2016 was anything but boring for One Green Planet. We wrote about and salivated over some of the best vegan recipes we had ever seen. Vegan versions of our favorite classic appetizers like these BBQ Pulled Carrot Rolls demonstrated just how versatile even the most unassuming veggie can be. Comfort food with international flair like this Mexican Cornbread Pizza cake captured our imaginations with their creativity — just looking at both of these photos made us very hungry. One thing is very certain: 2016 showed us that we can make anything vegan. They can be entrées, side dishes, snacks … You name it, veggies can do it.
Here at One Green Planet, we want to take the days leading up to the new year to reflect on the best vegan recipes (or at least those that Green Monsters loved most.) But first, let’s take a look at what recipes we were drooling over last year. Check out Green Monster Approved! 40 Most Popular Vegan Recipes of 2015 and The Top 20 All-Vegan, No-Bake Dessert Recipes of 2015 and then come on back for the most popular savory recipes of 2016!
1. Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
In this delicious Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese With Spinach, sweet potatoes serve as the base to make the cheesy orange sauce that we all know and love. The spices and mustard balance out the sweetness, to create the ultimate mac.
This recipe for Naan is so pillowy, you’d never guess that it’s gluten-free. These breads are best served while still fresh and warm, ready to eat with your favorite curry or biryani recipe. Of course, they’re so good, that you might just want to make a batch to snack on.
3. Tahini-Roasted Cauliflower With Lemony Herb Oil
Dinners, in the traditional sense, are usually centered around one main dish. For a stunning centerpiece that looks as amazing as it tastes, you have to try this Tahini-Roasted Cauliflower With Lemony Herb Oil. Along with being absolutely gorgeous, it is craftily spiced, rubbed down with a nutty tahini coating, drizzled with lemony herbs, and eventually garnished with roasted almonds.
4. Mushroom Butter Masala
If you’ve been to an Indian restaurant, chances are you’ve seen butter masala on the menu. It’s a rich and delicious gravy curry with a sauce made creamy through the addition of milk or cream and butter. This vegan Mushroom Butter Masala is a spicy, creamy and a delicious dish that is the perfect accompaniment for steamed rice, flatbread, or even dosas.
5. How to Make Perfect Ratatouille
How do you make the Perfect Ratatouille, a traditional dish hailing from the French countryside? It’s easy! The way that the vegetables are arranged gives this savory dish a colorful appearance, but it also ensures that you’ll find different flavors in every bite. It’s best served on its own, or with a side of bread to get every last bit of sauce.
6. Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets
These oven-fried Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets are guaranteed to be the star of your dinner night, parties … everything! The secret is to cook flour covered cauliflower slowly in coconut oil. The slow oven baking helps to crisp up the outside without having undercooked cauliflower.
7. Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup
This Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup is considered a regional dish in both Mandarin and Szechuan cuisines. The hot comes from chile pepper and the sour comes from vinegar. Paired with stir fry or other Chinese-inspired mains and sides, this stand-out soup is perfect for winter.
8. Roasted Cauliflower Curry
How amazing does this Roasted Cauliflower Curry? In this recipe, cauliflower florets are seasoned with a mixture of turmeric and salt then roasted until golden and tender. A dry masala mix is then cooked in an aromatic tomato curry, with an additional layer of spices. Lastly, the roasted cauliflower is stirred into the curry to coat it with all of the flavors. This impressive entrée is guaranteed to become a repeat in your household.
9. Colombian Black Bean Stew
Not only is this Colombian Black Bean Stew super easy to make and utterly delicious, but it’s also extremely healthy, full of plant-based protein and fiber. It’s proof that healthy plant-based food does not need to be complicated or expensive. It uses inexpensive foods like black beans, onion, and garlic to make a hearty meal, especially when served with a side of grains and topped with sliced avocado.
10. Coconut Curry Linguini
This dish is called Coconut Curry Linguini for all the best reasons. It has the texture and creaminess of a fettuccini Alfredo, but with Thai ingredients and flavors like rice noodles, coconut milk, red curry paste, and lime. It’ll quickly become one of your favorite dishes to whip up last minute when you want something easy that packs big flavor.
