Top 25 Recipes of 2016

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday! I decided to take advantage of this “holiday hangover” day to compile my very favorite recipes of 2016. I’ve been making these year-end recipe round ups since my very first year of blogging and every year the list seems to get longer. As I sat down last night to review the recipes from 2016, I found myself writing down nearly every recipe onto my favorites list! Even after what seemed like a fairly conservative “first pass” I had 36 recipes on my list. Yikes! I’ve knocked it down some, but I just can’t narrow it down any further than these awesome Top 25 Recipes of 2016.

It was a delicious year, to say the least, so if you are new to Budget Bytes or just want to start cooking more in 2017, these 25 recipes are a great place to start! Here’s to making next year even tastier than the last!

Top 25 Recipes of 2016

The Top 25 Recipes of 2016 from


Listed in Chronological order from oldest to newest…


Weeknight Enchiladas

These easy Bean and Cheese Enchiladas are anything but boring. A few extra details take them from a simple to spectacular weeknight dinner.
4.95 from 55 votes
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Weeknight Enchiladas – A few extra steps, like toasting your tortillas and making your own quick enchilada sauce, takes these simple enchiladas to the next level. Seriously good, seriously simple.


One Pot Cheesy Vegetarian Chili Mac

This rich and comforting One Pot Vegetarian Chili Mac and Cheese is the perfect quick and easy weeknight meal. Works great for meal prep! 
4.67 from 131 votes
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Cheesy Vegetarian Chili Mac – This is what it’s all about right here. My “meat and potatoes” type of meal. Filling, cheap, and very satisfying with its cheesy goodness!


Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

A colorful medley of vegetables, protein filled lentils, and a rich brown gravy make this Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie filling and flavorful without meat. 
4.84 from 86 votes
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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie – Lentils make the perfect earthy swap for ground beef or lamb in this Shepherd’s Pie. It’s warm and cozy like cold-weather meals should be. :)


Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Broccoli

This Pan Fried Sesame Tofu is seriously crispy and drenched in a tangy sesame sauce. Broccoli florets and cooked rice make it a meal.
4.7 from 150 votes
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Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Broccoli – This is the recipe that got me loving tofu. Learning how to properly pan fry the little tofu cubes to create a crispy exterior is life changing. TRY IT.


Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks

These garlicky Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks are like a blast of summer to get you through those winter blues. Also great for the grill!
4.81 from 36 votes
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Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks – Just when the bleak winter weather starts to do you in, these fresh and vibrant chicken drumsticks will bring you back to life. Light, fresh, and January-diet friendly. ;)


A plate of pasta with the title text overlay at the center

Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

This super fast and easy Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is soul warming and flavorful. Inexpensive, vegan, flavorful, filling, and customizable!
4.77 from 71 votes

Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup – It might look unassuming, but don’t let that fool you! This incredibly simple soup is every bit as flavorful as it is healthy and that’s why I love it!


Crispy Baked Honey Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks

Sweet and spicy honey sriracha chicken drumsticks baked to perfection in the oven! Change up the sauce for a different meal every week!
4.95 from 38 votes
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Crispy Baked Honey Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks – I learned so many amazing things that cornstarch can do this year! Like make baked chicken extra crispy, as if it was fried! But let’s not forget about that amazing honey sriracha sauce that I slathered over top…


Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

A little butter and flour go a long way towards making this Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup extra rich and luxurious. 
4.6 from 35 votes

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup – Roasted red peppers give this rich soup a slight sweetness and a flour and butter roux gives it a thick, luxurious texture. I’ll never make tomato soup without a roux ever again.


Thai Red Curry Vegetable Soup

This Thai Curry Vegetable Soup is packed with vegetables, spicy Thai flavor, and creamy coconut milk. Ready in about 30 minutes! 
4.73 from 281 votes
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Thai Curry Vegetable Soup – If I had to pick one recipe as a favorite for the whole year (which I never could), this would be in the running. The flavors are incredibly vibrant and multidimensional. I want to eat it every day.


Close up side view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach

Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach

A simple creamy sauce infused with basil pesto makes this Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with spinach the ultimate comfort food WITH a dose of vegetables!
4.66 from 43 votes
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Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach – Because I put frozen spinach in everything. This isn’t a mac & cheese so much as it is a creamy pesto sauce with pasta and enough spinach to make you feel good about what you’re eating. ;)


Lime Shrimp Dragon Noodles

These spicy Lime Shrimp Dragon Noodles are a fast, easy, and inexpensive alternative to take out. This version features tender shrimp and fresh lime.
4.73 from 65 votes
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Lime Shrimp Dragon Noodles – I decided to play around with my original recipe for Dragon Noodles and came up with this winning combo! Lime brightens up the sauce and shrimp is a natural with the spicy flavors. I even used a different type of noodle just for fun.


Greek Chicken Pasta Salad

Greek Chicken Pasta Salad is the perfectly refreshing and filling summer meal with its medley of vegetables and tangy lemon garlic dressing.
4.87 from 36 votes
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Greek Chicken Pasta Salad – When it comes to summer eating, I always crave cold pasta salads. This one has enough protein, vegetables, and flavor to count as a whole meal.


Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice

Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice is an easy and flavorful four-ingredient dinner that leaves zero waste. Slow cooker instructions included.
4.7 from 43 votes
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Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice – I’m still learning with my pressure cooker, but discovering that you can cook rice in the left over juices from cooking a chicken was the best thing EVER. So much flavor and so little waste.


