It’s always such a joy to reflect on the past year including all of the recipes I made and what I accomplished. While I don’t have much time to write as much as I used to, I wanted to take a minute to share some of my personal favorite recipes from 2021.
You’ll notice that there are a lot of vegan and vegetarian recipes on the list this year as one of my goals was to consume less meat and eat more veggies, so that not only am I nourishing my body, but also so that I’m making Ambitious Kitchen inclusive for everyone.
I hope you enjoy trying some of my favorite recipes from this past year below. If you make any, be sure to leave a comment and rate the recipe. I adore you all. xo!
Why I love this recipe: honestly this is the BEST smoothie you’ll ever make. It reminds me of cherry garcia ice cream! I love adding spinach, though it does change the beautiful color but trust me when I say you 100% need this refreshing cherry smoothie in your life.
Why I love this recipe: this recipe went viral last year and for good reason. It’s like a lemon poppyseed muffin and an oatmeal bake had a baby. I love the light lemon yogurt glaze on top and everyone, including kiddos, will gobble this up!
Why I love this recipe: TWO WORDS. Wendy’s Frosty! Yes that’s right this smoothie tastes exactly like a Wendy’s frosty. It’s addicting as hell but nourishing and full of good for you ingredients. Make it! Oh, and if you want it extra thick, be sure to use frozen bananas and less milk, that way you can eat it straight out of the cup with a spoon like a milkshake.
Why I love this recipe: It’s absolutely perfect in so many ways and I found myself going back for another. My toddler LOVED these too! Basically imagine carrot cake, oatmeal and zucchini bread all wrapped into one muffin. So many fabulous, nourishing are packed into these too like nuts, coconut, raisins, applesauce, zucchini, carrots and oats! UNREAL.
Why I love this recipe: Tony and I made this recipe together last minute and I could NOT get over how amazing it was, even without the cream cheese glaze/frosting on top. It’s incredible anyway you have it, so moist and tender and packed with fruits and veggies. Highly recommend this one!
Why I love this recipe: I don’t know why but I had a serious tuna melt obsession when I was pregnant with Viggo and it continued after. This spicy tuna melt is by far my favorite. I could eat it EVERY SINGLE DAY for lunch. It is essential to get high quality canned tuna for best flavor!
Why I love this recipe: this salad is my favorite salad EVER. I eat it probably 2x a week and love how much it makes. I know kale isn’t everyone’s favorite, but once you try this salad you’ll be OBSESSED. The dressing coats the kale wonderfully and gives it so much flavor. It’ll BLOW YA MIND, and yes, it’s vegan.
Why I love this recipe: even though this hearty soup is dairy free, it oddly tastes like an amazing bowl of spaghetti o’s! The mini turkey meatballs take a little bit of time to make, but they are SO worth it because they’re infused with basil pesto and taste like a dream. SO creamy, so perfect and wonderful when it’s cold outside.
Why I love this recipe: yes, I’m still very much into quinoa salads and this one comes to the top of my list. Roasted carrots, cauliflower, dates, herbs, peas, quinoa, pistachios and more! Not only is it gorgeous but it’s drenched in a sunshine dressing which consists of tahini, ginger, turmeric and a touch of sweetness. This vegan salad will be your go-to to pair with proteins or prepare for meal prep, promise.
Why I love this recipe: so this is basically the ultimate side dish especially for those who are dairy free or vegan. The vegan caesar dressing is INCREDIBLE. Everytime we make it we always lick our plates clean, no joke. I love to pair it with roasted crunchy chickpeas (store-bought or homemade are great!) and avocado. If you’re not vegan, feel free to serve with grilled chicken, though I highly recommend a buffalo grilled chicken aka the meal Tony and I ate all summer long.
Dinner & Sides
Why I love this recipe: slightly sweet, spicy and SO SO COZY. There’s not much more to say other than that this is a total flavor bomb. You can add some veggies in here if you want; I’d probably recommend broccoli! Make it, devour it and don’t forget to rate the recipe.
Why I love this recipe: this is one of my go-to meals when I need something quick and easy for the kids. They always devour it. I typically serve over brown or white rice and tostones for scooping, but it’s also terrific in tacos or empanadas. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Truly one of Sidney’s favs.