11. Moroccan Chickpea Bake
This Moroccan Chickpea Bake combines the flavors of Moroccan cuisine in a whole new way. The three layers are inspired by three classics — tagine, hummus, and falafel. Together, they create something modern and unique. This comforting dish is a fantastic way to spice up your weeknight meal rotation.
12. Spinach Dip Crescent Roll Ring
A must-have at any party, this Spinach Dip Crescent Roll Ring is just delicious. Creamy, garlicky spinach dip is wrapped in crescent rolls and then baked until the rolls are crispy and golden and the dip is warm. It’s so easy to make, you may as well make two because it’ll disappear fast.
13. Lemon Avocado Chickpea Mash
This Lemon Avocado Chickpea Mash is one of those recipes that is so simple you’ll be surprised you didn’t think of it yourself. Chickpeas and avocados are mashed together and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a generous amount of lemon. This zesty, creamy, and hearty combo is the perfect toast topper, dip for veggies, or spread for sandwiches.
14. Lentil Burger With Mustard Sauce
These Lentil Burgers With Mustard Sauce are super tasty and only require four ingredients! The combination of earthy flavor from the lentils, the touch of sweetness from the raisins, and the nutty walnuts, make this a unique veggie burger you will fall in love with instantly. The zesty mustard sauce makes this burger even better!
15. Cinnamon Turmeric Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes can be dressed up with all sorts of delicious things from tangy cranberry sauce to fluffy marshmallows. These Cinnamon Turmeric Sweet Potatoes, however, let the natural flavor of sweet potato shine, elevating it with just a few select seasonings like cinnamon, turmeric, thyme, salt, and pepper. Just a quick toss, some time in the oven, and voila! A delectable side dish you will use time and time again.
16. Cheesy Corn and Smashed Avocado Quesadillas
These Cheesy Corn and Smashed Avocado Quesadillas may feel like a total comfort food indulgence, but they are remarkably healthy! The “cheese” is made with corn, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt, and with the avocado and cherry tomatoes, these are pretty well-rounded ingredient-wise. Who knew ooey-gooey deliciousness could be so wholesome?
17. Cauliflower Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Comfort food, without the guilt? These Cauliflower Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes prove it’s possible! These decadently stuffed sweet potatoes ooze delicious miso-cauliflower cheese and are covered with plenty of vegetables. They’re also super easy to make. So there are no excuses with this one!
18. Halifax Mushroom Donair
The donair is the quintessential street food of Halifax that’s basically a reinvented Greek gyro. In this messy, sweet, and savory Halifax Mushroom Donair, spiced mushrooms substitute for the usual meat and a cool, creamy cashew sauce stands in for yogurt sauce. It all gets wrapped up in a soft pita with plenty of greens, tomatoes, and tangy red onions. Be sure to serve it in foil — it can get pretty messy!
19. Asian Cauliflower Bites
If you were to serve these Asian Cauliflower Bites to a crowd, they would be mistaken for take-out — they taste that good. Cauliflower is dredged and coated in flaky, crunchy breadcrumbs, baked until it starts to get tender, then covered in a homemade sauce that’s slightly sweet, slightly spicy, and umami. Serve these flavorful, slightly crunchy bites with brown rice and steamed vegetables.
20. Fooled Pork Sandwich With Fries
This Fooled Pork Sandwich With Fries is an experience that needs to be had. Young jackfruit is simmered until tender and then broiled in sticky barbecue sauce, allowing it to absorb the flavor. This sandwich is topped with a creamy, crunchy coleslaw that’s a nice contract to the tender barbecue sauce-covered jackfruit. It all comes with a side of crispy oven-baked fries — why not try piling those on the sandwich, too?
21. Turmeric Falafel
Chickpeas are wonderful. One of the great things about these healthy little Turmeric Falafel is that you can mash them and form them into balls to top salads, or use them as a sandwich filling. These turmeric falafel balls are moist and fluffy, and with a teaspoon of turmeric and just a teaspoon of olive oil, they are flavorful, but not too heavy.
