As 2023 draws to a close, we’re proud to reflect back on another year of whole-food, plant-based meals for the books. Here at FOK, our mission is to provide accessible, flavorful, and healthy plant-based recipes that help prevent chronic disease and support your well-being from the inside out. We’ve rounded up our most-loved snacks, main courses, and desserts from the past 12 months for a culinary celebration of our thriving community. From perfectly portioned mini casseroles to drool-worthy finger foods and to vegan twists on classic desserts, this list is a great showcase of the versatility—and deliciousness—of a WFPB diet. Enjoy!
Let’s start things off on a sweet note with Dreena Burton’s crave-worthy chocolate sweet potato cake. This decadent dessert has gained so many five-star reviews it’s hard to keep track! The luscious cake gets its moist texture from cooked sweet potato and a double hit of chocolaty goodness with cocoa powder and nondairy chocolate chips. Sweet potatoes are also found in the velvety frosting, which is enhanced by rich cashew butter to replace the large amounts of dairy typically found in a buttercream frosting. One satisfied reader writes, “This is the best cake I’ve ever tasted!”
Break out these bad boys when you want to chow down on some healthy pub grub while watching your favorite sports team. Each tender onion ring is coated in a savory batter and rolled in crispy bread crumbs to deliver that classic crunch you expect from this popular finger food. Instead of using a deep fryer, this version from plant-based chef Kiki Nelson employs the magic of an air fryer to deliver the same results sans oil. Serve with a side of your favorite dipping sauce, and you’ll know from the first bite why this one made its way into our top recipes from 2023.
Rise and shine with this scrumptious baked oatmeal recipe that will turn your standard morning meal into a masterpiece. The tender oats are soaked in plant-based milk and infused with maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon before being topped with fresh berries. A quick bake in the oven produces a casserole that strikes the perfect balance between fluffy and chewy, elevating your oatmeal game to a whole new level of yum. Another great thing about this recipe? It can be prepped in advance and baked the day-of for maximum freshness!
Who doesn’t love tucking into an individually portioned meal that’s packed full of belly-warming ingredients? These savory mini casseroles are just as delicious as they are adorable. Umami-rich mushrooms, oniony leek, and aromatic herbs form the flavorful base of the dish, while a cheesy nutritional-yeast-based sauce coats all the fresh veggies in creamy goodness. Chickpeas and wild rice add heft, ensuring the smaller portions will still satisfy a rumbling tummy. One happy reader says, “This was really satisfying and comforting on a cold rainy night.”
Transport your taste buds to the tropics with a Caribbean stew that’s equal parts spicy, savory, and zesty. This fan-favorite recipe is packed full of fresh produce such as bell pepper, sweet potato, poblano chile, and celery, ensuring each bite is full of wholesome ingredients. But it’s the combination of aromatics and spices—such as allspice, ginger, and curry powder—that really sets this meal apart. Each serving is spooned over a bed of brown rice and topped with an herb-packed, chimichurri-style green sauce, shredded coconut, and a dash of lime juice. You couldn’t ask for a more mouthwatering flavor combo than that!
Take these bite-size nibbles on your next hike to stay fueled-up on the trail, or tuck them inside your lunchbox for a midafternoon snack at the office. These yummy oat balls feature sweet dates, creamy peanut butter, tangy orange juice, and warming cinnamon to create an explosion of flavor that will pick you up when your energy levels are running low. Dried cherries pack a tart, fruity punch, and you could easily replace them with other dried fruit if cherries aren’t your thing. “Double this recipe and you will not be disappointed!” raves a happy FOK reader.
Salad for breakfast? You bet! This traditional Thai dish made its way into our top recipes from 2023 thanks to its bright flavor palette, crunchy texture, and simple instructions. Brown rice, napa cabbage, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, and scallions are mixed together and drizzled in a finger-licking lime- and ginger-infused soy dressing. Crunchy peanuts, fragrant cilantro, and tangy shallot are interspersed throughout the salad, ensuring each bite is bursting with the most classic ingredients of Thai cuisine. If salad for breakfast isn’t your thing, this recipe makes for an incredible lunch!
Is there anything more American than apple pie? The classic fall dessert gets a whole-food, plant-based makeover in this nourishing recipe that is bound to please everyone around the table. Fresh sliced apples are tossed with lemon juice, applesauce, and apple pie spice before being poured into a homemade oat and date crust. The crown jewel of this treat is the crumble topping, which consists of oats, almond butter, flour, and warming spices. All the flavors meld together perfectly as it bakes, leaving you with a gooey fruit-packed filling and crispy crumb topping. Serve with aquafaba whipped cream, and dig in!
Sip on liquid gold when you whip up a serving of this scrumptious smoothie. Banana, pineapple, ginger, and turmeric join forces to create a fruity beverage packed full of antioxidants that will help protect you against cell-damaging inflammation. A few spoonfuls of oats thicken up the smoothie with gut-healthy fiber, ensuring every inch of this drink is nourishing you from the inside out. This recipe, which one reader calls “refreshing and invigorating,” comes from Forks Meal Planner, our weekly meal-planning tool that features hundreds of exclusive recipes designed for busy people who want to eat healthy. For more like this, you can sign up for our 14-day free trial.
While there isn’t a traditional sauce on this heaping pile of pasta, the whole wheat fettuccine noodles absorb incredible amounts of flavor when tossed with lemon juice, black pepper, and pasta water. The citrusy notes pair perfectly with earthy asparagus, briny olives, and toasted pine nuts to create a Mediterranean-inspired feast that will leave you licking the bowl. You can easily toss in any extra veggies you have lying around, since the flavor profile is so forgiving. The best part? It’s ready to eat in just 30 minutes.
