Valentine's Day

Forget Steak: These Mediterranean Dinners Are the Most Romantic Thing to Make for Valentine’s Day

updated Mar 4, 2020
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Credit: Leela Cyd

When it comes to Valentine’s Day dinner, steak is a classic choice. And if you want to make steak, I support you! It is a great choice! But personally, I’m in more of a Mediterranean state of mind. In my opinion, the only thing more romantic than jetting away to the Mediterranean for Valentine’s Day is cooking a Mediterranean-inspired meal at home with (or for) your special someone. To me, the bright, veggie-forward food, paired with a zippy white wine, a candle or two, and a little Mediterranean music (and don’t forget the dessert) is exactly what I want to eat.

Here are seven romantic Mediterranean-inspired meals if you, like me, are not in the mood for steak.

1. Herbed Gnocchi and Mushrooms

A bag of frozen gnocchi is more than just a weeknight convenience: Here it’s transformed into a fast-and-fancy vegetarian main that’s perfect for celebrations. The key to making this feel special is in the ingredients. Splurge on a nice block of Parmigiano-Reggiano and use your vegetable peeler to get wide shavings. Round it out with fresh mushrooms.

Get the recipe: Herbed Gnocchi and Mushrooms

Credit: Lauren Volo

2. Skillet Cod with Lemon and Capers

This is a simple but elegant recipe, and it’s not difficult to halve the amounts to serve just two. Serve with a generous amount of capers and a side of roasted broccoli.

Get the recipe: Skillet Cod with Lemon and Capers

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto feels special no matter the occasion, and this butternut squash and sage-filled version is no exception. Fresh sage and a good white wine make all the difference here. One note: This recipe serves six, so you may want to halve it for generous portions. Though you can also use the leftovers to make rich, extra cheesy risotto balls, called arancini the next day. And they’re pretty romantic in their own right.

Get the recipe: Butternut Squash Risotto

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

4. Broiled Salmon with Lemon, Mustard, and Herbs

This quick broiled salmon couldn’t be easier and yet the bright mustardy sauce turns it into something you’d find on the menu of any upscale restaurant. Serve it with crispy fingerling potatoes and a light side salad.

Get the recipe: Broiled Salmon with Lemon, Mustard, and Herbs

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

5. Caramelized Mushroom Flatbread Pizza

Maybe it’s just us, but call pizza a flatbread and it suddenly there’s something more romantic about it (not that pizza isn’t romantic). If you want to get adventurous while cooking together, consider making your own dough.

Get the recipe: Caramelized Mushroom Flatbread Pizza

Credit: Lauren Volo

6. Roasted Lemon Oregano Shrimp

Think of this recipe as a Greek twist on shrimp scampi. Serve the juicy shrimp over pasta, couscous, mashed potatoes, or rice.

Get the recipe: Roasted Lemon Oregano Shrimp

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Parmesan Chicken and Kale Sauté

A generous splash of white wine, a bit of lemon juice, and plenty of grated Parmesan turn this chicken dinner into something much less than ordinary.

Get the recipe: Parmesan Chicken and Kale Sauté