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Basil adds a delicate, fresh flavor to pesto, pastas, and sandwiches..

Lemony Vegetable and Polenta Skillet

Lemony Vegetable and Polenta Skillet

Fresh basil and lemon juice brighten the flavors of a fresh vegetable medley. During recipe testing, we’ve found that the 18-oz. organic packages of prepared polenta have a deliciously creamy-grainy texture, so opt for organic if you can find it.

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Thai-Inspired Red Lentil Bowls

Pale-green Romanesco broccoli and black rice give this dish a gorgeous color contrast, but you could also use white or brown rice and cauliflower or broccoli florets.

Vegetarian Pho

The national dish of Vietnam, pho is an aromatic noodle soup that’s traditionally made with beef broth. Here, store-bought vegetable broth is spiked with onion, garlic, and spices for a full-bodied vegetarian alternative.

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Spicy Green Soup

Inspired by a whiff of a fragrant fish soup in a San Francisco restaurant, Heidi Swanson created this simple and versatile vegetarian version.

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Asparagus Patties with Lemon Parmesan Corn

“Growing up, my mother made a recipe similar to this one using canned asparagus—typically, it was for a family gathering or special occasion,” explains Marie Valdes. “For this contest, I set out to re-create the forgotten family favorite but used fresh asparagus, and then added my own twist with the lemon Parmesan corn, which I thought was a great accompaniment to the asparagus.”

Mini Pepper Poppers

Small, sweet peppers are roasted and softened while a filling of herbed goat cheese melts into creamy goodness on the grill. The peppers will keep in the fridge up to two hours before grilling.

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Pasta Primavera

Julia McGill, a teacher in central Virginia, serves this pasta family style so her sons can customize, but feel free to add the works for a comforting veggie-packed dinner.

Strawberries and Cream Frozen Terrine

This is an elegant make-ahead dessert that both kids and adults enjoy. Fresh basil helps highlight the strawberry flavor in the sorbet layer of the terrine.