Feb 14, 2017

21 Valentine’s Day Recipes

Celebrate February 14th with a special night at home. I've rounded up some of my favorite meals to make for a romantic dinner in paired with a bottle of wine.
Featured Recipe Image

Instead of going out to an overbooked restaurant and sitting jammed at communal tables overhearing other people’s conversations and paying for overpriced holiday tasting menus, try staying at home with your loved one and making dinner together. I may be being a bit dramatic, but I find it much more romantic to pick out a menu of your favorite foods and choose to cook together in the kitchen over a bottle of wine or champagne. While going out for a special occasion is nice, I would rather do it on a night when everyone else isn’t doing the exact same thing. Sometimes just taking a little time to spend together is all you need.

I’m sharing a roundup of some of my favorite romantic dishes as well as tips for how to put together a Valentine’s themed cheese board like the one shown here. From meat to seafood mains, creamy pastas and tender chicken dishes I’ve got you covered. For full Valentine’s menus already planned out for you, check out my post here.

21 Valentine’s Day Recipes

valentine's day cheese and charcuterie board

Valentine’s Day Entrée Recipes

For some Valentine’s Day dinner recipe inspiration, check out this selection of entrées:


Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Celery Root Purée

The tender meat falls off the bone and can be eaten with just a fork, no need for cutting. Classic red wine braised short ribs are an elegant pairing over the light yet creamy celery root purée pictured here or mashed potatoes.

red wine braised short ribs with carrots and celery root purée
butter basted steak au poivre with french fries and side salad
Butter Based Steak Au Poivre

My spin on the classic French dish consists of steak coated in freshly cracked pepper (for the most flavor). It’s pan seared in a cast iron pan and basted in butter to create a flavorful golden-brown crust on the outside of the steak. Pair with fries and a simple side salad.

Mini Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington is a luxurious entrée of seared beef with in sautéed mushroom duxelle, layered with prosciutto and wrapped in golden brown puff pastry. It’s for special occasions but it is typically a large format recipe portioned as a large roast for a dinner party. WIth this recipe, I make this more manageable for individual serving perfect for a romantic and impressive Valentine’s day made with filet mignon.

individual portions of beef wellington cut in half with leafy green salad


shrimp scampi risotto with white wine glass
Shrimp Scampi Risotto

Sautéed shrimp in a white wine and garlic scampi sauce served over creamy Parmesan risotto. This is a tried and true recipe I turn to all the time for romantic dinners in.

Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice

This recipe is inspired by the crispy rice and spicy tuna at Nobu. Packed pieces of sushi rice are fried and topped with a spicy ground tuna mixture topped with eel sauce, avocado and jalapeño slices. If you want to make a full sushi-inspired menu for Valentine’s day check out my menu and recipes here.

spicy tuna crispy rice served on butter lettuce cups with avocado, jalapeño slices and eel sauce
pan seared white fish in sauté pan with capers and herbs
Pan Seared White Fish

Searing the fish fillets in a pan cooks the thin fillets quickly without a lingering fishy smell most home cooks fear. I pair the fish with a simple lemon butter sauce made in the pan. Serve with your favorite vegetables.

Creamy Lobster Pasta

Valentine’s Day is a fun time to opt for luxurious ingredients and spoil yourselves with dinner in. The sauce for the pasta is similar to lobster bisque. It’s a creamy smooth sauce flavored with seafood stock and aromatics with chunks of lobster meat served over bucatini (or your other favorite pasta shape).

creamy lobster pasta garnished with tarragon
crispy salmon with soy tamarind sauce over spinach and rice
Crispy Salmon with Soy Tamarind Sauce

Filets of salmon are coated in cornstarch and fried in a pan until crispy all over. I serve it with a simple soy tamarind sauce alongside sautéed spinach and rice.

