This article is part of the “Holiday Recipes Series,” which comprises of 3 articles. Read part 1 and part 3 for more information.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your romantic dinner date. So make your time together special, memorable and…healthy (why not?)! Here are four delicious dinner ideas and two amazing dessert ideas that you can make together for a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner in the intimate setting of your choice – at home, watching the sunset on a beautiful terrace or any other place that brings you together!
1. Romantic Grazing Platter for Two
Create a fancier twist to a romantic fruit platter for two! A beautiful grazing platter packed with an assortment of fruit, cheeses, dips, veggies, cured fish, nuts, crackers, breads and sweets is the perfect option for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day. You can design your grazing platter according to each of your preferred food preferences and tastes, and it can be enjoyed indoors or out in nature (perhaps watching the sunset together)!
Follow these steps to create the perfect grazing platter:
- On a large serving platter, add two or more of your favorite cheeses. These could include cheddar, gouda, camembert or brie. For those that need slicing, ensure you do this before putting them on the platter.
- Next add dips. Choose a variety so you have enough delicious options for your whole platter. Some healthy dip options include hummus, salsa, beetroot dip, tzatziki, guacamole, baba ghanoush and black bean dip.
- The next step is to add chopped veggies. Include a variety of veggies to add; chop these in various shapes and sizes to make your platter more aesthetically pleasing. Try fresh chopped carrot, cucumber, celery and cherry tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes, roasted pumpkin, sweet potato slices and baked eggplant are also delicious, gourmet veggie platter options.
- Crackers and bread are next. Don’t stick with one type of cracker or bread; add a variety like sesame seed crackers or rye bread.
- Next add your cured fish. Smoked salmon and smoked trout are excellent healthy options here.
- The second last step is to add your sweets. You can choose any that you like, but chocolate is usually a winner. Another idea is to have mini containers of melted chocolate and honey for dipping.
- The final step is to add fruit and nuts to fill in the gaps. Here, use a variety of fresh and dried fruit. Fresh fruit options can include blueberries, raspberries, grapes, oranges, apples, pears, bananas, mangoes, sliced pineapple, kiwi fruit, watermelon and honey dew. A tip to ensure your bananas, apples and pears don’t brown is to place them next to oranges, as the acidity in the oranges will keep them fresh. Dried fruit platter additions could include dried apricots, dates and figs. Finally, add some nuts. Try almonds, walnuts, cashews or pistachios; for crunch, you can try honey roasted nuts.
2. Home Made Pizza
Everyone loves pizza, and a gourmet homemade pizza is a delicious, fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your partner. Here is a Healthy Salmon and Veggie Pizza you can make this Valentine’s Day.
Recipe: Healthy Salmon & Veggie Pizza
- 1x Wholegrain Pizza Base*
- Tomato Paste
- 1 Large Red Onion, Diced
- Olive Oil
- 1 Pack Smoked Salmon (5-6 oz), Sliced
- 1 Cup Pumpkin, Diced
- 1/4 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- 1/2 Capsicum, Diced
- 1/2 Cup Baby Spinach, Sliced
- 4 Tbsp Cranberries
- BBQ Sauce
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
- In a large wok, heat olive oil and sauté onion until translucent. Add pumpkin and capsicum and cook.
- Once pumpkin in cooked through, add smoked salmon and cranberries to cook for an additional four minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cover pizza base in tomato paste. Layer evenly with baby spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and mixture of cooked veggies and salmon.
- Squeeze BBQ sauce over top and bake until base is cooked through and starts to lightly brown.
- Slice and enjoy!
*can use wholemeal Lebanese bread, a wholegrain wrap, wholegrain pita bread or pre-made wholegrain pizza base.
3. Vegetarian Foul Ⓥ
Foul is a healthy and tasty dinner perfect for Valentine’s Day because it’s fun and designed to be shared. It’s also quick, easy and fairly cheap to make, which is perfect if you are on a budget this Valentine’s Day. It even makes a great addition to the center of your Valentine veggie tray! Here is a perfect recipe for you to try out:
Recipe: Vegetarian Foul
- 18 oz Fava Beans
- 1 Tbsp Tahini (also known as Sesame Seed Paste)
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Coriander Seeds
- 1 Tsp Cumin
- 1 Cucumber, Diced
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tomato, Diced
- Wholemeal Lebanese Bread
- 1 Onion, Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Water
- Heat olive oil in pan and sauté onion until translucent.
