Nearly five years into blogging, I still feel a little rush whenever I hit “publish” on a recipe post. I imagine of it floating through the interwebs to your screen, and I become excited about the possibility of you making it. I wonder if, perhaps, this recipe is destined to become one of my top posts of the year.
And sometimes it is! Yesterday, I shared a list of my Readers’ Top 16 Recipes of 2016. It brings me so much joy to know how many of you those recipes reached and that you enjoyed them as much as you did.
Other times? Crickets. Even when I feel like the recipe is really great! “What happened?” I wonder. “Was everyone’s internet down that day?”
To give those recipes one more chance to shine, I dug through the 2016 archives and made a list of my favorite 16 recipes of the year, an idea I got from Ali. A few overlap with your favorites (yay!), and a few may be new to you.
While I love and stand behind every recipe on my site—I am honored that you spend your time and resources cooking what I post, and I never want you to be disappointed—these 16 recipes stood out to me as being particularly special. Some are extra easy to prep (Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes); some are the best version of a classic recipe I’ve ever had (Pumpkin Bread; Apple Crisp); and some I included because I am so smitten with their combination of flavors (Stuffed Butternut Squash).
Thus, as a follow up to Your 16 Favorite Recipes of 2016, I proudly present My 16 Favorite Recipes of 2016.
Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries, and Kale – I think it’s the touch of orange zest and the cranberries that make this recipe so flavorful and special. It’s healthy, hearty, and if you need a good option for a vegetarian main, this one is perfect.
Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil Cookies – I didn’t think it was possible to achieve the soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie texture I love without butter. Wrong! These cookies are incredibly soft and chewy, and they stay that way even days after they are baked.
The Best Apple Crisp – Honestly, I will never make any other fruit crisp again. This topping is crispy, crunchy, filled with warm flavors, and my hands-down favorite. The recipe calls for apples, but you can easily swap in any other fruit. Because the crisp is naturally vegan and gluten free, everyone can enjoy it too.
Edamame Avocado Hummus – Also called, “that time I ate dip for every meal.” Try it dipped with pita chips and veggies, spread it on sandwiches, or put a big dollop on top of roasted veggies. Because the hummus is tahini free, it’s also safe for those with nut allergies.
Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs – Think turkey meatballs can’t be tender and juicy? Think again! Instead of 100% ground turkey, I used a blend of ground turkey and turkey sausage, and the results were fabulous. This recipe makes a big batch, so it’s become one of my favorites for entertaining a crowd. If you are looking to meal prep, the meatballs freeze beautifully too.
Paleo Pistachio Truffles – Richly chocolaty, salt-sweet, and dangerously addictive, these babies are made from wholesome ingredients like dates, nuts, and cocoa, but taste like dead-ringers for the real deal. Sold.
Healthy Pumpkin Bread – I didn’t think I could top my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread, but I believe I’ve done it here. This loaf is sweetened with honey, is super springy and moist, and the pumpkin flavor shines.
Copy Cat PF Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps – This recipe is one of your 16 favorites too, and I am so glad! The filling only takes a few minutes to make, they’re incredibly healthy, and best of all, they are LOADED with flavor. I loved the taste of this filling so much, I knew this recipe had to be on the list.
One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese – When I set this down in front of Ben, he looked at me with great skepticism…then, he demolished his entire bowl, and we both went back for seconds.
Blackened Zucchini Tacos – I love vegetarian recipes that don’t skimp on flavor and actually satisfy. These tacos are LOADED with Tex-Mex flair, are filling, and the blacked zucchini slices are so addictive, I kept ripping my tortillas, because I kept over-stuffing them.
Healthy Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes – I still can’t believe that something this easy to make can taste this good. This was Ben’s most requested dinner of 2016.
Asian Noodle Salad – Light, lovely, and the peanut dressing is WOW. This recipe can sit at room temperature for hours and tastes great leftover, so it’s perfect for potlucks and to pack for healthy lunches all week long.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole – I’m going to admit it: I didn’t think this recipe would work, but holy moly! If you are looking for a tasty way to eat a ton of veggies without even realizing it, this is it.
Lemon Layer Cake – This was a top pick of yours, and I was soooooo happy, because it truly is heavenly. If I could describe this cake, it would be that it tastes like sunshine. The cake crumb is moist and light without being crumbly, the lemon cream cheese frosting is creamy and sweet (but not too sweet), and the lemon is bright without overpowering.
Crock Pot Healthy Nachos – Another win for Tex-Mex and for delicious simplicity. This easy, zesty slow cooker shredded chicken has become my favorite for stuffing tacos, rolling enchiladas, and yes, smothering with chips and cheese.
Pineapple Glazed Salmon – If you are even in need of a mini escape to the tropics, this recipe is for you. The pineapple forms a sweet, sticky glaze that’s wonderful brushed on the salmon as it bakes, and the avocado salsa makes the dish pop.