Top 10 summer recipes: Our readers’ favorites are meatless, nostalgic and quick

Through what readers have told us and what we’ve seen, we know that people are cooking more at home these days — perhaps more than they’ve ever been used to. At the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we saw surges in popularity for certain ingredients and recipes. Beans were at the very top. Ditto baked goods, especially bread, and especially sourdough. As travel restrictions and self-isolating continued into the summer, people remained invested in those. But we also saw a bit more diversity in the kinds of recipes readers like you were clicking on and making.

Like just about any data set, there are multiple ways to interpret why these recipes surged into the top 10 this summer. I’m going to take a stab at it anyway. First … vegetables! You’ll notice that all but one recipe here is meatless. That is impressive, to say the least. Whether it’s because of budget, logistics (fewer trips to the store), ethics (concerns about working conditions in meat processing plants) or a seasonal preference for produce, these recipes show that interest in vegetarian-friendly fare is high.

We tend to find that dishes cooked in certain pieces of equipment resonate with readers, too. There are not one, but two, Instant Pot recipes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll see a hash made in a cast-iron skillet, a proven reader favorite. Nostalgia goes over well. See the diner-inspired pie or retro one-pot braise.

A good number of these recipes fall into the quick and easy category. A few — boba, naan — indicate people are willing to use the time at home to try something completely new, particularly if it can replicate a food they’re used to having elsewhere.

Now that I’ve given you my take, why don’t we kick off the countdown? Starting with No. 10 …

10. Southern Collard and Sweet Potato Hash. This meatless dish combines three things we know our readers love: cast-iron skillets, hashes and quick meals.

9. Instant Pot Risotto. The beloved multicooker excels at a lot of things, and a weeknight-friendly, no-stir risotto is one of them. Customize the flavors and vegetables as you see fit.

8. Cauliflower Sandwiches With Smoked Gouda and PeppadewsYou all dig your vegetables, and this delightfully overstuffed sandwich definitely hits the mark.

7. Chocolate Cream Pie. Just look at this beauty. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more spectacular version of the diner classic, thanks to the years that went into crafting it.

6. Homemade Bubble Tea (Boba). I’m sure I’m not the only one missing trips with friends to go out for bubble tea. Here’s how to get your fill at home.

5. Sourdough Margherita Pizza. I know I’m also not the only person who has started dabbling in sourdough. Use that discard starter in these pies.

4. Barbecue “Baked” Lentils. Like the risotto, this dish is meatless and made in the Instant Pot. These are much speedier than traditional baked beans.

3. Stove-Top Naan. For years, great homemade naan had been elusive for me. No longer, with this cast-iron recipe that uses buttermilk for tang and lift.

2. Grilled Indian Yogurt Sandwiches. This dark horse recipe seems to have really hit the spot for hot summer days. Another appeal: It comes from “The Great British Bake Off” fan favorite Chetna Makan.

1. Wine-Braised Chicken With MushroomsSo many of you made this, as the comments and my inbox can testify. This one-pot, nostalgic and deeply flavorful dish is my adaptation of my late grandmother’s original recipe, and she would be terrifically honored. Thank you for trying it and enjoying it with me.

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