How to Plan Date Night + Valentine’s Day Menu + Grocery List
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and if you’re like me, you probably want to avoid the crowds and overpriced food in a restaurant. There’s something that feels way more romantic and intimate than having a one-on-one homemade meal at home with your significant other (or your girlfriend, or family). I personally like it way more for nights like this and often times we get so caught up in life that we don’t get the opportunity to just take our time making a yummy three-course meal and enjoying food (maybe some wine) with our loved ones. That’s why I put together this perfect vegan Valentine’s Day menu for you to whip up a homemade (and impressive) dinner this February 14th.
Let’s kick off this delicious Valentine’s Day menu
Let’s start with a good appetizer. Appetizers set the tone for the whole meal. If you nail this, you’ll have your guest(s) excited for what’s to come next. I picked one of my favourite appetizers to share for this special dinner, and that’s my Vegan Cheese Ball. This cheese ball is made with vegan tuna, so it’s filling, and I mean, everyone loves cheese? Add this cheese ball to a yummy charcuterie board, or just serve it on its own with your favourite baguette or crackers. What’s great about this recipe is that it’s raw, aka no cooking required, and can be made up in advance as well.
Soup or salad?
To follow the yummy starter, let’s move onto the first course, a soup or salad. Pick whichever you (or your partner) prefers, or make a little bit of both. You can completely make this Valentine’s Day menu your own, I’m just here for some inspiration and ideas for your perfect dinner.
For a soup, you can make my Creamy Plant-Based Cauliflower Soup which is usually a crowd pleaser. Everyone finds cauliflower soup so comforting. What’s great about this soup is that you can really make it your own and throw in other vegetables to that might be your fav. It’s also made with arrowroot powder which is healthier than cornstarch and makes this recipe gluten free.
For the salad, I’ve selected my Pearl Couscous Greek Salad which can add a little more hardy-ness to a salad for the winter months with the couscous. Plus, you know how much I love my Greek food. I made this salad with tofu feta. Sounds weird, but trust me here. You’re going to love it!
The main course
Here we go! The main (and Italian) entree. You’re going to make the BEST GOD DAMN MEAT SAUCE EVER! Yep, you heard me correctly. Of course this recipe is a fav. I’ve seen so many of you make it on Instagram and it doesn’t disappoint. Plus, a bowl of pasta is always a dish that leaves everyone happy. This recipe is for a vegan meat sauce made with walnuts and mushrooms that add a dose of antioxidants and omega-3’s. Throw it on top of your favourite pasta noodles (or zoodles), and voila!
This tasty vegan meat sauce is super easy to make, is one pot, and loaded with protein from walnuts and mushrooms versus typical lentils.
4 servings spaghetti or pasta of choice
4–5 cups assorted mushrooms, whole is fine as we will be processing them
1 heaping cup walnuts, raw, whole
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, rough chop
2 celery ribs, rough chop
3 medium-sized carrots, rough chop
4 large cloves of garlic, whole
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp cinnamon spice
1/2 tsp clove spice
2 tbsp. dry basil spice
1 tbsp. parsley spice
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 680ml bottle of passata – I used organic
2 tbsp. vegetable stock paste
2–3 cups boiling water
season to taste
Into a food processor place 1/2 of the mushrooms and process until finely ground. Remove mushrooms from the processor and repeat with the other 1/2 of mushrooms. See notes.
Into the food processor add your walnuts and process till finely ground. Transfer walnuts to the bowl with the mushrooms.
Into a large soup pot add your olive oil and heat on medium-high heat for around 20 seconds before adding your mushroom and walnut mixture. Cook for around 6-8 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has browned beautifully.
Into the same food processor add your onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Process till finely ground. See notes.
Remove the mushroom and walnut mixture from the pot and transfer to a bowl.
Into the same pot add your onion mixture and cook on medium heat for around 5-6 minutes, or until browned and fragrant. If the mixture starts to sticks to the bottom of the pot simply add a little water bit by bit to help loosen the browned parts. This is a flavour building step, so I highly suggest it if needed.
To the mixture add your chili flakes, cinnamon, clove, basil, parsley and bay leaf. Stir till well combined. Cook for around 1-2 more minutes.
Now, push the cooked onions mixture to the sides and makes room for the tomato paste. Cook on its own for a minute or so or until browned. Once browned stir the tomato paste into the onion mixture and transfer your walnut and mushrooms to the pot. See notes.
Stir till well combined, increase heat and add your passata and vegetable stock paste. Cook for around 5 minutes before adding your water and bringing mixture to a boil.
Pot on your pot lid and simmer for around 25-30 minutes. See notes. Before serving taste for salt and pepper and add as needed.
Enjoy with your favourite pasta, garnished with parsley and a side of garlic toast!
When you process the mushrooms there will be larger chunks left as you process but don’t keep going. You don’t want to over-process them.
When processing the carrots, celery and onion, garlic, you will likely want to over process. A pulp texture is great but try to avoid a smoothie texture.
At this point, you could add red wine, 1 cup, deglaze for 5 minutes to remove alcohol and then add your passata.
The longer you cook the sauce, the better, but if you’re in a pinch for time 30 minutes is perfect! This sauce is even better the next day. Will freeze well, for up to 3 months in a tightly sealed container. Always let red sauces cool before refrigerating.
The grand finale to this Valentine’s Day menu
Last but not least, it’s time for a super sexy and delicious dessert to top off an amazing vegan dinner. I suggest you make this Vegan Cashew Chocolate Mousse Cake because it’s the perfect end to this Valentine’s Day menu. This mousse cake not only looks impressive, but it’s very chocolatey and yummy. The secret ingredients to get the creamy texture without the dairy are coconut milk, and cashews. Get creative with the toppings and choose your favourite berries, or nuts to make this dessert personalized for you or your boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/whatever.
Valentine’s Day can be such a great time to remind yourself how grateful you are to have people that love you in your life. What better way to show those people you care than by preparing the yummiest vegan dinner with this Valentine’s Day menu that’ll knock their socks off. Get out some candles, set the table all nice, get a good bottle of wine, and create a special playlist. You’ll be set for the perfect date night in that is way more thoughtful than going out and dining at a restaurant.
To help you prepare for date night, I’ve even prepared the grocery list for you. See below, print it out, save it on your phone, and get shopping. Note that I’ve included the ingredients for both the soup and the salad, so if you want to make just one, you’ll want to omit some ingredients.
Tell me what your Valentine’s Day plans are below in the comments! I want to know.