“Absolutely delicious!” writes one happy reader about this powerhouse soup. While the ingredient list may look deceptively simple, the flavors are far from basic: Thyme, oregano, lemon, and red pepper flakes add major depth to the veggie broth base. Lentils, butternut squash, and spinach soak up the tantalizing flavors and offer satiating substance to this cold-weather meal. If you want to make this top recipe of 2023 even more filling, serve it over a scoop of hot whole grains or with a side of crusty whole wheat bread.
Appetizer hour just got tastier! These spinach bites are the ideal snack to serve before a dinner party to impress guests with your plant-based prowess. Each spinach-flecked sphere is stuffed with a potato-based cheese that gets delightfully melty when it bakes so it mimics biting into a gooey mozzarella stick. Greens beans and Italian seasoning add extra color and flavor to the outer mixture so each bite is appetizing for the eyes and the taste buds. Serve these canapées with a side of tangy marinara sauce and watch how quickly they get devoured.
will be a lifesaver without skimping on flavor. Hearty potatoes, cabbage, and red beans are infused with a savory mushroom broth laced with toasted caraway seeds to create an incredibly nourishing meal. Each serving is topped with quick-pickled veggies to add a touch of acidity and bring balance to the earthy flavors so you can enjoy a top-notch meal even when you’re short on time.
If you find it hard to get out of bed, the promise of these pancakes is all you need to become a morning person. Black beans are pureed and mixed into the batter to act as a nutrient-dense binding agent, while vanilla, maple syrup, and chocolate chips mask any beany flavor so you’re left with a decadent chocolaty batter. Griddle up each flapjack like any other pancake, and top with your favorite fresh fruit for a hearty plant-based breakfast.
Cheesy, herby, meaty, and savory: This hash brown casserole is the savory breakfast bake of your dreams. Shredded potatoes get a makeover when mixed with a creamy nutritional yeast-based sauce that’s packed full of aromatic seasonings. Roasted red peppers pepper the casserole with earthy sweetness while crumbled tempeh adds chunks of sausage-like heft. Bake everything until golden brown, top with sliced scallions, and sink your teeth into this hunger-busting hash brown heaven.
Indulge in a fan-favorite fusion recipe when you make these delicious taco lettuce wraps for lunch or dinner. Quinoa gets the royal treatment when it’s simmered in savory taco seasoning and studded with onions, corn, and pinto beans to create a hearty filling. A homemade cantaloupe salsa, which is equal parts fruity and spicy, tops the Southwestern stuffing inside of crisp lettuce leaves. If you have leftover filling, it’s delicious to stuff into bell peppers or turn into a burrito bowl.
Looking for a showstopping dessert? This visually stunning purple pie is the answer to all your decadent dessert dreams! Purple sweet potatoes lend their vibrant hue to a velvety smooth no-bake filling that’s poured into a homemade oat and walnut crust. A lime-infused blueberry sauce adds extra color to the tart, ensuring you get a double dose of purple in each bite that tastes just as good as it looks. One happy reader raves, “The filling and topping are unbelievable!”
This veganized version of a classic Southern dish drenches halved bananas in a marinade of vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup before broiling the fruit in the oven to tender perfection. The result is a crispy, caramelized outer coating and a soft, gooey inside. An extra dash of cinnamon and dollop of vegan whipped cream make these beautiful bananas an easy favorite that’s worthy of a spot in your regular recipe rotation.
Whole grains, fresh fruit, nut butter, and warming seasonings come together in this comforting breakfast bake that will give you the energy to tackle your to-do list. Chewy quinoa is mixed with juicy cherries, crunchy walnuts, and sticky sweet dates to create a textural symphony that’s further enhanced with the flavors of spicy ginger and zesty orange. After everything gets warm and soft in the oven, a tart cherry sauce is drizzled on top and the casserole is garnished with extra fresh fruit and nuts. What’s not to love?
The secret to this top recipe from 2023 is the fact that it looks fancy but actually requires very minimal effort. A simple homemade crust is rolled out into a disc, topped with caramelized onions and thyme-infused veggies, and then shaped into a cute galette that seems fit for a Parisian bakery. The sweet onions contrast nicely with the aromatic herbs, and adding a drizzle of balsamic vinegar once you pull it out of the oven would take this WFPB meal from amazing to incredible.
The next time you want to whip up a multi-course meal, start out your evening with these excellent stuffed mushrooms as the appetizer. Each tender cap is filled with a savory mixture that incorporates grilled fennel and red onions, creamy cannellini beans, and a plethora of tasty spices. The melt-in-your-mouth texture makes it hard to have just one, and since they’re so healthy, why not indulge in a whole plateful of these amazing morsels?
Did someone say date night? This scrumptious recipe for two relies on simple pantry staples to create rich flavors that rival even the best store-bought soup. Diced tomatoes and roasted red peppers form the base and are simmered with sweet onions, aromatic garlic, and savory paprika. Using an immersion blender, you can puree the mixture until it forms a silky bisque and top each serving with crunchy pumpkin seeds. Simple, savory, and ideal for pairing with a salad or a veggie panini, this bisque is bound to impress your sweetheart.
If you really want to tingle your taste buds, try transforming all the elements you love about tacos into lasagne-style casserole! This vibrant green bake features layers of corn tortillas sandwiched between a homemade salsa verde, a meaty mushroom and barley filling, and a jumble of corn and beans. When you’re ready to serve, top each slice with fresh scallions and cilantro for an aromatic finish. Even if you’re skeptical of this fantastical fusion creation, all it takes is one bite to understand why it earned a spot in our top recipes from 2023.