Monday, December 31, 2012

Best Of The Real Meal, 2012

Hey everyone!

Today, Mike and I decided to make a top 10 list of our favorite recipes from the blog over the past year.  It wasn't easy - we laughed, we cried - but finally settled on an order of favorites.  Let's get to it!

10. Channa Masala


Channa Masala, an Indian tomato-chickpea stew, made the cut for a few reasons.  Number one is its deliciousness (which is obviously an important criteria for everything on the list), but it's also healthy, frugal and highly practical - the kind of thing you could eat on a regular basis and feel good about yourself for it.  Plus, chickpeas are the superior legume.

9. Cinnamon Rolls


These cinnamon rolls are made just like my Granny does - floofy dough and lots of margarine/brown sugar.  They disappeared very quickly and got the non-vegan people Seal of Approval.  Though this isn't an everyday food (like the channa masala), I don't think I've met a soul on the planet who doesn't like cinnamon rolls, and they certainly don't come off as a "weird vegan food".

8. Vegan Eggnog


Ahh, eggnog.  This one gets points for being way less weird than traditional eggnog - I'd opt for raw tofu instead of raw eggs any day of the week.  Or maybe that's just me.  Either way, this beverage is the perfect drink for a cold winter evening - thick enough to be almost milkshake-y, and boozy enough to warm you up inside.

7. Zucchini Pasta with Meatballs


This meal made the list for so many reasons, but primarily because it's just so damn beautiful.  There's actually two separate posts about this one - one has a recipe for a fresh tomato and herb sauce and a raw vegan parmesan, and the other goes into detail about the meatballs, which are made to taste authentic using Ground Round - but you can feel pretty good about it since you're using zucchini noodles as the base, and a super-fresh sauce.

6. Hashbrown Casserole


Just missing out on the Top 5 is our Hashbrown Casserole, one of the first Sunday Brunch recipes we ever made.  It's decadent, delicious and despite all of its vegan alterations (sausage, eggs, etc), tastes incredibly homey and authentic.  This has become a fairly popular recipe on my blog, so it couldn't go without a mention.

5. Omelets (and a freshly-juiced Bloody Mary!)


And now for the Top 5!  The first time I had an omelet win was very momentous occasion - it proved to me that there was no vegan frontier I couldn't conquer (well except maybe meringue, but I'll probably go there one day).  I mean, look at that thing - it's an omelet, through and through.  This is something I could happily serve to tofu skeptics, and every vegan needs recipes like that.


And a shout-out to the Bloody Mary - not only is the presentation gorgeous (go Mike!), it's made with fresh juice.  And something about fresh juice makes drinking vodka in the morning ever-so-slightly more virtuous.

4. Clubhouse Sandwiches


Yet another brunch recipe makes the Top 5 - but I doubt you're surprised, since brunch is the perfect meal.  These clubhouse sandwiches are not the stuff that everyday food is made of (at least I hope not), but it's another one of those recipes that tastes surprisingly good based on its many vegan substitutions (american-style cheese slices, deli slices, etc).  Also, homemade chips - can't really go wrong there.

3. Okonomiyaki


This okonomiyaki is the only brunch recipe that snuck its way into the Top 3, and with good reason - not only is it fun to say, but it's incredibly easy to make (5 minutes of hands-on time), it uses cheap ingredients (tofu, flour, cabbage), and it's only partially junk food (thanks to the cabbage).  Plus, it's got major nostalgia value for me, back from my Japan-obsessed teenage years.  Kawaii!!!!!! (Yes, yes I do think okonomiyaki is cute.)

2. Sushi Bowl


Bowls are the best - they're healthy, vibrant and easy - and this sushi bowl is one of my all-time favorites.  This made the number 2 placement because it's healthy enough to eat on a regular basis, and delicious enough that you wouldn't mind.  Made with a creamy wasabi dressing, topped with baked tofu and raw veggies, and garnished with nori and ginger, I don't think I'd ever tire of this.

And finally, ladies and gentlemen, the number 1 recipe of the year goes to...

1. Tofuffalo Wings and Sweet Potato Fries


Plate. Of. Love.  The tofu wings and fries were made restaurant-style (aka deep-fried), which is probably a big part of why we loved this meal so passionately.  It may not be healthy, but damn.  Sometimes you just want to eat something that makes you say damn, you know?  The wings were dressed in a buffalo-ranch sauce, which was when I learned a beautiful vegan secret - you can buy seasoned ranch mix (some are vegan), add it to Vegennaise, and voila!  100% ranch dressing replica.

It's been lots of fun reading all of your "best of" posts, as are so typical on blogs this time of year.  Hope you have a great New Year's Eve/Day, and I'll be catching up with you guys once more before heading down to Austin for six months.  Four days to go!

18 comments:

  1. What a great round up! You definitely made some amazing meals in 2012! All of these look delicious and can I offer up your Pumpkin Coffee Cake as an honorable mention? That cake was so freaking incredible, yum!!

    Have a very happy and safe New Year! 4 days, wow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, that was one of the recipes that just barely got an ixnay, but if there was a top 12 it would've been there! So good. And thanks! :)

      Delete
  2. These all look wonderful - and I'll look forward to what appears in 2013 :) Happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the top 10, but especially the okonomiyaki which is a favorite at my house. It's one of the first meals my boyfriend made me when we were first dating! Those cinnamon rolls look really amazing too, with the "floofy" dough. Yum. Happy 2013!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, a boyfriend who makes you okonomiyaki? That's a good deal. :) Happy 2013 to you too!

      Delete
  4. I must have missed the tofuffalo wings first time around. This was clearly an error. They look damn fine! That eggnog is pretty close there...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are so damn fine. But again, hard to go wrong with deep-fried. :)

      Delete
  5. I really need to try that hashbrown casserole. It looks great :) Actually all your recipes look fantastic. Looking for more foodie blogs to read in 2013 and found yours. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by, and happy new year to you too! :)

      Delete
  6. Can't wait to see you triumph over vegan pavlova ;) And yes, chickpeas win at life.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Damn you’ve posted a lot in the past few weeks and I’m way behind on my readin’, gotta get on that. I’m glad you posted this round-up because I’m going to a brunch this weekend and I’ve got a bunch of ham to use up, totally making that hasbrown casserole!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, it's good to take some time off though! Can't wait to see you blogging again, and hope it works out for you!

      Delete
  8. Talk about one delicious year! I'm so glad you recapped your top ten, because I sure would have been sad to miss out on your rendition of eggnog. I don't know how that post slipped past me in the first place.

    Happy New Year! May 2013 be even tastier. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Hannah! And a tasty 2013 to you too. :)

      Delete