What a year 2020 has been. I’m so excited to round it out and kick off 2021 with a round up of my absolute favorite recipes from this year!
I love putting together the top reader favorites recipes from this past year along with my personal ones as a way to reflect on the joy that came from creating and sharing these recipes with all of you. Seeing your AK recipe photos and reading your comments about how much you and your loved ones enjoyed the recipes is the greatest gift.
I hope you found some new favorites this year and that they were a little bright spot during a strange time. Here’s to 2021 and another wonderful year of delicious, nourishing and fun food. Enjoy, xo!
Nourishing Almond Flour Banana Bread
Why I love this recipe: I made this banana bread all the time during my first few months postpartum with Sidney. It was perfect to keep on hand when I needed something quick, nourishing and filling. My favorite way to serve it is with a little butter + sea salt on top.
The Best Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins You’ll Ever Eat
Why I love this recipe: These blueberry muffins are next level delicious and taste like they came straight out of a bakery. They’re buttery, tender with the perfect crumb, bursting with blueberries and even include the most fabulous streusel topping that you’ll ever eat. Such a great recipe to bake for brunches or for someone you love.
Snickerdoodle Tahini Date Smoothie
Why I love this recipe: I made this recipe for the very first time right before I gave birth to Sidney. It’s creamy and yes, actually tastes like a snickerdoodle cookie! The three secret ingredients that make it special? Tahini, dates and…cauliflower! Everyone loves this.
Chunky Monkey Banana Baked Oatmeal
Why I love this recipe: this baked banana oatmeal has quickly become one of my favorites. It’s packed with bananas, chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut for incredible flavor. I love serving it warm with cold almond milk poured over the top — SO DANG GOOD!
Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Why I love this recipe: this lemon poppyseed bread is just too good not to make! It’s made with a mix of almond flour and oat flour and naturally sweetened with honey. Almond extract adds a nice touch along with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice. I’m telling you — this is a must make!! Tony and I couldn’t stop eating it with a little butter and a drizzle of honey + sprinkle of sea salt!
Honey Cinnamon Walnut Banana Muffins
Why I love this recipe: There’s something ridiculously good about these banana muffins. I first made them for my sister in law who told me she wanted something baked without chocolate chips — these beauties were the result. They’re healthy, dairy free, whole grain, naturally sweetened with honey and pretty much have become my go-to banana muffin. The recipe calls for using olive oil, but you can feel free to sub melted butter or melted coconut oil!
Healthy Chocolate Brownie Banana Bread
Why I love this recipe: STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND MAKE THIS BREAD. After I made it for the first time, I couldn’t stop raving about how much it tasted like a cross between chocolate cake and a brownie. All you need are a few simple ingredients to whip this up, plus it’s grain free, gluten free, dairy free and naturally sweetened! Yum. My favorite way to serve it is warmed up and spread with peanut butter.
Heart Healthy Olive Oil Salted Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
Why I love this recipe: this recipe is sneaky good! It was such a surprise to me, but when I keep going back to the container to warm up a muffin, I knew they were a winner! This recipe is gluten free thanks to almond flour and oat flour, and nourishing thanks to healthy fats from olive oil + the almond flour, not to mention naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup (or honey!). Great for kids!
Spicy Cashew Thai Chickpea Broccoli Salad
Why I love this recipe: this is a healthy take on broccoli salad, made fun, flavorful and easily adaptable. This vegan broccoli salad includes TONS of crunchy veggies, a spicy peanut dressing and of course, roasted cashews for additional crunch. Feel free to serve with chicken or crispy tofu if you’d like to make it a full meal.
Damn Good BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Jalapeño Cashew Dressing
Why I love this recipe: one of my favorite recipes I made this past summer. First of all the jalapeno cashew dressing is LIFE CHANGING. Perfect for spread on tacos, salads and so much more! Would be great served warm or cold, and perfect with the addition of chicken.
The Best Minestrone Soup
Why I love this recipe: truly the BEST minestrone soup!! Reminds me of the version they serve at Olive Garden. These days I like to skip the potatoes and green beans and instead I add a pound of cooked ground turkey or beef + stir in a bag of spinach at the end. YUM.
Vibrant Curry Cashew Chickpea Quinoa Salad
Why I love this recipe: this is my go-to quinoa salad! I made it when I was working out frequently and trying to get my strength back postpartum. It’s filled with crunchy veggies, a hint of curry + ginger for flavor, and includes plenty of plant based protein thanks to chickpeas + the quinoa. Please make this!!
Sheet Pan Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower
Why I love this recipe: such an easy staple dinner that feels a little fancy! Everything is coated in a blend of Moroccan inspired spices and then baked for 30 minutes. To finish it, you’ll drizzle everything with a homemade feta yogurt sauce that whips up easily in the blender + garnish with dried cherries and pistachios.
Cilantro Pistachio Pesto (my favorite pesto ever!)
Why I love this recipe: it’s my most favorite pesto! So fresh and flavorful and perfect for whipping up and mixing with shrimp or chicken and pasta.
Spicy Ranch Chopped Chicken Cabbage Salad
Why I love this recipe: Tony and I made this salad countless times over the summer; it’s crunchy perfection tossed in a homemade spicy ranch dressing. When I’m feeling lazy, I usually skip the homemade ranch and just mix 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt with 1/4 cup light ranch dressing and a little hot sauce. SO GOOD!
The Best Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets
Why I love this recipe: crispy baked chicken nuggets that are tender on the inside with a crispy coating on the outside! Dip them in honey mustard, ketchup, bbq sauce or put in top of a wrap with buffalo sauce. So easy, so good! A kiddo favorite.
