Going out to dinner on February 14 usually involves struggling to get a reservation at your favorite spot and, oftentimes, getting stuck choosing from a prix fixe menu and trying to hear your S.O. over the noise of dozens of conversations. Now, we’re not saying that a romantic night out at a restaurant isn’t possible on this special day, just that it may be worth considering Valentine’s Day dinner ideas to cook—and enjoy—at home with your partner. But what to make? You could opt for a simple one-skillet meal like lemon Parmesan chicken or dish up something rich like a creamy tomato curry lobster pasta.
You could also go for a healthier take on comfort food, which is still oh so satisfying. We happen to like Davida from The Healthy Maven’s Valentine’s Day dinner idea: zoodle macaroni and cheese. “If adulting is eating macaroni and cheese on Valentine’s Day, I’m so in,” the blogger tells us. This is the day to eat something that’s special to you as a couple. And what about if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Below, find the seven Valentine’s Day dinner ideas that are seriously making us consider a night in this February 14.
It’s time to take your pick.
Creamy Tomato and Curry Butter Lobster Pasta
Lobster tail gets fancied up when served over pasta with a curried tomato sauce (hello, this is easy but impressive). We like the idea of using fusilli because the curly noodles soak up the flavorful sauce. You’ll earn bonus points if you serve this dish with some crusty bread for dipping.
One-Skillet Lemon Parmesan Chicken
We haven’t forgotten that V-Day falls on a weekday this year, meaning a prep-heavy dinner just may not be possible. Not to worry, though, because this delicious lemon Parmesan chicken meal with green beans cooks up in 30 minutes from start to finish and you only need one pan which makes for easy cleanup—and more time for dessert.
Pan-Seared Steak With Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce
If you’re anything like me, you want to celebrate a special occasion with a steak if you don’t eat it often. This meal, in particular, is special because of the homemade balsamic herb cream sauce, which is made from some of the drippings, chicken broth, heavy cream, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon. Hold the béarnaise—this topping is even better.
Perfect Baked Salmon With Lentils and Lemon Herb Sauce
This is another one-pan wonder with salmon, a medley of lentils, quinoa, and veggies all cooked at once (so weeknight-friendly). Now, it’s best to go with a vegetable that cooks up in the same amount of time as the protein—brussels sprouts and cauliflower are two hearty choices. Serve with a little purple sauerkraut on the side for a bit of bite.
Chinese Eggplant With Garlic Sauce
If you know you’ve got a busy day on the 14th, why not prep your dinner ahead of time? This Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce can be made the night before and simply reheated for a cozy dinner by candlelight. Also worth a mention is that this is not your everyday stir-fry: The eggplant is coated in garlic, ginger, soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and toasted sesame oil, all ingredients traditional to Szechuan cuisine.
Spiralized Zucchini Mac and Cheese
“Believe it or not, this dinner is gluten-free and vegan but doesn’t skimp on flavor one bit,” Davida tells us of her better-for-you mac ’n’ cheese. The recipe itself comes from The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing, along with its genius cashew and Brazil nut “cheese” sauce and savory oat crumb crust. Worth noting when it comes to your beverage of choice, “I’ve seen both red and white wines paired with macaroni and cheese, so take your pick,” Davida tell us.
Grilled Eggplant, Roasted Tomatoes, and Scallion Miso Butter
Okay, you may think we’re on an eggplant kick, but it’s one of the most filling non-meat protein options (and it’s quite tasty, too). This Valentine’s Day dinner idea from What’s Cooking Good Looking calls for a combo of thinly sliced grilled eggplant and roasted cherry tomatoes bathed in a homemade miso butter (oh, the umami). Serve atop your favorite millet or quinoa to round out the textures and flavors.