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36 Recipes We Brought Back from Vacation

A great recipe is the ultimate souvenir. Check out the dishes that readers have picked up on road trips, cross-country travels and vacations around the globe.

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Authentic Pasta CarbonaraTaste of Home

Authentic Pasta Carbonara

I learned on my culinary internship in Tuscany that real Italian cuisine is simpler than you think! This carbonara is quick, simple and delicious, just the way they like it in Italy. —Lauren Brien-Wooster, South Lake Tahoe, California

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Caramel Apple Coffee Cake with WalnutsTaste of Home

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake with Walnuts

I created this recipe after a trip to an orchard with my family. This moist cake is full of hearty apples and nuts, while the caramel topping adds a delectable finish. —Sharon Cable, Dyersville, Iowa.

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Vibrant Black-Eyed Pea SaladTaste of Home

Vibrant Black-Eyed Pea Salad

My black-eyed pea salad reminds me of a southern cooking class my husband and I took while visiting Savannah, Georgia. People go nuts for it at picnics and potlucks. —Danielle Lee, Sewickley, Pennsylvania

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Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Cilantro PestoTaste of Home

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Cilantro Pesto

I first ate this sandwich while vacationing in Sedona, Arizona, and fell in love with it. When I returned home, I developed this one that tastes just like the original. —Carolyn Phenicie, Titusville, Pennsylvania

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Chocolate Pear Hazelnut TartTaste of Home

Chocolate Pear Hazelnut Tart

As a teenage foreign exchange student in the south of France, I was horribly homesick. Then my host family's Grandmother Miette arrived and asked if I'd like to help her bake this nutty tart from scratch. It turned my trip around and inspired my lifelong passion for baking. Weighing ingredients, roasting nuts, kneading dough—the art of baking transcends language. —Lexi McKeown, Los Angeles, California

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Matt's Jerk ChickenTaste of Home

Matt's Jerk Chicken

Get ready for a trip to the Islands. You may think jerk chicken is complicated, but really, all it takes is time. Throw on some tunes, grab an icy drink and prepare to be transported. Have a smoker? You can smoke the chicken first and finish it on the grill. —Jenn Hall, Collingswood, New Jersey

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Greek TilapiaTaste of Home

Greek Tilapia

While on a trip through the Greek islands, my husband and I had a dish that we loved. I tried to duplicate it by combining several different recipes and came up with this. —Sally Burrell, Idaho Falls, Idaho

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Roasted Grape CrostiniTaste of Home

Roasted Grape Crostini

A trip to Spain introduced me to its culinary treasures, like Manchego cheese and sherry. This appetizer always impresses folks who’ve never tasted roasted grapes. They're amazing. —Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina

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Caribbean Shrimp & Rice BowlTaste of Home

Caribbean Shrimp & Rice Bowl

I had a similar rice bowl on vacation and re-created this lighter version at home. It takes me back to the islands every time I make it. Try grilling the shrimp for more beachy flavor. —Lauren Katz, Ashburn, Virginia

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Maple Syrup PieTaste of Home

Maple Syrup Pie

Folks in New Hampshire apparently appreciate maple syrup almost as much as we do in Vermont. When my husband and I took a road trip through New Hampshire, we discovered this pie at a number of diners and restaurants. We loved it so much we created our own version. —Laurie Herr, Westford, Vermont

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Hawaiian HashTaste of Home

Hawaiian Hash

I like the combination of ginger, pineapple and macadamia nuts. This dish brings back memories of an island vacation.—Roxanne Chan, Albany, California

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Cherry Cream  PieTaste of Home

Cherry Cream Pie

A favorite vacation spot in Wisconsin—Door County (in the "thumb" of the state)—is known for its abundance of cherry orchards, and that's where this cream pie recipe originated. We think it's a delectable dessert, with a nutty crumb crust, real whipped cream and, of course, cherry pie filling. —Carol Wencka, Greenfield, Wisconsin

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Greek Veggie TartletsTaste of Home

Greek Veggie Tartlets

The mixture in this recipe was originally a salad I made after a trip to Greece. When my husband suggested I serve it in phyllo cups, it became my most-requested appetizer!—Radelle Knappenberger, Oviedo, Florida

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Toasted Hazelnut and Chocolate Ice CreamTaste of Home

Toasted Hazelnut and Chocolate Ice Cream

The flavors in this ice cream take me back to European vacations I've enjoyed in the past. I am a big hazelnut fan, and who doesn't like chocolate? I've been caught red-handed eating Nutella out of the jar with a spoon! —Laura Majchrzak, Hunt Valley, Maryland

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Corn Fritter Waffles with Spicy Maple SyrupTaste of Home

Corn Fritter Waffles with Spicy Maple Syrup

My family used to vacation at a resort in Vermont that served corn fritters with maple syrup. Now when I serve these waffles for breakfast or supper, I'm transported back to those simple days of childhood. —Jennifer Beckman, Falls Church, Virginia

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Key Lime CupcakesTaste of Home

Key Lime Cupcakes

I made these light, tangy cupcakes on a chilly day to remind me of our vacation in southern Florida, where Key lime pies are star attractions. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan

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Parisian Chicken BitesTaste of Home

Parisian Chicken Bites

When a friend of mine returned from a trip to Paris, she raved about the food she had and described one of her favorite meals. It inspired me to create a similar hors d’oeuvre. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota

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Crab Quiche with HollandaiseTaste of Home

