Valentine's Day

A Fast and Fancy Vegetarian Valentine’s Day Menu for Two

updated Jan 28, 2021
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Classic steak dinners are far from the only show in town when it comes to cooking an impressive Valentine’s Day dinner at home. In fact, I’ve pulled together a meat-free menu for two I’m really excited about and I’m certain my husband will adore. The name of the game is fast and fancy, with recipes that feel special yet don’t require too much time or effort. There will be plenty of veggies and a decadent chocolate dessert. What else could you want? Oh, we’ve got an easy, day-of timeline to go along with it, too.

Kitchn’s Guide for a Fast and Fancy Vegetarian Valentine’s Day Menu for Two

This veggie-heavy Valentine’s Day menu is a breeze to pull together without any fuss and it’s filled with plenty of special touches to give your dinner some fancy flair. It’s studded with make-ahead moments so you can get a head start, and trimmed down for two so you’re not left with tons of leftovers.

To Drink: Clover Club Cocktail

This pale-pink beauty was made for a special occasion like Valentine’s Day. A mix of raspberry and lemon lend this gin-based cocktail a subtly sweet tang, while an egg white creates a frothy blanket over top. Get a head start by making the raspberry syrup in advance.

Get the recipe: Clover Club Cocktail

(Image credit: Michael Wiltbank)

To Snack On: Flaky Garlic Bread Pinwheels

These roll-ups are really just garlic bread in pinwheel form, and that’s exactly what makes them perfect. The recipe calls for fresh parsley, but you could certainly swap in basil which is also used in the gnocchi. After prepping the puff pastry I recommend baking just the amount you’ll eat and freezing the rest — your future self will thank you.

Get the recipe: Flaky Garlic Bread Pinwheels

Credit: Leela Cyd

The Main Dish: Herbed Gnocchi and Mushrooms

With mushrooms and pillowy gnocchi, this pasta for two is just the right balance of hearty and comforting, while a mess of fresh herbs, lemon, and white wine sauce keep it light and bright.

Get the recipe: Herbed Gnocchi and Mushrooms

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen/Kitchn

On the Side: Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

Caesar salad is a classic, and this version keeps things interesting by swapping the romaine the Brussels sprouts. Go ahead and start with a bag of pre-shredded Brussels sprouts to make the salad faster and easier to pull together. What’s even better is the Caesar dressing is free of anchovies, so it’s naturally vegetarian.

Get the recipe: Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

For Dessert: Easy Chocolate Pudding Cakes

When you plunge your spoon through the delicate, crackly crust of the ramekin, you’re met with a warm, velvety pudding at the center. While the recipe makes four servings, it’s quite easy to scale it down for two.

Get the recipe: The Easiest Chocolate Pudding Cakes

Your Vegetarian Valentine’s Dinner Timeline

Since this celebratory dinner is intended to be totally fuss-free, you won’t need to do much planning and prepping to get it all together. The whole menu comes together in just a few hours.

In the Afternoon

  • Make the croutons and dressing for the salad.
  • Prepare the pudding cakes but do not bake them. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator.

2 Hours Before Dinner

  • Make the pinwheels. Bake off a handful to enjoy pre-dinner and freeze the rest to bake another day.
  • While the pinwheels bake, make the cocktails. Sit down and enjoy both for a bit.

30 Minutes Before You’d Like to Eat

  • Toss the salad and prepare the gnocchi.

After Dinner

  • Preheat the oven while you clean up the dishes, then bake off your pudding cakes.