Meatless dishes can sparkle with flavor and imagination. As tasty proof, Better Homes & Gardens "Low-Fat & Luscious Vegetarian" (Meredith Books, $16.95) offers 95 recipes, including Stuffed French Toast, Portobello Mushrooms Stroganoff and Apple-Cranberry Fruit Dip.

The editors' introduction discusses many aspects of vegetarian eating, together with nutritional guidelines and menu-planning suggestions. The cookbook also contains many color photos.Rotini with Vegetable Blue-Cheese Sauce includes just enough blue cheese to add intense flavor but only a little fat. And the dish takes just 25 minutes to make from start to finish.

Page notes point out that, depending on an individual's level of vegetarianism, cheese processed in the usual commercial manner may not be an option. They advise checking cheese labels to determine if a cheese was coagulated with animal rennet or with rennet derived from fungal or bacterial sources (in this case it may be labeled "vegetarian cheese").


6 ounces packaged dried rotini

10-ounce package frozen cut asparagus

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (1 cup)

12-ounce can (1 1/2 cups) evaporated skim milk

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh marjoram or 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crushed

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

Fresh marjoram (optional)

Cook rotini according to package directions, except omit any oil or salt. Drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook the asparagus according to package directions, adding carrots for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and keep warm.

In a medium saucepan whisk together the evaporated milk and flour; add marjoram. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Stir in the asparagus and the carrots. Heat through: remove from heat. Add the blue cheese; stir until cheese is melted. Spoon cheese mixture over cooked rotini. If desired, garnish with fresh marjoram. Makes 3 to 4 main-dish servings.

Nutritional facts per serving: 314 cal., 5 g fat, 11 mg chol., 281 mg sodium, 52 g carbo., 17 g pro.