Friends, Valentine’s Day is close at hand so, at this point, you know those restaurant prix fixe menus are off the table. But who wants to spend all that money on a (likely) mediocre meal anyway? I’ve got everything you need right here to create a night that’s worthy of the one you love, be it your sweetheart, your mom, or yourself.
Just started dating but want to impress? Get to know each other better while you’ve got this easy, flavorful dish roasting in the oven. Hosting some girlfriends at your place for a fun evening? Break out the champagne and snack on some addictive finger foods. Don’t care what happens as long as there’s chocolate? I’ve got you covered there, too. Whatever you plan on doing this Valentine’s Day, I want to help you celebrate deliciously.
(PS. Why keep the celebrations contained to one night only? Spread the love on into the next day, too, with breakfast dishes like Almond-Vanilla Baked French Toast, or this amazing Poached Egg with Crunchy Quinoa).
Broccoli Rabe, Caramelized Onion, and Balsamic Flatbread - A great recipe to make as a couple, the flavors are sophisticated but the recipe isn’t intimidating.
Persimmon Carpaccio with Burrata - This takes only minutes to put together and it’s just beautiful and it’s also a sneaky way to inject a little festive color into the occasion.
Crisp Tempura Vegetables with Miso Mustard - A perfect pairing if you’re planning on popping some champagne.
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets with Balsamic Syrup, via What Katie Ate – Puff pastry makes everything feel a bit fancier, wouldn’t you say?
Spice-rubbed Hangar Steak with Chimichurri Sauce - If you want your Valentine’s Day to get a little spicy but still keep it super easy.
Smoked Paprika and Oregano Roast Chicken - If you’d rather spend more time with your significant other and a big glass of wine than fiddling with flames and sharp objects.
Asian Chicken Salad with Creamy Mustard Miso Dressing - Tossed together in no time at all, and healthy enough to justify all those chocolate desserts listed below.
Parmesan Risotto with Roasted Shrimp, via The Kitchn – Take turns stirring the pot with your Valentine and keep each other’s wine glasses full while you cook this together.
Braised Beef Short Ribs, via Smitten Kitchen – Short ribs are always impressive, delicious, very versatile and surprisingly easy — here Smitten Kitchen shows how it’s done.
Vegetarian Spaghetti and Quinoa Meatballs - Go ahead and just do it: re-enact Lady and the Tramp.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic-Sage Brown Butter - Culinary truths (according to me): you’ll never, ever go wrong with sage and brown butter and homemade gnocchi always ups the ante.
Saffron Pappardelle, via Love and Lemons – Though it has a dozen different spices, this pasta still feels homey and familiar.
Ricotta and Sage-Filled Beet Ravioli, via Sunday Suppers – If you’re a holiday traditionalist and need that pop of pink, these ravioli are your key.
Sides and/or Gluten-Free:
Cumin Carrot Farro Risotto - Perfect, whether you’re in the California sunshine or battling a Polar Vortex this Valentine’s Day.
Salad of Bitter Greens, Beets, Lentils, Prosciutto and Blue Cheese, at Cannelle + Vanille – Gluten-free can be sexy, too, and here’s the proof.
Fennel and Blood Orange Salad, from Smitten Kitchen – With its cheery colors and good-for-you ingredients, this salad will brighten up the table and your mood.
Red Quinoa and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad, via Kitchen Konfidence – Did you know arugula is an aphrodisiac? Neither did I but you can get your fill with this salad.
Desserts (um, Chocolate):
Double Chocolate Tart with Mascarpone Cream and Candied Kumquats - To truly impress the one you love (without too much extra effort).
Chocolate Mousse Cake, at Baker’s Royale – If your version of Valentine’s Day is spelled “C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E”, this cake is going to make you very happy.
Chocolate Frosted Raised Donuts with Crunchy Kettle Potato Chips, from How Sweet It Is – Like love should be, this dessert is sweet with a dash of salty.
Cardamom Chocolate Truffles, from Honestly YUM – Let’s face it: candy hearts are for amateurs — say it better with these cocoa-dusted truffles.
Chocolate Souffle (and a helpful How-To), via Food52 - If you’re up for the challenge, this is the ultimate bragging-rights dessert.
Cardamom-Vanilla Coffee Crème Brûlée - This classic Valentine’s Day dessert gets an intriguing twist with an infusion of spice and coffee.
Strawberry and Riesling Upside-Down Sponge Cake, at What Katie Ate – Pretty and boozy — need we more?
Meyer Lemon Coeur a la Crème With Raspberry Sauce, via Kitchen Konfidence – How can you not fall in love with this recipe?
Almond-Vanilla Baked French Toast - Why stop the celebrations at the stroke of midnight? Prepare this the day before to keep things sweet and effortless at brunch the next day.
Dutch Baby Pancake - Along the same vein as the Baked French Toast, above, make this to keep things cozy all morning long.
Poached Egg with Crunchy Quinoa and Balsamic Brown Butter Asparagus - If a savory breakfast is more your style, this recipe includes an amazing array of flavors and textures, but also has a few extra steps to it: a good reason to justify staying in with your Valentine.
Black Truffle Fried Egg with Mushroom and Creamy Blue Cheese, at What Katie Ate - Truffles make everything special and are especially unexpected at breakfast.
Intro photo via Sean McGrath