The 10 Most Overlooked Genius Recipes of 2017 (+ Why They Deserve More Love)

December 27, 2017

It's that time of year where I gather the 10 least-clicked Genius Recipes and try, one last time, to explain why they deserve more love.

This year, once again, the underdog recipes are dominated by healthier types—a new crop of salads, a feisty kale side, and a cake that's bright orange with carrots. But a good deal more were simply miscalculations on my part—a bad headline, or an iffy styling choice. I'm sorry recipes, you deserve better! Let's give this one more try.

Why you didn’t care: That 1-2-3 in the headline was a secret code.

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Why you should: Here's what the code meant: This is a near-instant appetizer made from 3 ingredients you almost definitely already have (Parmesan, olive oil, and a splash of wine).

Why you didn’t care: You've got your Halloween sweets pretty well covered by Tootsie Pops.

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Top Comment:
“Yes, there's a good search function, and I use it all the time. But it doesn't get you into the collection the way browsing an index would: a classic, old-fashioned alphabetical list. I know it's complicated: how to classify, what categories to use, etc. BUT: would you consider it?”
— Rosalind P.

Why you should: Just look at it! Also, this simple, cozy cake is a staple in homes across Brazil, with most of its sweetness, moisture, and color coming from carrots (and all of its ease coming from the blender).

Why you didn’t care: Some of you thought this wasn't granola at all, but rather fried chicken (do you see it?).

Why you should: If you love stumbling on the good, crispy clusters in your granola, this savvy trick means you can make those clumps as big and prolific as you want.

Why you didn’t care: Treat it like lasagna? That sounds hard!

Why you should: This soup is like getting a whole potful of the best parts of French onion soup—maybe I should have led with that instead. (p.s. I make this soup all the time.)

Why you didn’t care: The recipe contained many sub-recipes, and was about 3 feet long. Also, some of you couldn't abide that all the dark meat goes into the gravy.

Why you should: Following this single mega-recipe basically means the bulk of your Thanksgiving dinner is done ahead of time. (And you do realize you still get the dark meat, right? It's just deliciously braised and in a pitcher instead of on a platter.)

Why you didn’t care: Newfangled isn't the most appealing word, I suppose.

Why you should: But Caesar is! The dressing is sort of a light, creamy Caesar meets herby Green Goddess and comes together in seconds in the food processor. Plus, the salad comes with bonus 1-ingredient cheese crisps—you might never go back to croutons.

Why you didn’t care: "Radish Salad" isn't enough to woo you, it seems.

Why you should: Here's what was missing from that description: A spicy kimchi dressing. Another sultry sesame one. Plus a few tricks for making pretty much any salad more exciting.

Why you didn’t care: I thought the brilliance implied by the name Ottolenghi alone could carry any story, but the first headline gave way too much away: Ottolenghi Puts Onion Dip in His Kale, and It's Genius.

Why you should: Well, it is! And either part alone—the burnt green onion dip and the quick-cooked, garlicky-spicy kale—is worth making, even if you don't go for the Ottolenghi-esque combination.

Why you didn’t care: This was probably too focused on Valentine's Day (and tears).

Why you should: It should have leaned more into the fact that it's a luxurious yet speedy, one-skillet steak dinner. With crispy potatoes. And some bright greens to straighten it all out. You should pocket this menu for any night of the year, as I have.

Why you didn’t care: Psych! This isn't a recipe!

Why you should: We were dabbling in what a Genius approach to travel would look like, and Aleksandra Crapanzano (author of The London Cookbook) was the perfect genius for the job.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

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From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Rosalind Paaswell
    Rosalind Paaswell
  • ctgal
  • OurItalianTable
  • Betty
  • Teddee Grace
    Teddee Grace
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Rosalind P. December 31, 2017
don't know if this is the right place to ask this, but I would find it SO helpful if you compiled an old-fashioned INDEX as one guide to your entire collection. Yes, there's a good search function, and I use it all the time. But it doesn't get you into the collection the way browsing an index would: a classic, old-fashioned alphabetical list. I know it's complicated: how to classify, what categories to use, etc. BUT: would you consider it?
Kristen M. January 1, 2018
Hi Rosalind—do you mean the entire Genius Recipes collection? There are a few ways to do that right now, though in chronological order, not alphabetical. If you click on the "Genius Recipes" topic button at the top of any article (like this one), it will take you to all of the articles that have something to do with Genius Recipes (you can also get to this from the main navigation bar, under "Recipes"). Or you can go to the Genius Recipes profile page and see all the recipes, without the articles, here: https://food52.com/users/31034-genius-recipes/recipes Typing "genius" along with whatever you're searching in the search bar is another way. I hope this helps!
ctgal December 28, 2017
Plan to make most of them! Yup, missed them. Clever idea and I love your "stuff"! Thank you.
Kristen M. January 1, 2018
Thank you, ctgal!
OurItalianTable December 28, 2017
OMG - this article is brilliant!! Thanks for giving these recipes a second chance - they look delicious....love!
Kristen M. January 1, 2018
Thanks so much, OurItalianTable—Happy New Year!
Betty December 28, 2017
I like this title much better than the one you used in previous years, e.g. "The 10 Least Popular Genius Recipes of 2016" (although the old title still appeared in the URL.
Kristen M. January 1, 2018
Thanks, and good eye!
Teddee G. December 27, 2017
This was funny and a great idea. An equally great idea would be if the world of food writers would reintroduce the word ingenious (an adjective) into their writing. It would make my year! Keep the humor coming!
Karen M. December 27, 2017
I agree :)
Kristen M. January 1, 2018
Thanks for your notes—always happy to field a suggestion this friendly! I'm afraid that—as we're almost seven years in—it's a bit too late to turn this column and cookbook series into "Ingenious Recipes," but when this concern has been raised in the past, I've pointed to the evolving use of the word: The OED and other dictionaries list "genius" as an adjective at least in informal use, and this column is nothing if not informal! Here's more info: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/genius