We write, we test, we taste, we edit, and over the course of the year there are usually a few recipes we can't help but develop a major crush on. Maybe it's a recipe that makes you change your mind, like the spaghetti squash pad Thai Associate Food Editor Emma chose, or maybe it's a recipe that fosters a sense of surprise and discovery, the way a lettuce salad with hot beef dressing did for Engagement Editor Ariel.
These are the recipes that delighted us in 2015.
1. Emma's pick: Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
"This recipe completely changed my mind about spaghetti squash — taking it from so-so pasta impersonator to an ingredient worthy of a special trip to the grocery store. The steamed strands of squash do an excellent job standing in for the rice noodles, and once you toss everything together with golden tofu, crunchy peanuts, and the tangy sauce, your dreams of pad Thai for dinner will become reality."
2. Lauren's pick: Cold Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives
3. Ariel's pick: Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid's Lettuce Salad with Hot Beef Dressing
"This unassuming salad was hands-down my favorite recipe this year. The gingery hot beef wilts down the crisp romaine and melts my heart in the process. It's super easy to put together for a weeknight meal, and makes me feel great."
4. Faith's pick: Chicken Ragù with Bacon
"This recipe wins the award for Recipe I Have Actually Made the Most this year. It came to me in a sort of intuitive grasping after a few things I wanted to taste; softly shredded chicken, the brightness of fennel, the luxury of bacon. It turned out that's really all this dish needed, and from just a handful of ingredients — six or seven — you get a really deeply flavorful dish that hits all the comfort notes. It surprised me, and as a recipe developer you're always grateful for those moments when something turns out to be more than the sum of its parts."
5. Hali's pick: How To Make Hasselback Tater Tots
"You could probably make the case that this year was the year of the Hasselback — that clever technique that turns potatoes, apples, and zucchini (really, anything you can thinly slice) into fanned, stuffed perfection. Right when I felt like the trend was starting to dull, Emma made this tater tot-Hasselback hybrid."
6. Christine's pick: Matt & Ted Lee's Radish Butter
"It doesn't get simpler or more elegant than radishes and butter, but this version — where the radishes get mixed right into the butter — makes a beautiful spread and is amazing on rye bread or with crudités!"
7. Cambria's pick: Chicken Lentil Soup
"The first time I made this soup, I wasn't expecting much. It seemed pretty simple and straightforward (which it is), but it's also really delicious — a salty, satisfying, stick-to-your-bones kind of soup. It took me through many weeks last winter, and I expect it'll do the same this year. Serve it with hot bread right out of the oven and you've got a winter meal you'll want to hug."