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Dinner Of Love Without The Meat: Vegetarian Valentine's Day

Ashley Seruya |
February 3, 2014 | 1:10 p.m. PST

Staff Contributor

This simple yet impressive Italian inspired gnocchi bake is sure to wow your significant other during your romantic evening (@GHmagazine/Twitter).
This simple yet impressive Italian inspired gnocchi bake is sure to wow your significant other during your romantic evening (@GHmagazine/Twitter).
Making your Valentine's Day dinner at home may prove to be healthier for both your arteries and your wallet.

Date night is almost always expensive, and when you add the Hallmark holiday of Valentine's Day into the mix, prices skyrocket and your bank account weeps. Opting out of a night on the town this Feb. 14 could be the better option, and arguably a more intimate one. Setting the table for two in your own home, cozying up by the fire, turning your own romantic playlist on low and dimming the lights is a much more private and personal way to spend Valentine's Day.

Now that you've decided to forgo the silly frills and extravagance that Valentine's Day is infamous for, the issue of making the meal has arisen. But have no fear! Continuing on with our V-Day-on-a-budget theme, make your Valentine's day simpler and cheaper by making it meatless.

Meatless Monday and other vegetarian initiatives have become very popular in the past few years. This rise in vegetarian diets is likely due to research linking red meat with cardiovascular issues, and meat in general with other health risks. This has led many people to lean towards a plant based diet, rich with fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

In contrast, Valentine's Day dinners at restaurants are often laden with red meat, most commonly with lamb or expensive cuts of steak. Fancier meats are also common, such as duck or venison. Served with a side of starchy vegetables and copious amounts of alcohol, dinner out for Valentine's Day quickly tallies up the dollar bills, calorie counts, and fat content.

Even if a vegetarian lifestyle isn't for you, making a meatless Valentine's Day dinner is a cheaper and healthier way to spend a holiday that is supposed to be about enjoying time with your significant other, not spending too much money on that box of chocolates with caviar on top. Seriously, who actually eats that stuff?

For a simple and elegant Feb. 14, start your meal off with a bottle of good wine, and dine on one of these seven vegetarian dishes. Finish the night cuddling on couch with a scoop of chocolate ice cream for dessert, and a classic Rom-Com for cheese factor. Throw in a chocolate covered strawberry or two, a few kisses, and the perfect Valentine's Day has been made.

1. Eggplant Goat Cheese Sandwich

Finger food is both messy and romantic. Whip up these simple and delicious sandwiches with a side of warm soup, and try to keep those fingers to yourself.

2. Tofu Steaks with Shiitake Mushrooms and Veggies

Use tofu as a healthy steak alternative. With high levels of protein and calcium, tofu absorbs nearly any flavor that is added to it. Bulk up your meal with a hefty dose of veggies, and you have an Asian inspired dinner for two.

As soon as the Christmas trees come down, Valentine's Day takes over grocery stores with heart-shaped paraphernalia, like this heart-shaped pasta (@ItalianGrocery/Twitter).
As soon as the Christmas trees come down, Valentine's Day takes over grocery stores with heart-shaped paraphernalia, like this heart-shaped pasta (@ItalianGrocery/Twitter).
3. Pesto & Pea Lasagna

Lasagna is an ultimate feel good food. Put your partner in a relaxed and homey mood with this new spin on a classic dish.

4. Stuffed Peppers with White Wine Risotto

Adding wine to any dish adds both a unique flavor and an amorous quality. Make simple stuffed peppers special and exotic by adding a splash of white wine, and keep the rest to sip on throughout the night

5. Sesame Noodle Salad with Tofu

For a healthier and more gourmet version of Chinese takeout, try this noodle dish. Both low-key and flavorful, this dish is perfect for noshing on in front of a movie or eating Lady & the Tramp style.

6. Fettuccine with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Change up your pasta routine and try this spin on Fettuccine Alfredo. Instead of a sauce based in heavy cream and butter, this mushroom sauce takes advantage of the robust flavors from mother nature.

7. Gnocchi Bake with Buffalo Mozzarella & Mascarpone

Gnocchi is often considered to be a difficult dish to make, but this recipe makes it simple and scrumptious. Buffalo mozzarella and mascarpone give that extra special oomph to the oven-bake, making it worthy of Valentine's Day.

Reach Staff Contributor Ashley Seruya here or follow her on Twitter here.



 

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