I love planning special holiday meals, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day there are not a whole lot of traditional foods. There’s chocolate of course, but chocolate doesn’t make a main course (I know what you’re thinking, but it doesn’t!). You might think of creating a fancy French feast, but since my family is vegan, all those creamy buttery sauces don’t work for us. Cooking within a vegan diet is a great way to get creative, but also to make a healthier Valentine’s meal. Here are some ideas for turning your meal into a Valentine on plate.
Heart-shaped tofu cutlets. Cut a drained block of tofu into 1/4-inch-thick slices and use a cookie cutter to punch out heart-shaped pieces (or make a heart template out of parchment paper and cut shapes out with a knife). Cook the tofu hearts using your favorite seared, baked, broiled, or sauced tofu recipe. This recipe for Oven Roasted Tofu is one of my favorites. Just don’t stir-fry or you’ll end up with broken hearts! When you cut out your shapes, you can save the remains for an easy breakfast the next morning: Simple Tofu Scramble.
For a tasty side, dish whip up a batch of these Mushroom, Radish and Hearts of Palm Skewers. In addition to adding to the heart theme, the radish brings a nice pop of Valentine red to the plate.
Make a quick and easy salad by tossing your favorite greens with a jar of drained marinated artichoke hearts, some cherry tomatoes and your favorite vinaigrette.
Top your salad with heart-shaped croutons. Use a small heart cookie cutter to cut shapes out of bread — any kind you like —and then toast or brown them in a skillet. Or, you could even cut heart shapes out of apple or jicama.
Once you hit dessert it’s finally time for the chocolate! Why not coat some cashews (Latin name: AanaCARDIUM Occidentale, another nod to the heart theme) or maybe sections of blood orange with chocolate? Also have your kids’ favorite fruits on hand for dipping.
To pair with it all? Fill champagne flutes with some sparkling Italian soda — pink grapefruit or blood orange would be festive colors. Kids will get a kick out of drinking from the fancy glasses.
What Valentine’s food traditions do you have in your family?