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Herbed White Bean Purée

This super-easy purée is a mellow spread for crackers, crunchy bread and pitas. It’s also a perfect base for a second layer of fennel, endive spears, red bell pepper strips or cucumber rounds. The spread can be made up to 2 days ahead.

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Spice-Roasted Baby Potatoes

These tasty hors d’oeuvres will serve 6 to 8 people. The contrast of the crispy skin bursting with flavor of fragrant spices, and the mild, creamy flesh inside makes these potatoes simply irresistible.

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Chickpea-Broccoli Burgers

Makes about 9 burgers
 
Serve these hearty but low-fat burgers on a wheat roll with thinly sliced onion, watercress, sweet mustard and whatever other toppings inspire you.

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Fragrant Thai Cellophane Noodle Salad

The aromatic flavors of Thai cooking—lime, fresh ginger and cilantro—infuse the mildly flavored cellophane noodles with a fragrant personality. Soy sauce makes an adequate substitute for the more traditional Thai fish sauce.

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Somen Lo Mein

30 minutes or fewer

Somen noodles are very thin noodles sold in Asian markets, natural food stores, and in the ethnic section of many supermarkets. If somen noodles are unavailable, substitute angel hair pasta.

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Eggplant, Tomato and Onion Gratin

Asian eggplants are slender and elongated. The Japanese variety is dark purple while a Chinese variety, Asian Bride, is pale lavender. Roasting, baking or grilling eggplant before adding it to a sauté keeps it from getting too oily.

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Vegan Egg Nog

This vegan egg nog was a challenge to create, but the result is a sweet, mild, rich-tasting drink. If you choose to add liquor, be aware that the flavor comes through much more strongly in this lower-fat nog, so start with the smaller amount called for and add more to taste.

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Tempeh-Asparagus Stir-Fry

Fermented black soybeans, also called salted black beans, are sold in small plastic bags in the Asian section of many supermarkets. If you can’t find them, substitute 2 Tbs. prepared black bean sauce and decrease soy sauce to 1 Tbs.

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Ginger Thins

Ginger is a flavor that African slaves brought with them to the New World and integrated into typically European desserts like spice cakes and cookies. Crystallized or candied ginger gives these thins an extra kick.

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