22. Cashew Cream Stuffed Avocado
It just doesn’t get more decadent than these Cashew Cream Stuffed Avocados. Halved avocados are stuffed with a homemade cashew cream, garnished with chopped nuts and chives, and served with a side of sliced cherry tomatoes. This simple recipe both looks and tastes like something you would order off the menu at a high-end restaurant, but it’s so easy — and affordable — to make in your own home. Serve these as an appetizer or light course at a dinner party, or simply enjoy them with no occasion in mind.
23. Indian Mashed Potatoes With Curried Gravy
With potatoes, a blend of Indian spices, and peas as a garnish, these Indian Mashed Potatoes With Curried Gravy are kind of like a deconstructed samosa. Red potatoes are mashed with onion, cumin, mustard seeds, coriander, and turmeric. Then, they’re topped with a curry-inspired gravy made from tomatoes, coconut milk, and even more spices. Serve this as a side to steamed vegetables and soft flatbread, like naan.
24. Black Bean Hummus Panini
This Black Bean Hummus Panini is the perfect example of how when simple ingredients are combined they can make a truly amazing meal! This sandwich has savory black beans, creamy hummus, tender eggplant, and deliciously juicy sun-dried tomatoes. A hearty meal that’s easy to eat thanks to two pieces of crunchy bread.
25. Deep Dish Quiche Pizza
A sweet potato crust is made from millet and chickpea flours pressed into a cake pan to make it deep dish. This Deep Dish Quiche Pizza is topped with a rich, homemade tomato sauce and filled with a fluffy tofu ricotta and kale filling, roasted Mediterranean vegetables or any vegetables of your choice. The final touch is a drizzle of cheesy tahini sauce. You’ll never get bored of pizza with a dish like this.
26. Mac and Cheese Pies
Macaroni pie is a Scottish delicacy that consists of a crisp, crumbly pastry crust that’s filled with macaroni and cheese. These dairy-free Mac and Cheese Pies recreate it perfectly, from the crust to the gooey, cheesy mac and cheese filling. There’s something otherworldly about the way these things come together, so much that you’ll probably be left speechless when you take your first bite. You can make one large pie for this recipe or several small ones, if you’re looking to make a shareable appetizer.
27. Cauliflower Pot Roast
Roasted cauliflower is one of the most delicious foods on the planet, and the presentation in this Cauliflower Pot Roast makes it fancy enough to serve at any occasion. The accompanying gravy is packed with lentils, cashews, and nutritional yeast — and plenty of flavor. Smother your roasted veggies and potatoes in this gravy, and you’ve got yourself a complete meal!
28. Pecan and Mushroom Wellington
This deliciously flaky Pecan and Mushroom Wellington is a gorgeous dinner treat for any time of the year. A pastry sheet is filled with a savory and herbed mixture of mushrooms and pecans, topped with a lattice layer of strips, and then baked until golden brown. The crispiness of the pastry is so tantalizingly tasty, and pairs wonderfully with a fresh salad or roasted vegetables.
29. Onion Pakoras With Avocado Dipping Sauce
A pakora is an Indian snack that’s essentially a vegetable dipped in chickpea flour, so they’re naturally gluten-free, and then deep-fried until crispy. These savory Onion Pakoras are spiced with garlic, cumin, and curry powder and served with a cool, spicy, and creamy avocado dip. These are perfect as an appetizer or snack at any party.
30. Spicy Zucchini Fritters
Zucchini are such versatile vegetables. You can fry them, steam them, stir-fry them, spiralize them into zoodles, even bake them into bread! In these Spicy Zucchini Fritters, zucchini are coated in rice and chickpea flour, seasoned generously, and fried. Top with your favorite creamy non-dairy dressing and serve with a side salad for a yummy, filling meal!
2016 was a wonderful year for food. Here’s to an even better 2017!
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Lead image source: Roasted Cauliflower Coconut Curry