Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and there is no better time to plan a memorable Valentine’s Day banquet your loved one won’t forget. Ingredients like chocolate, strawberries, and chilies can help make a sensuous and passionate meal. Here’s a menu for creating an enjoyable and tasty vegetarian Valentine’s dinner.
• Appetizer: Bell Pepper and Feta Parcels
• Entree: Stuffed Butternut Squash with Blue Cheese
• Dessert: Strawberry Sorbet
Drink: The Berry Sweetheart (non-alcoholic)
A great Valentine’s Day meal needs to be complemented by some sweet and delicious drinks, ideally red, to match the traditional colour. This is a pretty non-alcoholic cocktail which has a stunning red colour and a refreshing taste. You will need the following ingredients:
- 3 oz red cranberry juice
- 3 oz sparkling apple juice
- 1 oz honey
- raspberry for garnish
- Fill a highball glass with some ice cubes.
- Add the honey and juices to a mixing glass.
- Finally, pour the contents into the highball glass, and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
The Appetizer: Bell Pepper and Feta Parcels
This starter has a rich red colour, and the feta has a lovely salty flavour. Tasty and a great start to your Valentine’s meal.
- 1/2 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
- 4 baby courgettes (zucchini), halved and sliced
- 16 small cherry tomatoes
- 16 small black olives
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- 2 tbsp shredded basil
- Olive oil
- 4 red bell peppers, halved, seeds removed
- Mix the onion, courgettes, cherry tomatoes and black olives. Crumble over the feta and add the basil. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
- Divide the mixture between the bell pepper halves and wrap each in aluminum foil. Arrange on a baking pan and cook in an oven preheated to 350F for 30 mins.
The Entree: Stuffed Butternut Squash with Blue Cheese
This is a heart-warming dish with some great flavours. It’ll make anyone melt.
- 1 large butternut squash or 2 small ones
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Sunflower or olive oil
- 1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and very coarsely chopped
- 7 oz blue cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Clean the squash and cut in half lengthways. Scoop out any seeds or soft fibres. Put inside a roasting dish, add the chopped garlic inside each cavity, then brush with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in an oven preheated to 375 F and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the flesh feels very tender when pierced with a knife.
- Scoop all the flesh into a bowl, leaving a half an inch layer of flesh, so the squash retains its shape. Mash the flesh. Crumble some of the blue cheese into the soft squash and add a few of the walnuts, along with some more salt and pepper.
- Spoon the mixture back into the empty halves and sprinkle the remaining cheese and walnuts, then return the squash to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling. Serve with a crisp salad and some breadsticks.
The Desert: Strawberry Sorbet (for 2)
No Valentine’s dinner would be complete without something sweet and tasty. Here’s a delicious sorbet that even vegans can enjoy.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp corn starch
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups pureed strawberries
- Sliced strawberries for garnish
- Make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar and cornstarch in a pan of slowly simmering water, then boil until it turns into a thick syrup. This should take about ten minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. When the syrup is completely cooled, add the pureed fruit and mix well. Place the mixture in a plastic container and freeze, uncovered, until it is solid.
- Cut the sorbet into chunks, then process in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Put the sorbet back into the freezer and freeze for another 4 hours.
Liz Goldman is a mom of two with plenty of experience feeding a family. Liz is also a freelance writer and has contributed this post on behalf of Tasty Bingo – home to tasty online bingo games and delicious recipes.
[Image Credit: Strawberry Sorbet photo via Shutterstock]