Overhead view of a bowl of apple pie overnight oats.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

These Apple Pie Overnight Oats are an easy and delicious make-ahead breakfast with no added sugar that you can enjoy either hot or cold.
4.71 from 24 votes
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No Sugar Added Apple Pie Overnight Oats – They definitely don’t look like apple pie, but these overnight oats taste surprisingly similar to apple pie, despite the fact that there is NO added sugar. I’ll be eating these through most of January!


Pasta with 5 Ingredient Butter Tomato Sauce

Pasta with 5 Ingredient Butter Tomato Sauce uses five simple pantry ingredients to make an incredibly rich and delicious sauce, perfect for any weeknight.
4.83 from 45 votes
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Pasta with 5-Ingredient Butter Tomato Sauce – This 5-ingredient tomato sauce is IN-SANE. I love it when simple ingredients make a final product that is absolutely extraordinary. (Plus a recipe for optional toasted breadcrumbs!)


Cowboy Caviar is like a cross between a bean salad and fresh salsa with its colorful mix of beans, vegetables, and a fresh lime infused dressing.

Cowboy Caviar Recipe

Cowboy Caviar is like a cross between a bean salad and fresh salsa with its colorful mix of beans, vegetables, and a fresh lime infused dressing.
4.93 from 40 votes
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Cowboy Caviar – So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this about me, but I LOVE BEANS. This vibrant bean salad can be eaten as a side dish, as a party dip, as a taco topper, or even a burrito filling. It’s a keeper.


Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils are an easy, hands-off, fiber filled, freezer friendly vegan dinner. 
4.72 from 117 votes
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Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils – Slow cookers to the rescue! This meal is cheap, super yummy, and crazy easy, thanks to my trusty slow cooker. And extras freeze well, too!


A glass casserole dish filled with baked beef and black bean tacos, with toppings in bowls on the sides

Baked Beef and Black Bean Tacos

Baked Beef and Black Bean Tacos are a fast and easy way to take Taco Tuesday to the next level and is the perfect fast and easy weeknight meal.
4.96 from 48 votes
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Baked Beef and Black Bean Tacos – Ever tried baking your stuffed tacos? Prepare for your Taco Tuesday to be changed forever. Baking your tacos takes them to the next level (I know, I didn’t think it was possible for tacos to get better, but IT IS.).


Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

This fast and easy Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry is a filling low carb dinner with big flavor and endless possibilities for customization. 
4.85 from 326 votes
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Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry – This is probably the “reader’s favorite” winner of the year and I’ve also made it several times in the few months since posting it. Why? Because it’s SO freaking good, so filling, and so cheap! WINNER.


Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Slow Cooker Jambalaya is a Louisiana classic made simple, with all the big flavor and half the effort.
4.17 from 96 votes
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Slow Cooker Jambalaya – It’s a good thing that I don’t have a Cajun grandmother because she might roll over in her grave at the thought of this one, but I don’t care. It’s easy, it’s delicious, it’s filling and that’s what this modern girl needs.


Marinated Lentil Salad

Marinated Lentil Salad is bright and flavorful, and infused with bold flavors like garlic and lemon. 
4.96 from 67 votes
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Marinated Lentil Salad – BANG-POW-WOW! That’s what my brain says when I eat this one. Between the tangy vinaigrette, fresh tomatoes, feta cheese, and lemon zest, there are a LOT of loud flavors in this salad.


5 Ingredient Freezer Biscuits

5 Ingredient Freezer Biscuits are the fastest and easiest way to have fresh, warm, and fluffy biscuits for breakfast any day of the week.
4.95 from 39 votes
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5-Ingredient Freezer Biscuits – These biscuits may be the death of me. Not only are they beautifully tender and slightly sweet, but I can keep the unbaked biscuits in my freezer and bake up one, two, three, or however many I need at a moments notice. Absolutely dangerous.


Sweet Potato Casserole Baked Oatmeal

Sweet Potato Casserole Baked Oatmeal is a great way to have your favorite Thanksgiving side as a nutrient packed breakfast. 
4.95 from 20 votes
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Sweet Potato Casserole Baked Oatmeal – Just when I thought I had made all possible flavors of baked oatmeal, the idea of a sweet potato casserole/baked oatmeal hybrid came to me. And wouldn’t you know, it’s my favorite one yet!


Close up overhead shot of Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches in a tray.

Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches

These Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches are fast, easy, and feature a salty-sweet herb infused vegetarian au jus for dipping. 
4.95 from 57 votes
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Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches – I only made these portobello “French dip” sandwiches a couple of weeks ago, but am still dreaming about them. The herb infused vegetable au jus was so good.


Vegetable Pot Pie Skillet with Cheddar Biscuit Topping

This rich and comforting Vegetable Pot Pie Skillet is made fast and easy for weeknight dinners thanks to frozen vegetables. Comfort food all in one skillet! 
4.77 from 92 votes
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Vegetarian Pot Pie Skillet with a Cheddar Biscuit Topping – I’ll take these cheddar chive biscuits over a traditional pie crust any day! Eating this skillet casserole is like wrapping yourself in a warm fluffy blanket and getting cozy next to a fireplace. It’s 100% comfort.


What are your favorite recipe discoveries of 2016? Feel free to share yours, from anywhere around the web, in the comments below. (Just remember, that if you’ve never commented on this site before your comment will be held in moderation until I can review them. All subsequent comments will post immediately.)