Crab Quiche with Hollandaise

I discovered this quiche at a diner during a motorcycle road trip with my husband. It was so amazing, I worked to duplicate it back home. Our family loves the results. —Amy Knight, Lake Linden, Michigan

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Maple-Glazed Chicken WingsTaste of Home

Maple-Glazed Chicken Wings

Some wonderful maple syrup I brought back from my last trip to Vermont inspired my recipe. These wings have been a hit with family and friends. They're very versatile—use them for TV snacks, hors d'oeuvres for parties or showers, or appetizers—or double or triple the recipe and make the wings a main dish you can serve with a salad or corn on the cob on the side. —Janice Henck, Clarkston, Georgia

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Puerto Rican Coconut PuddingTaste of Home

Puerto Rican Coconut Pudding

Tembleque, or coconut pudding, brings back so many memories of the days my family would vacation in Puerto Rico to see my relatives. It was one of my favorite things to eat—I'm sure it will become a much-loved recipe with your family, as well. —Linette Serenil, Upland, California

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Cajun Pork and RiceTaste of Home

Cajun Pork and Rice

I created this recipe upon returning home from traveling. With little food in the house, I used what was there. My husband loves this dish because it's tasty, and I love it because it's easy. —Allison Gapinski, Cary, North Carolina

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Aloha BrittleTaste of Home

Aloha Brittle

A vacation to Hawaii inspired me to create this mouthwatering brittle. Coconuts, macadamia nuts and pecans make my tropical-tasting recipe deliciously different.

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Pulled BBQ PorkTaste of Home

Pulled BBQ Pork

During years of vacationing on the North Carolina coast, I became hooked on their pork barbecue. The version I developed is a favorite at potluck dinners. —Joseph Sarnoski, West Chester, Pennsylvania

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Michigan Cherry SaladTaste of Home

Michigan Cherry Salad

This recipe reminds me what I love about my home state: picking apples with my children, buying greens at the farmers market and tasting cherries on vacations. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan

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Spicy Tomato SteakTaste of Home

Spicy Tomato Steak

My family loves this spicy tomato dish. I came up with the recipe about 25 years ago, after eating a similar dish on vacation in New Mexico. I came home and tried to duplicate it from memory, with delicious results! —Anne Landers, Louisville, Kentucky

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Grilled Brussels SproutsTaste of Home

Grilled Brussels Sprouts

During a beach vacation, in an effort to cook our entire meal outside on the grill, I made our not-so-simple veggie choice into a simple grilled side dish. For spicier sprouts, season with red pepper flakes —Tiffany Ihle, Bronx, New York

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Chocolate Velvet DessertTaste of Home

Chocolate Velvet Dessert

This creamy concoction is the result of several attempts to duplicate a dessert I enjoyed on vacation. It looks so beautiful on a buffet table that many folks are tempted to forgo the main course in favor of this chocolaty treat. —Molly Seidel, Edgewood, New Mexico

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Honey-Pecan Baked CodTaste of Home

Honey-Pecan Baked Cod

One night at dinner, while vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we tried a pecan-encrusted trout that we've tried to re-create. We enjoy this tasty version with fresh or frozen cod often. —Lana German, Lenoir, North Carolina

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Shrimp & Broccoli Brown Rice PaellaTaste of Home

Shrimp & Broccoli Brown Rice Paella

Years ago my husband and I were vacationing in France and came across an open market where a man from Spain was making paella in a skillet; we've been hooked ever since. I love to whip this up for a large group, but if the gathering is small, I know I can easily freeze leftovers for another time. —Joni Hilton, Rocklin, California

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Cinnamon-Pear Rustic TartTaste of Home

Cinnamon-Pear Rustic Tart

I was lucky enough to spend the holidays with my husband's family in Montana. I loved the rustic simplicity of each dish we tasted, especially this rustic pear tart my mother-in-law made. —Leah Waldo, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

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Hungarian-Style Green BeansTaste of Home

Hungarian-Style Green Beans

A vacation to Hungary inspired this flavorful side of green beans with paprika and mushrooms. Being a vegetarian, I welcome these tasty ideas. —Sherry Johnston, Green Cove Springs, Florida

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Cozumel Red Snapper VeracruzTaste of Home

Cozumel Red Snapper Veracruz

Cozumel, Mexico, is home to magnificent Veracruz-style red snapper. You can't bring it home, so create your own. Try parchment paper instead of the foil packet. —Barb Miller, Oakdale, Minnesota

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Lemon GelatoTaste of Home

Lemon Gelato

On a recent trip to Italy, I became addicted to gelato. My favorite choice was lemon because Italian lemons have an intense flavor. This recipe brings back memories of our vacation. —Gail Wang, Troy, Michigan

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Finger-Lickin'-Good ShrimpTaste of Home

Finger-Lickin'-Good Shrimp

My husband and I were vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico when we happened upon a terrific restaurant that served shrimp wrapped in bacon. Though I've changed them slightly, these delicious appetizers are enjoyed by everyone who tries them. —Sandi Solari, Manteca, California

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Southwest SaladTaste of Home

Southwest Salad

Friends served us this wonderful salad when we were vacationing in Arizona. My husband particularly liked the fresh-tasting citrus-flavored dressing, and asked me to be sure to get the recipe. It's since become one of our family's favorites. We think it's especially good served with a chicken casserole. —Sharon Evans, Clear Lake, Iowa

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.

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