Seriously, this is just about the food... ish. The pandemic definitely impacted what we ate. I was used to going to the store for fresh ingredients every 2-3 days, and all of a sudden I was only going to the store every 2 weeks. The year was also extremely stressful, and it turns out dairy and eggs are a comfort food for me. I'm not proud of that, I definitely aim to get those ingredients out of my 2021 diet, but some of those non-vegan recipes are quite good and are reflected here.
Who Inspired Me
This year I referenced more than 180 blogs and cookbooks, and relied less on some of my classic favorites like Minimalist Baker, Cookie + Kate, Blissful Basil, Vegan Richa, etc. This year my top 5 referenced blogs were Bon Appetit, Connoisserus Veg, Eating Well, Half Baked Harvest, and Rabbit and Wolves.
These recipes got the most likes on my Instagram account along with my post "The Gang Gets Quarantined."
The Standout for Me: Cherry Chipotle Chili
Early on in the lockdown, I was only going to the grocery store every two weeks and relying on cans and frozen foods in the last few days of those two-week periods became paramount. The Cherry Chipotle Chili came along because I had a can of cherries on hand and decided to do some googling. It sounds like such a weird dish, but it really was flavorful and the cherries weren't weird at all. I think it was the most out-there quarantine meal I made, and I'm glad people liked it.
The Honorable Mentions of Insta-faves
This was my first year really getting into fake meat because there are so many soy-free options now that I can have, and it means my husband doesn't have to make real meat on the side to pile on top of what I make.
MY FAVORITE: Middle Eastern Beyond Meat Bowl with Peach Salsa & Couscous
Gotta give my top spot to the polenta because it inspired my polenta pirogi, my second favorite dumpling of this year.
MY FAVORITE: Creamy Kale Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
Though I'm disappointed in myself for eating so many eggs this year, I gotta say one of the best new recipes was the Middle Eastern egg wrap, which came about from having so much hummus on hand. I think my husband made me this more than any other recipe from this year.
Huevos Curacaví pays homage to our one trip this year to Chile. It's a delicious dish and fitting tribute to our time in Santiago and Patagonia.
SENTIMENTAL PICK: Huevos Curacaví
MY FAVORITE: Middle Eastern Egg Wrap
I picked the peach pancake skillet as my favorite, because I've definitely never made anything like it before, and it's a reminder of how far I've come in what I eat. I seriously started eating peaches like 4 years ago, like a total idiot.
MY FAVORITE: Peach Pancake Skillet
Fritters & Dumplings
It was definitely a the year of experimental pirogi! It's hard to pick just one as my favorite, so let's call it a 3-way tie.
Noodles & Rice
I really can't pick a favorite.
Pizza and Pasta
I have to give special attention to the apple & coconut bacon pizza. I felt like I was on a cooking show. You can't go to the grocery store, yet. Here's what's in the house. What can you make?
The spiced mushroom and dill yogurt pasta: heavenly! It was a unique flavor profile. It's crazy filling.
QUARANTINE FAVORITE: Apple & Coconut Bacon Pizza
MY FAVORITE: Spiced Mushroom and Dill Yogurt Pasta
Quick & Easy
Vegetable korma is one of the quickest and easiest meals I've ever made, and it's great for quarantining. The ingredients are easy to have on hand, and packs a lot of flavor.
MY FAVORITE: Vegetable Korma
Sandwiches & Tacos
Butternut squash apple burgers.... I wish you were not as time consuming to make. I do love you so.
MY FAVORITE: Butternut Squash Apple Burgers
Snacks, Appetizers, and Sides
These mashed potatoes are life changing. I have always loved loved loved mashed potatoes, and never even thought of blending them with anything over than different spices, cheese, onions, or a leafy green. The blended beans though give you more protein and make the creamiest potatoes you'll ever have (dairy free or not).
MY FAVORITE: Seriously Creamy Mashed Potatoes & Beans
Soups & Chowders
Very difficult to pick a favorite, but I decided to go with the Irish stew. This year was of course crazy, and we were lucky enough to have warm weather for St. Patrick's day, sit outside, enjoy a Guinness, and have a meatless version of a classic.
I think it's also the last meal I ever described to my grandmother before she passed away the following month. You could hear her salivating over the phone.
MY FAVORITE: Irish Stew
Waffles & Crepes
Another difficult to pick a #1 choice. I'm going with the lemon-garlic waffles though, because it's the most inventive of the recipes, and it was a fun collaboration with my hubby.
MY FAVORITE: Lemon-Garlic Sweet Potato Waffles with Blueberry, Banana, and Mango Salad
This was a rough year and it turns out cheese and eggs are my comfort food -- for shame. A 2021 goal is to stop that nonsense. I definitely still made plenty of egg-free and dairy-free recipes this year. It's any easy choice for which meal was my absolute favorite. My husband took one bite and said, "this the best thing you've ever made. You're getting so good at this. I feel like I'm at a restaurant."
Close second and third: stuffed mushrooms and the pea soup. The mushrooms are in the running because the flavor and texture were out of this world. The pea soup have to be mentioned because I veganized something on my own and loved the outcome.
And there you have it: 2020 in recipes. There's plenty in store for 2021. I seriously have recipes planned through July. There's a lot to look forward to, other than 2020 ending. :)