Valentine’s Day is a great time to host a themed dinner party for beloved friends. For your table, gather festive items that feature red-hued or romantically inspired accents that you may already have on hand, like solid or floral red-colored napkins, placemats, stemware and tableware. With romantic décor and colorful cuisine that culminates in a rich chocolate dessert, this menu is a great way to celebrate the love-liest holiday.
Quick Sweet Potato Soup
Stuffed Red Pepper Boats
Leeks with Raisins
Raspberry Fudge Minis
Makes 3 to 4 servings
Quick and jazzylicious! This tummy-warming potage makes a lovely first course for a Valentine’s meal.
- 2 very large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 3 celery stalks, with leaves, sliced
- 4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
- 6 cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Put the sweet potato, celery, cabbage and vegetable broth in a medium-sized soup pot. Add more broth if needed to cover the vegetables. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, decrease the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes. Add the parsley and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the vegetables are soft. Serve hot.
Amount per serving, based on 4 servings: 86 Calories; 0g Fat; 0g Saturated fat; 3g Protein; 1156mg Sodium; 19g Total Carbohydrate; 9g Sugars; 5g Fiber
Makes 4 servings
Fun and festive pepper halves make lovely edible bowls for a savory stuffing of rice, prepared marinara, zingy capers, and robust cremini mushrooms. The red peppers’ bright color gives it real pizzazz making it a great main dish option for a Valentine’s Day soirée!
- 1¼ cups short- or long-grain brown rice, rinsed
- 2¾ cups filtered or spring water
- ½ vegan bouillon cube, crumbled
- 1½ cups prepared marinara sauce, plus more as needed
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced
- 2 heaping tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
- 1½ tablespoons wheat germ, plus more as needed (see note)
- 2 large sweet red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
Put the rice, water and crumbled bouillon cube in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 50 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff the rice with a fork (see note). Cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread 3⁄4 cup marinara sauce in an even layer in the bottom of a casserole dish that is large enough to snugly accommodate the four pepper halves. Put the cooked brown rice, mushrooms, capers, 3⁄4 cup marinara sauce and wheat germ in a large bowl. Stir to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add more marinara, 1⁄4 cup at a time until the stuffing is moist, but not soupy.
Mound one-quarter of the rice mixture into each pepper half. Put the peppers in the prepared casserole dish. Tent the peppers with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the top of the stuffing is slightly golden. Let the peppers rest for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.
Whole-grain, fresh bread crumbs, a gluten-free variety of bread crumbs or oat bran may be used in place of the wheat germ.
Rice may be prepared up to 48 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator until use. If using cold rice, bake the peppers for 10 minutes longer than the recipe calls for.
Amount per serving, based on 4 servings: 182 Calories; 4g Fat; 1g Saturated fat; 7g Protein; 596mg Sodium; 30g Total Carbohydrate; 10g Sugars; 3g Fiber
Makes 2 large servings, or 4 small side servings
The delicate flavor of leeks is complemented by the inviting taste of raisins. You may use any variety of raisins that you prefer but I like the dark raisins best.
- 4 medium/large leeks, white and light green parts, rinsed thoroughly and thinly sliced
- ½ cup raisins
- ¼ cup vegetable broth, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Put the leeks, raisins, vegetable broth and olive oil (optional) in a medium-sized skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more broth as needed, if the leeks become dry. Cook until the leeks are soft and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.
Amount per serving, based on 2 servings (without optional olive oil): 209 Calories; 0g Fat; 0g Saturated fat; 3g Protein; 107mg Sodium; 55g Total Carbohydrate; 28g Sugars; 5g Fiber
Watch Laura Theodore make this recipe at vegan-ease.com
Makes 8 to 10 servings
These decadent tasting, chocolaty treats make the perfect finish to a Valentine’s meal. Rich, dark chocolate, combined with raspberry preserves create a delectable mini-dessert that fills the bill.
- 2 heaping tablespoons raspberry preserves
- 1 bar (3.5 ounces) vegan dark chocolate, finely chopped (snack bar; not unsweetened baking chocolate)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
- 2 teaspoons raw unsweetened shredded dried coconut (optional)
Line a mini muffin pan with 8 to 10 paper liners. Drain off any excess liquid from the raspberry preserves. Put the raspberry preserves in a large bowl.
Melt the vegan chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Pour the melted chocolate into the raspberry preserves and stir until thoroughly combined. Fold in the raisins.
Immediately mound the mixture into the mini-muffin cups, dividing it evenly, using a small cookie scoop.
Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or until firm. Dust with cocoa powder and sprinkle with coconut, as desired. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, minis will keep up to 3 days.
Recipes from Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet © Laura Theodore 2015, Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC. Reprinted by permission. More information at www.vegan-ease.com and www.jazzyvegetarian.com