Slow Cooker Yellow Chicken Curry
Why I love this recipe: this is one of my go-to recipes to make when chilly weather shows up. I love how the flavors simmer together all day in the slow cooker, but of course, you can feel free to make it in on the stovetop if you prefer.
Damn Good Salmon Taco Bowls For Two
Why I love this recipe: such a healthy dinner for TWO people! The salmon is coated in a sweet and spicy taco rub then baked to perfection. Plus there’s homemade spanish style rice and all the toppings! Such a great date night dinner and easy to make!
Crispy Bacon Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken Breast
Why I love this recipe: jalapeno popper stuffed chicken? Sign me up! A very underrated recipe that’s packed with protein and very filling. For me, this is perfect with a nice side salad or some sweet potatoes.
Vegan Pasta Primavera with Creamy Garlic Cashew Sauce
Why I love this recipe: not only is this recipe completely vegan, but it’s absolutely FULL of veggies! The sauce is creamy and reminds me of alfredo sauce. I tested it out on Tony and he was eating it up (and the man loves his meat!). Trust me, and make this one!
BBQ Ranch Chicken Quinoa Bowls
Why I love this recipe: one of my go-tos when I want a nourishing dinner that’s easy and simple. I love the slow cooker BBQ chicken for this recipe but you could easily just use leftover shredded chicken and toss with bbq sauce instead. A great meal prep recipe to keep!
Firecracker Chicken Meatballs with Cilantro Coconut Pineapple Rice
Why I love this recipe: WHOA BABY. If you like spice, then you’ll love these chicken meatballs! Wonderful with the cilantro coconut pineapple rice to help cool things off, too! Plus who doesn’t love a one pan meal?
30-Minute Sesame Chicken Green Bean Stir Fry
Why I love this recipe: so I know that this sounds like just an ordinary stir fry, but I promise you it’s anything BUT that. The sesame ginger soy sauce is slightly sweet and coats all of the chicken and veggies for incredible flavor. Serve with rice or quinoa! A great 30 minute dinner.
Freezer-Friendly Green Chile Chicken Burritos
Why I love this recipe: these chicken burritos are highly underrated! The chicken is cooked with raciato and tons of delicious spices, plus there’s potatoes, cheese and a little salsa to really make these next level. The perfect freezer-friendly meal! If you want to make these breakfast burritos, feel free to add scrambled eggs!
Spinach Bacon Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Why I love this recipe: this recipe quickly became one of my favorites of this past year’s pumpkin week because it’s everything you could want: comforting, nourishing thanks to spinach and pumpkin, creamy, cozy and DELICIOUS! My son gobbled up this meal!
Dad’s Creamy & Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
Why I love this recipe: this recipe is perfect for the holidays and great for keeping in your arsenal at all times. The potatoes bake in a cheesy sauce where onions bake right in, making it taste like a cross between cheesy and sour cream and onion potatoes! My Dad used to make these all the time and they are a family favorite over here.
Incredible Caramelized Onion Spinach Chicken Pasta Bake
Why I love this recipe: I can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve made this recipe over the past year! Tony and I both love it so, so much and I feel great knowing that there’s a healthy serving of spinach in there too! This would be great for kids, and perfect with white beans instead of chicken if you want to make it vegetarian.
Crazy Good Street Corn Chicken Tacos
Why I love this recipe: we made this recipe all summer long and trust me when I say that you don’t need to make any other chicken taco recipe besides this one! The chicken is coated in a homemade sazon seasoning and then grilled to perfection. Plus there’s a corn salsa and a jalapeno cashew sauce to take it to the next level. Just do it.
Chia Banana Bread Energy Bites
Why I love this recipe: imagine if banana bread and and oatmeal cookie dough had a baby. That would be these energy bites. And you only need 1 banana to make it happen! I love these straight out of the freezer.
Damn Good Peanut Butter Banana Cake (gluten free, grain free)
Why I love this recipe: each year I make a few cake recipes and this one was one of my favorites. The peanut butter frosting is to die for! I’ll be making a version of this for Sidney’s 1st birthday.
Grain Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Why I love this recipe: grain free peanut butter cookies that are doughy on the inside? Yes, please! My best tip for these is to make sure that you underbake these slightly and use a natural creamy peanut butter such as Wild Friends!
Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Frosting
Why I love this recipe: I seriously forgot how much I LOVE this cake. So fluffy! Plus it’s gluten free and naturally sweetened. Just don’t forget the lemon frosting — it’s both tart and sweet and you’ll want to put it on everything!
Healthy Birthday Cake
Why I love this recipe: this is Tony’s favorite cake recipe and he pretty much devoured the whole thing over the course of a week. It’s grain free, gluten free and easily dairy free. Perfectly fluffy and seriously tastes like the most delicious birthday cake.
The Best Tart Cherry Pie You’ll Ever Eat
Why I love this recipe: I’ve been perfecting this cherry pie recipe for years and it is the BEST you’ll ever eat. It’s best to use tart cherries as sweet or dark cherries will be too sweet for this recipe!
Grain Free Chocolate Orange Pinwheels
Why I love this recipe: chocolate and orange is pretty much my ultimate combo and these cookies are soft, grain free, gluten free and FUN to make! Perfect with a cup of coffee.
If you make any of my favorite recipes be sure to leave a comment & a rating on the recipe so I know how you liked it!
Check out my other favorite recipes from previous years:
Favorite recipes of 2019
Favorite recipes of 2018
Favorite recipes of 2017
Favorite recipes of 2016
Also don’t forget to check out the Ambitious Kitchen favorites category for more favorite recipes!