Hatfield cooks big batches of pearled barley and quinoa to keep in his refrigerator for this hot cereal, which comes together in minutes. He also uses the grains in salads. The mixture of cinnamon and chopped dates makes this breakfast nicely sweet—no extra sugar needed.
Spaghetti squash gets its name because once it's cooked, you can use a fork to pull the flesh into long, thin strands. Jonathon Sawyer makes his own curry and cooks his own chickpeas for this vegetarian dish, but this simplified recipe calls for store-bought curry paste and canned chickpeas. Sawyer roasts the seeds from the squash and uses them as a garnish; pumpkin seeds from the supermarket are a fine substitute.
Chef Way: The base for this tofu, eggplant and shiitake katiev ("noodle soup" in Cambodian) is a made-from-scratch vegetable stock with a long ingredient list, including two types of cabbage and dried Chinese mushrooms.
Easy Way: To simplify the Cambodian noodle soup, we added fewer vegetables to store-bought vegetable broth.
The Good News Low in fat but high in protein, beans are one of Joe Bastianich's favorite ingredients. He uses white beans here, but he also loves making this recipe with chickpeas and flat gigante beans: "The bigger and creamier the beans, the better."
David Chang was inspired to make these playful rolls by a snack he had at Yunpilam, a temple in South Korea, where the nuns served him edamame mixed with walnuts and molasses. His rolls have an edamame-and-walnut filling; unlike other sushi rolls, they can be served warm.