janet @ the taste space

My Top 12 Recipes of 2012

In Events/Round-Ups, Favourites on December 31, 2012 at 6:34 AM

I enjoy recommending recipes but for some reason, I found it difficult to compile this post of my favourite recipes from the last year. Then I received my first annual report about my blog, which was filled with fun facts: 188 new posts (565 posts overall), almost half a million page views with my busiest day earlier this month when I posted Red Lentil and Spinach Curry (Vegan Tikka Masala). My most popular posts are from the depths of my archives, though: Apple Strudel (my Oma would be proud), Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing, Raw Tacos, and Lemon Basil Almond Pesto. Only one post from 2012 was equally as popular (#1 below) and it wasn’t the one with the most comments (Carolina BBQ Jackfruit Pulled “Pork” Wraps with Pickled Red Onions gets that honour).

Which recipes were my favourites from 2012? Which recipes were our repeaters? Without further ado, and in no particular order:

1. Almost Guiltless No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie

It feels almost sacrilegious to post a dessert first, but it is one of my most repeated and requested recipes from the year. When I wanted my first dessert after my sweetener-free challenge, this is what I made. Decadent and rich, you would never know this was low in calories. Nor would you ever guess it was filled with tofu.

Almost Guiltless No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie
2.  Fragrant Lentil Rice Soup with Spinach and Caramelized Onions (aka Dal Bhat Meets Mujaddara)

This is another one of my favourite recipes. A hearty red lentil and brown rice soup filled with warming spices like cinnamon, allspice and cumin topped with sweet caramelized onions. Spinach is stirred in for even more nutritional goodness. When I have people over, I do not hesitate to suggest making this soup together.

Fragrant Lentil Rice Soup with Spinach and Crispy Onions (aka Dal Bhat Meets Mujaddara)

3. Salad in a Jar (and Topaz Dragon Lemon Ginger Dressing)

This revolutionized my lunches. Pre-packing salads into Mason jars made it easy to assemble salads to tote to work. Pick a dressing, add veggies to marinate, drop in your protein of choice, top with your leafy greens. Bonus for such a great lemon-ginger salad dressing as well.

Salad in a Jar (and Topaz Dragon Ginger Dressing)

4. BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon

One of my favourite summer salads was this pinto bean salad with fresh roasted corn, tomatoes and raw eggplant bacon with a smoky chili-lime dressing.

BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon

5. Creamy Thai Cilantro Ginger Sauce (for Thai Shiitake-Basil Spring Rolls and Sexy Saucy Noodles)

Dressings were a culinary discovery this year.  A good dressing can take you make places and simplify your cooking tremendously. This was an unusually delicious Thai cilantro ginger sauce made with peanut butter, coconut milk, ginger, basil and cilantro that had me begging for more. Perfect as a dipping sauce for spring rolls but also in a stir fry with broccoli, carrots and kelp noodles.

Thai shiitake-basil spring rolls with a creamy Thai cilantro ginger sauce

6. Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Balsamic Tahini Dressing

Another one of my favourite dressings this year was a simple balsamic tahini dressing. Use it overtop grains, beans, veggies, you name it. Just don’t use dark soy sauce, because then it becomes an Asian sesame soy dressing and you lose the balsamic undertones!

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Tahini Balsamic Dressing

7. Raw Burrito (Collard Wrap filled with Jicama, Sprouts and a Nacho Cashew Spread)

I enjoy being inspired by restaurants and this is one dish that I recreated at home after being smitten by raw burritos at Belmonte Raw. I used a collard leaf to wrap up julienned jicama and sprouts and slathered it with a delicious nacho sauce made from cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso, smoked paprika and red pepper paste. Raw food has never tasted so good.

Raw Burrito (Collard Wrap filled with Jicama, Sprouts and a Nacho Cashew Spread)

8. Hazelnut-Roasted Delicata Squash with Hazelnut-Sage Pesto

On the subject of tasty spreads, I fill find it hard to top my hazelnut-sage pesto. Spinach makes up the bulk for the greenery so it isn’t a pungent sage slap-in-the-face, but teamed with toasted hazelnuts and nutritional yeast, you get the familiarity you expect from pesto, too. Pairing it with roasted delicata squash complemented the natural sweetness of squash.

Hazelnut-Roasted Delicata Squash with Hazelnut-Sage Pesto

9. Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha Squash, Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap

Every year, I continue to discover new favourite ingredients. Kabocha and delicata squash quickly became my go-to squashes since no peeling is required. Sometimes simplicity is as its finest with roasted vegetables and I loved hazelnut-roasted kabocha squash paired with avocado and cucumber in a green collard wrap. No dressing needed with the sweetness of the squash next to the creamy avocado. Just make sure you buy kabocha and not the buttercup imitator!

Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha, Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap

10. Creamy Broccoli Dal

No stranger to Indian cooking, I cooked up a lot of dals this year. This one was repeated twice in the last two weeks alone. Broccoli makes a surprise appearance amongst a flavourful red lentil curry spiced with cumin, black mustard seeds, Aleppo chili flakes and garam masala. As I type that, it doesn’t sound too appealing to me either but I swear it is one of my favourite curries!

Creamy Broccoli Dal

11. Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras 

Indian cooking does not only subsist of bean-based curries, although that is my favourite part. I discovered a love for these lemon-cilantro cauliflower pakoras made with chickpea flour. My favourite part of this experience was a head-to-head comparison of batches that were fried in a skillet, in my aebleskiver pan and baked in the oven. The clear winner? Baked in the oven for simplicity, taste and texture! We all win with this healthier option. 🙂

Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras

12. Lemon Mediterranean Lentil Salad

I am a sucker for beans and enjoy finding recipes that will appeal to the masses. This Mediterranean lentil salad is simple to whip together and flavourful from the lemon juice, capers, olives, thyme and cherry tomatoes.

Lemon Mediterranean Lentil Salad

This has definitely been a tasty year. So many great dishes to pick from, these are ones that still make me salivate. Please let me know how you enjoy them. For my favourites from years yonder:

My 10 Favourite Recipes from 2010

My 11 Favourite Recipes from 2011

My Ongoing List of Favourite Recipes

What were your favourite finds from the year?

  1. Wow you do love your collard wraps! I love all your recipes. I can’t wait to try number two – the lentil soup. Great idea to do your favorites for that year. I must do this (and continue working on that darn recipage. ARG!)

  2. OMG, I am so happy you picked the chocolate mousse pie as #1, because it totally rocked! EVERYONE I made it for absolutely loved it — even tofu haters! I ended up making it for a Canada Day bbq first, then repeated it as my wedding cake (!!) and then it was requested by my partner for his birthday cake. This cake is magical, and so are all your other healthy and tasty recipes. Thanks for sharing and have a great start to 2013!

    • Leslie, your comment has made my day… and week. What a wonderful way to end 2012, eh? I am so stoked that you made it for your wedding cake!! That is wicked awesome! I think I should do the same…. First step, get engaged. 😉

  3. I absolutely love these recaps. It reminds me of all the things I pinned and then forgot to make. So much deliciousness!

    Happy New Year!

  4. Beautiful! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  5. […] Erin’s, Courtney’s, Kris’s, Kathy’s, Melissa’s, Bobbie’s, Janet’s, and […]

  6. I always find it so hard to choose also…that just means you made a ton of deliciousness this year! Happy new year chica!

  7. What a great top recipes list! I’m super happy to see your lemon pakora up there–I made a batch, and they were stellar! (Of course, the cilantro hater in the house was not so into them–but that just meant more for me.) I really want to try a couple of those dal variations, too–they look so comforting and delicious.

  8. I bought spinach today planning to make one of my favourite soups – Curried Red Lentil and Spinach – but now I think I will change that to make your Red Lentil and Spinach Curry.
    I love pakoras but I don’t deep fry at all and don’t like to shallow fry very often. Now with your baked recipe I have a plan for the cauliflower in my fridge. I hope it isn’t considered sacrilege but I use hoisin sauce thinned with water in place of tamarind chutney, which I never have on hand and haven’t yet learned to make it.
    I am loving the recaps/favs that my food blogger friends are sending me.

  9. The creamy broccoli dahl looks wonderful! Happy new year!

  10. Yay, I love “top recipes” posts! I’m all over that mousse pie, and those collard spring rolls. Delicata squash is one of my favorites, but for some reason I don’t buy it very often! Gotta change that! Have an awesome 2013!

  11. I can’t believe how many recipes you posted in the last year – no wonder you found it hard to choose your favourites! You came up with a good mix though! I definitely want to try that quinoa and chickpea salad

  12. Oh wow those pakoras are calling my name! But seriously, everything looks delicious! I can’t wait to see what your 2013 looks like 🙂

  13. […] dough. Who does not enjoy seeing step-by-step photos of my Oma making an apple strudel? (Also my top post last […]

  14. […] My 12 Favourite Recipes from 2012 […]

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