Why I love this recipe: say hello to the meal I made all summer paired with chicken sausage, salmon or grilled chicken. It’s so flavorful and packed with veggies. We typically grill the veggies, but you could roast them or saute them. Truly it’s great with any seasonal veggie, so feel free to mix and match and have fun. I usually end up skipping the chickpeas, but it’s a great vegetarian option!
Why I love this recipe: hot damn these fish sticks are BOMB. Did anyone else grow up eating fish sticks? If you did, these are great for a healthier option that are baked instead of fried. My kids love them and we serve with sweet potato fries or regular fries and steamed broccoli and the side. Easy and delicious!
Why I love this recipe: just call me the meatball chick because I’m obsessed with meatballs and this one delivers on flavor! Seriously though, both adults and kids love meatballs, so it becomes a frequent go-to in our home. Personally I recommend simmering the sauce on low so that you have plenty of it for over your rice, but many readers like to double the sauce recipe! YUM.
Why I love this recipe: I made this and couldn’t believe how good it was. Tony and I devoured most of it in two days and you can serve it SO many ways, plus it lasts 5 days in the fridge. I love that it’s packed with nourishing ingredients like butternut squash, nutritional yeast and cashews. It’s easier to make then it looks and is great on tacos, nachos, enchiladas (for a vegan cheese sauce), on pasta and more! TRUST ME AND MAKE IT (even if you aren’t vegan.)
Why I love this recipe: I made a version of this for my MIL and I and we devoured it. It’s basically roasted veggies, a creamy, cozy, perfectly spiced butternut squash sauce and cheese layered with lasagna noodles. Freezer friendly and OH SO GOOD.
Why I love this recipe: this is the ultimate carrot recipe and will blow ya mind. They only take about 20 minutes to make and are the perfect side dish year round. They’re roasted until tender and caramelized and tossed with garlic, then dressed with a creamy cilantro sauce and topped with mint, basil and more cilantro + peanuts for crunch. IDK WHAT ELSE TO SAY other than SO GOOD.
Why I love this recipe: I call these blow ya mind cookies for a reason. They are the BEST vegan and gluten free chocolate chip cookies in the entire WORLD. I can’t even describe how good they are but everyone who makes them goes crazy for them and can never stop at just one. Everyone is always surprised when I tell them they’re vegan, too!
Why I love this recipe: first of all, did you know that you can make this grain free chocolate chip cookie skillet THREE different ways. Yep that’s right you can make them into a skillet, cookies, or blondies! It’s seriously the best, incredibly fudgy and easy to make. GET IT.
Why I love this recipe: I have to say that I really outdid myself when it came to this recipe. It’s can be hard to achieve peanut butter blondies that are gluten free, grain free and still remain fudgy, but if anyone can do it, it’s ya girl. Use a RUNNY/DRIPPY natural peanut butter with just peanut butter (or pb + salt) as the ingredients.
Why I love this: if you want a cake that’s healthy, packed with some veggies and tastes like heaven, then this is for you. Seriously can’t believe how good this turned out. I mean just look at those photos!!! Insanity.
Why I love this recipe: these oddly remind me of a snickers bar and I love it. They’re actually a lot easier to make then they look, too. If you haven’t tried them yet, give them a try. Pretty damn delightful when you have a grain free chocolate shortbread, a vegan peanut butter inspired caramel with crunchy peanuts and dark chocolate on top. Yum!
Why I love this recipe: banana cream pie was one of my favorites growing up and I knew I needed to create my own version. Add a peanut butter cookie crust and it is PERFECTION. Seriously everyone loves this rich pie and it’s perfect for special days, holidays or just whenever you’re in the baking pie kinda mood.
Why I love this recipe: it was hard for me to decide which cookie recipe I wanted to choose as a favorite from cookie week (the grain free cinnamon roll cookies were a close second!) but this one takes the cake. It’s buttery, rich, nutty and coated in cinnamon sugar goodness so it has a nice sugary crunch on the outside while still staying chewy in the middle thanks to brown butter and brown sugar. Make them and prepare to fall in love! My favorite way to enjoy them is with a nice cup of coffee or hot cocoa.
Check out my other favorite recipes from previous years
Also don’t forget to check out the Ambitious Kitchen favorites category for more favorite recipes!