If you had it your way, you’d want an intimate and romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day at a posh restaurant. But we’re all forced to break the tradition this year because of COVID-19. But all is well when you’ve got someone to spend February 14 with. A wistful setup at home isn’t all that bad, especially when you come up with an exceptional dinner.
Cooking for Valentine’s Day
You can be casual or extravagant, dreamy, or animated – the idea is to put your heart on every dish regardless of the mood. A romantic meal doesn’t need to be overly expensive, but you do have to exert some effort to cook a special dinner for Valentine’s Day. Don’t be overwhelmed by the thousands of recipes and tips online; we’ve got everything you need right here.
Before you turn on that sultry Sade ballad or a Boyz II Men classic, make sure you put a sumptuous and passionate meal on a fancy table with candles. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Shrimp Cocktail – Start your lovely evening with a classic appetizer, and what could go wrong with a shrimp cocktail? It’s a relatively easy dish to prepare as long as you get your hands on fresh uncooked shrimp. It’s best to poach them with the shell on – it’ll keep the shrimp juicy and tender. Don’t stress on the sauce; all you need is a lemon and vinegar combo for tanginess, ketchup for colour and sweetness, and the added kick from the horseradish.
Vegan Squash Soup – If it’s a winter Valentine in your area, a vegan squash soup with a spicy kick makes perfect sense. Combine the butternut squash and pumpkin with the tofu’s smooth texture, and you’ll get a hearty yet filling dish without the guilt. It’s also a highly recommended dinner offering in a cold Valentine night to keep you and your partner warmed up for the rest of the evening.
Gnocchi Paired with Walnuts and Garlic – Fancy name aside, gnocchi is relatively easy to make from scratch. You’ll need some effort and time to do it right, but you’ll impress your Valentine date in a heartbeat with this dish.
Pan-Fried Chicken with Roasted Broccoli on the Side – Chicken is on the safe side, which is perfectly fine if you have little experience in the kitchen. Since this dish only requires a minute or two in pan-frying chicken, you won’t feel overwhelmed by it. The roasted broccoli on the side spruces up the rather bland presentation of chicken alone.
Salmon with Pistachios – There’s nothing special with salmon when it’s on its own. But if you add a crust of toasted pistachios on top, it quickly becomes a sumptuous dish that’s perfect for a Valentine’s dinner vibe.
Roast Turkey Breast – A whole turkey is for Thanksgiving and the entire family. Give it a twist in February by serving the breast part to your partner. Throw in some “must-have” sides, i.e., parsnips, potatoes, and carrots to make it delectable.
Chicken with Sautéed Apples and Mushrooms – You may have noticed our fondness for chicken, but there’s a good reason for that. It’s a safe bet, plus it gives you a lot of room to be creative. One perfect iteration for a romantic Valentine dinner for two involves searing the meat in a lava of mushrooms and apples, creating an inviting combo of earthiness and sweetness in one dish.
Arugula Salad – Who says romantic dinners can’t be healthy? Arugula salad reinforced by goat cheese, chickpeas, and walnuts is the best meat-free main dish for Valentine’s Day. It’s a testament that hearty meals can be delicious and extravagant at the same time.
Pizza – No matter how fancy or upscale your Valentine dinner table is, nothing beats the romanticism of sharing homemade pizza and a pack of beer with the love of your life. That’s how we’d do it in the 90s!
New York Strip Steak – Don’t be afraid if you haven’t made steak at this point of your life. Make this year’s celebration of Valentine’s Day as your first-ever steak night. The only “fancy” tool you’ll need is a meat thermometer for this to be a rousing success. Marinate the meat with garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Put some Salt Bae action after slicing the pan-grilled meat. This one should sweep your partner off her feet.
White Cheddar Paired with Bacon Risotto – Risottos aren’t just for kids. Pair your bacon with white cheddar and some frozen peas, giving you a simple yet satisfying addition to your fancier dishes.
Wine is a Must-Have
Valentine’s Day is all about professing your romantic side, and there’s no better way of doing that than sharing a glass of red wine. It represents richness in flavour yet offers a sure way to relax the mind and body. Your dinner table with candles and fancy dishes aren’t complete without a bottle of red wine.
These meal suggestions for Valentine’s Day are straightforward enough for anyone to try, regardless of experience or skill in the kitchen. A few of them will challenge your creative side, but the good thing is that no one’s expecting you to imitate restaurant-quality food. As long as every dish is hearty and comforting, that’s all that matters.