Salmon with Beurre Blanc Sauce Over Sautéed Fennel

The sautéed fennel lightly caramelizes and complements the acidic beurre blanc and fatty, crispy salmon. To make the sauce, white wine is reduced, then emulsified with butter to form a rich, and classically French sauce. 

salmon with beurre blanc sauce over sautéed fennel
lobster pot pie in individual serving dish with lobster claw meat
Lobster Pot Pie

The filling of this pot pie is seasoned with a hint of cayenne and chopped fresh tarragon, which compliments and enhances the flavor of the lobster.


Coq Au Vin Blanc

Crispy seared chicken thighs are paired with a creamy white wine sauce flavored with bits of bacon, mushrooms and onions. Serve with plenty of extra bread for dipping in the rich sauce!

coq au vin blanc with bone in skin on chicken thghs
easy chicken piccata with capers and herbs
Easy Chicken Piccata

With a rich lemon butter caper pan sauce this chicken dish feels elegant even though it’s made with ease! 

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Classic creamy vodka sauce is easily made at home with a few pantry staples. I pair it with grilled or pan seared chicken breasts for added protein.

penne alla vodka with chicken

Vegetarian Options

mixed mushroom risotto with serving spoon
Mixed Mushroom Risotto

Risotto makes a great alternative to pasta for someone on a gluten-free diet. A creamy consistency is coaxed out of the grains of rice creating a delicious base paired with sautéed mushrooms. I use a mixture of crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms though a combination of wild mushrooms can be substituted. 

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe is basically adult mac and cheese! The good news is it’s a great easy and romantic meal to make that won’t break the bank.

cacio e pepe spaghetti
carbone spicy rigatoni
Spicy Rigatoni

Can’t get a reservation at Carbone? Make my take on their famed spicy rigatoni at home. The key to this dish is the onion soubise – onions simmered over a long period of time with water and butter with spice added from Calabrian chilies.

Pan-Fried Ricotta Gnocchi

Pillowy ricotta gnocchi comes together with a few ingredients. They’re rolled into ropes and cut then pan-fried. Pair with homemade pesto like I do or with another favorite pasta sauce.

pan-fried ricotta gnocchi in pesto sauce
heart shaped brie on Valentine's Day cheeseboard

Valentine’s Day Dessert Ideas

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite chocolatey, custardy and festive desserts to make for Valentine’s day:

raspberry cream cheese brownies stacked
Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

Brownies topped with a swirl of cream cheese and raspberries makes for a festive Valentine’s day dessert.

Tuxedo Creme Brûlée

The crème brûlée has a layer of chocolate ganache on the bottom and then a layer of vanilla custard followed by caramelized sugar. It can be made ahead of time and topped with the sugar and torched just before serving.

tuxedo creme brulee with chocolate custard and caramelized sugar topping
sliced strawberries and cream in a bowl
Strawberries and Cream

Forget chocolate dipped strawberries, try this easy dessert made with sliced strawberries topped with a lightly whipped (& slightly boozy!) whipped cream with a bit of sugar.

Strawberries and Cream Cheese Cookies

These cream cheese-based cookies are laced with crushed up freeze-dried strawberries for a sweet and creamy festive cookie. 

strawberries and cream cheese cookies
valentine's day cheese and charcuterie board side view

How to Make a Valentine’s Cheese Board

Where to Source Cheeseboard Ingredients

While most of the cheese is a selection from Whole Foods I picked up a paté from Ester’s Wine Bar in Santa Monica. It’s called a “foie blonde” a chicken liver paté in a jar topped with honey, pistachio and crabapple mostarda and it pairs perfectly with a glass of wine and a side of grilled bread. I also made a stop at Belcampo to pick up some nduja, a spicy pork salami cured in a hard salami casing but maintaining a soft texture on the inside.

Cheese Selection

The cheeses I selected for this spread are Pecorino Romano, heart shape brie (found at Whole Foods), Parmesan, chèvre and blue cheese.

The cheeses are served alongside prosciutto formed into little roses, calabrese salami, capocollo, almonds, cornichons, whole grain mustard, grapes and dried dates. If you aren’t sure what charcuterie to buy I love the Trader Joe’s Italian and Spanish sampler packs for an easy and inexpensive selection.

For additional tips for putting together a cheese and charcuterie board check out my post here.

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