- Add beans, spices and tahini. Stir occasionally.
- Mash beans in pot and simmer for 20 minutes, adding ½ cup water as required to achieve dense soup texture.
- Serve with cucumber, tomato and Lebanese Bread. Enjoy!
4. Gourmet Baked Dinner Ⓥ
Treat your loved one to a gourmet baked dinner. Show them how much you care by choosing their favorite vegetables and protein options. Here is a recipe for Roasted Veggies with Crushed Nut Topping (can optionally be made with some baked salmon or the protein of your choice).
Recipe: Roasted Veggies with Crushed Nut Topping
Makes 4 Servings
- 1 Brown Onion, Diced
- 1 Medium Sweet Potato, Sliced
- 2 Zucchinis, Sliced
- 1 Spanish Onion, Diced
- 1 Medium Head of Broccoli, Chopped
- 1/4 Cup Mixed Nuts, Crushed
- 1 Cup Pumpkin, Diced
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
- Place all prepared veggies in a baking tray.
- Coat with oil and drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with nuts and mix until evenly coated.
- Bake until veggies are cooked through and golden brown. Enjoy!
Recipe: Crispy Baked Salmon (Optional)
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Salmon Steaks with Skin (approx. 7-8 oz each)
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a medium sized baking dish with oil.
- Place salmon in prepared dish and drizzle with remaining oil. Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on thickness of salmon) or until salmon is cooked through and crispy on the outside.
- Remove from tray and serve with veggies. Enjoy!
Other ways to add some extra flavor to your baked veggie dinner include roasting veggies with honey, maple syrup or olive oil; adding some balsamic vinegar; or even combining honey, olive oil and mint for a refreshing taste.
THE EASY DESSERT
There is no better dessert to share on Valentine’s Day than chocolate fondue. You can health-ify your fondue by dipping strawberries or sliced banana into your melted chocolate; you could even be a bit more extravagant and use marshmallows, pretzel sticks and peanut butter brittle.
Recipe: Chocolate Fruit Fondue
- 8-10 oz Milk Chocolate Block
- Fruit of choice – e.g. banana, strawberries, dates
- Break chocolate into small squares and place into a heat-proof bowl.
- Boil a small saucepan of water. Once boiling, place bowl with chocolate onto a saucepan lid that allows steam to boil up to the bowl (making sure the chocolate is heated by steam rather than directly by the boiling water; this is an improvised version of the double boiler method). Once the chocolate starts to melt, continue to stir occasionally until fully melted.
- Remove chocolate from heat and serve with sliced fruit of choice. Enjoy!
6. Pumpkin Coconut Ice-Cream Pie
THE FANCY DESSERT
Pumpkin Coconut Ice-cream Pie is both a delicious and healthy dessert you can enjoy with your partner on Valentine’s Day. It’s very nutritious, as it is made with real vegetables, whole grains and nuts. In fact, it tastes so amazing that your loved one won’t even know it is healthy! This recipe also makes about 12 servings, so you can share the leftovers during the week.
Recipe: Pumpkin and Coconut Ice-Cream Pie
Makes 12 Servings
- 18 oz Dried Dates, Finely Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
- 1 and 1/2 Medium-Sized Japanese Pumpkins, Diced
- 1/2 Cup Slithered Almonds
- 2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- 6 Cloves, Crushed
- 2 Tbsp Vanilla Paste
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup Plain Rolled Oats
- First steam pumpkin. Once soft, blend with coconut milk. Then remove from blender and refrigerate for two hours. Re-blend as needed for fluffy texture.
- In a pot, bring water and dates to boil and then simmer. Add oats, almonds, cloves, honey, cinnamon and sesame seeds and cook through.
- Evenly spread this date mixture into a baking pan. Then freeze for two hours.
- Top base with pumpkin ice-cream and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from fridge, slice and enjoy!
Most importantly, Valentine’s Day is about making that special time with your loved one as special as possible. That’s why it’s very important to choose the option that’s just right for you. Whichever way you choose to celebrate, I hope you have a wonderfully romantic time with your loved one, enjoy some delicious food and have plenty of memorable chats together for many years to come!
Read more from our “Holiday Recipes Series”: