Going out to eat for Valentine’s Day is definitely the hip thing to do, but it can also be a huge hassle. Restaurants are packed, it can be hard to get a decent reservation at good places, and it’s pricy!
If your significant other is up to it, it might be fun to do a more low key night at home! Pick a good recipe or two and pop open a bottle of wine and spend time with each other rather than just being a table in the crowd.
Especially since Valentine’s Day happens to fall on a Saturday this year, it’s a great excuse to bust out the pots and pans and make something great!
A few years ago, Betsy and I did one of our favorite date nights ever where we just made a bunch of small plates and snacked and chatted. It was awesome and pretty easy.
To help out with the date night recipes, I broke out 25 of my favorite date night recipes from years of cooking. I split them up into easy categories so hopefully you can find something good to cook and cancel that reservation!
A good appetizer can go a long way to making a good meal! Here are a few of my favorites for sharing.
Oysters and Mignonette Sauce – About as classy as it gets! If you can find good oysters this is about as easy as an appetizer gets and you can practice your shucking skills!
Chorizo Queso for Two – A rich appetizer that would go well if you are making a lighter main course. If you’re making a few small plates, this could honestly be the centerpiece.
Roasted Sprout Salad – A really healthy and delicious salad that can be made in advance. It’d be a great side dish to almost any date night meal.
I’m a big fan of making breakfast for dinner, but also who says date night hast to be a night?! You could make a great brunch together and then go out to dinner later!
Duff’s Egg Benedicts – This is a great, classic benedict and if you’ve never made them before tackle it together! Once person could focus on the eggs and sauce and one person could do the other pieces! Or you could just handle it all yourself like a boss.
Sausage and Egg Biscuits – Sounds basic, I know, but these are made from scratch. Homemade biscuits and spicy sausage patties? Talk about falling in love…
Smoked Salmon Scramble – Simple scrambled eggs done up right with smoked salmon. Serve these with some good toast and mimosas and you’re all set.
Cloud Cakes – If you’re going to go the pancake route, these are pretty tough to beat. A little more involved than your standard, but so light and fluffy and worth it for a special occasion.
Pizza is one of my favorite date night meals. Making the dough from scratch is always impressive and it’s fun to make! Delicious too, obviously.
Mashed Potato Pizza – I think if Betsy had her wish I would only make this pizza. It’s her absolute favorite and if I ever need some husband brownie points, I pull out this recipe.
White Pizza – Rich, for sure, but very different from the classic red sauce. A nice twist on classic pizza and with just enough garlic to ward off other suitors.
All of these have a nice little twist on them from traditional recipes. I make these all the time but with a nice side salad, they would be a great date night meal, especially for somebody newish to cooking.
Mushroom Ragu – You’ll be blown away that there isn’t any meat in this dish. Super savory and simple to toss together.
Eggplant Orzo Bake – A nice twist on a classic baked pasta dish, this orzo and eggplant dish is laced with just enough cheese to hold it together. Has really interesting flavors and the orzo is a nice change from a heavier baked pasta.
Caprese Mac and Cheese – If you want to go decadent, look no further. Fresh mozzarella and oven-roasted tomatoes with a sweet balsamic sauce. This mac and cheese might cause a proposal to happen.
Noodle bowls and stir-fries are always good meals, but these recipes have a little upgrade to them to make them perfect for a date night recipe.
Baked Tofu Bibimbap – I dream of this tofu and I’m not even a vegetarian. In my opinion it’s the best and easiest way to make the stuff very good. Toss it in a rice bowl with toppings galore.
Cold Marinated Sirloin Bowl – This is about as light as a sirloin steak can get. I love the trick of cooking it and then marinating it. It’s an impressive twist. You can tell your date you came up with it. White lie, right?
Hot Pepper Noodles – If your date is a spice freak, then this is the dish for you. You can load it up with as many chiles as you want and have a nice noodle stir-fry ready in just a few minutes. Practice your wok skills!
So you want to eat well and cook together, but maybe your still hanging onto those resolutions (or just want to make the brownies later). These dishes are really flavorful, but fairly light.
Mushroom Soba Bowls – A nice rich broth and sauteed mushrooms. Great for the vegetarian date or you can find gluten-free noodles also if that’s a date night restriction for you!
Artichoke Piccata – The original chicken piccata involves frying chicken and making a really rich sauce. This version is much lighter by comparison but still filling.
Lentils and Salmon – This meal is one of my favorite ways to eat salmon.
If you’re feeling ambitious and want to try something new, these dishes are slightly more complex and it’ll definitely help to have another set of willing hands in the kitchen. And a full bottle of vino.
Sweet Potato Pierogi – Stuffed little dumplings filled with sweet potatoes. These are very delicious, but a bit of a pain to make for obvious reasons.
Sausage and Chard Calzones – A serious project, especially if you make the dough the same day. Worth every damn second though!
What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t include a few sweets for date night?
Banana Pudding Cups – These are a classy twist on a comfort food favorite. If you’re date doesn’t love them, then I recommend finding a different date.
Chocolate Orange Cupcakes – What’s more sexy than a perfectly frosted cupcake? These are chocolate, obviously, but laced with orange as well for a nice surprise.
Marvelous Fudge Brownies – These are so decadent and wonderful. Gooey and best if they are slightly undercooked in my opinion. Guaranteed date night success.
If you have a favorite date night recipe, leave a comment!