If you’re celebrating your first vegan Valentine’s day this year, you may be wondering how you can still celebrate the holiday with foods like cheesy pasta bakes and decadent chocolate desserts?
Here are a few of my favourite simple ingredient swaps. To help you enjoy a romantic, decadent dinner full of plants.
Chocolate – Chocolate in and of itself is naturally vegan and plant-based, but is often combined with dairy milk. To find vegan-friendly chocolate, look for darker chocolates, 70% or higher, and check the ingredient label. Oftentimes these dark chocolate bars are free from milk and safe to eat. As a last resort, make your own vegan chocolate with a few ingredients such as cacao powder, coconut oil, maple syrup, and flaky salt.
Butter – Use vegan butter! There are several brands available now in stores. I typically use the brands Earth Balance and Miyokos.
Cheese – If you haven’t tried making homemade cashew cheese yet, you’re missing out! It’s ultra creamy and tastes so much like dairy cheese. Your guests or dinner date won’t believe there’s no dairy involved. Recipe for that is in my baked ziti!
Eggs – If you’re new to vegan and love baking, many of the recipes you’re accustomed to making likely contain eggs. Good news is eggs are one of the easiest things to replace in plant-based recipes. Some of my favourite go-to egg replacers are chia seeds and ground flaxseeds.
Wine – Many people don’t realize that some wines aren’t vegan! But don’t worry – you won’t have to give up your glass of wine this Valentine’s day. Many wines are vegan friendly, but always check Barnivore, a free database that will quickly tell you if your favourite wine is vegan or not!
This quick and easy strawberry spinach salad features toasted almonds, sliced cucumbers and an easy balsamic vinaigrette dressing! It's an amazing fresh and delicious healthy summer salad recipe, or side salad. For best results, dress the spinach salad minutes before serving.
This vegan baked ziti recipe is wholesome, filling and protein packed. It's made with homemade cashew cheese sauce, and plant-based meat. It's easy enough for a middle-of-the-week dinner, and gourmet enough for entertaining.
If you’re treating your spouse or loved one to this special dinner at home this year, here are a few simple ways to prep ahead.
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend preparing the courses in this order: dessert, main, starter.
1-2 days in Advance
Make the Mousse au Chocolat – This recipe needs time to chill and thicken in the refrigerator before serving. Just be sure to store tightly covered to ensure it stays silky smooth. Spoon into glasses or a chocolate tart just before serving.
Prepare the Tomato Sauce – The simple tomato sauce with vegan ground for the baked ziti can be prepared 1-2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator once cooled. Then, when ready to assemble your baked ziti, lightly warm the tomato sauce in the microwave or saucepan before using.
Prepare the Balsamic Dressing – This simple dressing will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Make ahead of time and store in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature and stir well before drizzling over your salad!
The Morning of
Chop the salad ingredients – Feel free to wash, cut, and measure all of your salad ingredients the morning of. Store them in separate containers in the refrigerator. Then, just before serving, assemble the ingredients and drizzle with balsamic dressing minutes before serving.
Prepare the chocolate almond tart (optional) – If you’d like to serve your mousse au chocolat in my homemade chocolate tart, the full tart can be prepped and baked in the morning. Cool at room temperature until dessert!
Right Before Serving
Prepare the baked ziti. The cashew cheese and pasta is best made and served fresh!
Prepare the salad. Leave the dressing to the side until ready to serve!
If you’re interested in levelling up your vegan chocolate mousse with my Level-Up Chocolate Mousse Tart then you can find the recipe in The Two Spoons Cookbook on p. 277.
10 More Vegan Valentine’s Day Desserts You May Be Interested In
If you’re looking for even more ways to spoil your sweetheart this Valentine’s day (or for any romantic occasion!), you can’t go wrong with my top 10 dessert picks! From ooey, gooey vegan cinnamon rolls to matcha covered strawberries and pink cheesecake, there is something for everyone here to celebrate and feel the love!
4. How to Make Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
Follow these simple instructions at home to bake these fluffy, gooey, andseriously good, plus 100%vegan cinnamon rolls! The cinnamon buns aremade with all-purpose flour, almond milk, and active dry yeast and a few othersimple ingredients. Once baked, drizzle the cinnamon rolls with vegan icingsugar glaze, and enjoy right away!
5. Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates with Peanut Butter
This easy recipe tastes like a Snickers bar! But it's made with real-food ingredients that you can feel good about eating. It's sweet with caramel flavour from the dates, delicious peanut crunch and a smooth chocolate drizzle to top.
This chocolate chia pudding is vegan, gluten-free and paleo, using almond milk for a delicious dairy-free treat. It can be prepared well in advance of eating. Certainly, this is a great meal-prep recipe for weekday breakfasts or easy snacks.
This raw cheesecake dessert is made with an oaty-almond base, with layers of cashew cream cheese, and blueberry lavendar. It's sweet, creamy, chilled, and heavenly. Cut into slices and share with your loved ones.
This recipe is a healthier alternative to the classic chocolate donut. First made by baking instead of deep drying. And also using wholesome ingredients. They are a great guilt-free sweet treat for mid-day sugar cravings.
I hope you and your Valentine love this 3-Course menu as much as Mitch and I do. If you do make this for Valentine’s day or to celebrate an anniversary, please let me know in the comments! I truly love hearing from you, and I’m always here to answer any questions you might have.
And don’t forget to opt-in for our Romantic Vegan Dinner Menu Guide freebie, including a full shopping list so that you have everything you need to have a successful 3-course meal at home!
And of course, tag me on Instagram with your pictures using the hashtag #twospoons. Nothing makes me happier than to see your recreations.
In a small saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a low simmer over low heat. Place a small heatproof glass bowl on top of the pot, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Add the dark chocolate and coconut oil and melt the chocolate, stirring often, until completely smooth. Keep over low heat until ready to use. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals.) Optional to reserve a chunk of the chocolate and cut it into 1 to 2 tablespoons of fine shavings for garnish.
Transfer the silken tofu to a nut milk bag (or a thin kitchen towel, gathering the corners to form a small sack). Squeeze the bag with your hands to remove most of the water. (You should not have to squeeze too hard to release the water. Once it becomes difficult to squeeze, you can stop.)
Transfer the squeezed tofu to a food processor. Add the maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, and the melted chocolate. Pour in 4 tablespoons of the almond milk and blend together until smooth. Add more almond milk, a little at a time, if the consistency is too thick. It should be puddingy. It will thicken slightly as it chills.
Scoop the mousse into a medium bowl and cover with reusable wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. To serve, scoop into small bowls or glass cups and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and reserved chocolate shavings, if desired.
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OIL-FREE Omit the coconut oil when melting the chocolate. The mousse will not be quite as silky smooth, but it will still be near perfect!
DO AHEAD The chocolate mousse can be made up to 1 week in advance. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.TIPS 1. Squeezing the tofu to remove excess water will result in a thicker mousse. You might have to squeeze the tofu in two batches, especially if using a kitchen towel. 2. You can make this mousse in a high-speed blender instead of a food processor. It might require more almond milk for blending. Use the tamper while blending on medium speed for the best result. If you do not have a tamper, stop the blender from time to time and stir with a wooden spoon to help the blending process.
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