Valentine’s Day Is the True Food Super Bowl

Treat yourself this Valentine's Day to a delicious, homecooked four-course meal.
Valentine's Day food
Whip up this hunger-satisfying, four-course feast. | Thomas Adams for LIVEKINDLY
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Nothing hits the soul quite like a home-cooked meal. The warmth, the savory—or sweet—taste… it’s like self-care in edible form. But, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, nothing says treat yo’ self quite like a delicious plate of food. We’re talking about a full-blown, four-course meal. I.e. An appetizer of vegan shrimp slathered in a tasty garlic butter sauce. A pasta course of sweet potato rosemary gnocchi served with chopped pistachios and dairy-free parmesan cheese. (Is your tummy grumbling yet?) A main course of smothered “pork chops” with creamy cauliflower mash. (Pops open a bottle of wine…) And the climax of the meal: dessert in the form of decadent hazelnut brownies.

Make it an all-out, indulgent cooking night. Invite your friends. Invite your lover(s). Or dine on this hunger-satisfying, four-course feast with a party of one. It’ll be a meal to remember.

Serve this vegan shrimp dish with rice and a dairy-free dipping sauce. | Ivy Miller for LIVEKINDLY

Vegan Shrimp in Garlic Butter Sauce

Ah, appetizers. Talk about our one true love. This craveable, vegan shrimp dish is soft and fluffy on the inside with a crispy, deliciously-seasoned skin made of rice paper sheets. Serve this vegan shrimp dish with rice and a dairy-free dipping sauce. Or, simply snack on them with a little lemon juice drizzled on top.

Vegan Shrimp in Garlic Butter Sauce

By Ivy Miller

45 mins to prep
30 mins to cook
Vegan

Ingredients

For the shrimp:

  • ½ teaspoon konjac flour
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • ½ cup soy flour
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup water

For the garlic butter sauce:

  • ⅓ cup plant-based butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper powder

For the marinade:

  • 6 tablespoons kimchi juice 
  • 3 tablespoons chili oil

Additional ingredients:

  • 2 nori sheets
  • 1 dried kelp, hand-sized
  • 15 rice paper sheets
  • fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Lemon quarters 

Preparation

    For the shrimp:

    • 1
      In a large bowl, add all ingredients for the shrimp, except for water and soy sauce.
    • 2
      Combine well. In a small bowl, mix together water and soy sauce. Then add them to the dry ingredients.
    • 3
      Immediately start kneading with your hands and form a disk. Transfer it to a flat surface and roll it out, about 1 inch thick.
    • 4
      Take a large frying pan and add water to it. Add 1 inch depth of water.
    • 5
      Place the nori sheets and the dried kelp inside, setting to medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
    • 6
      Transfer the dough into the boiling water. Let it cook for 30 minutes, covered.
    • 7
      When the doubt has cooked, take it out of the water (with two spatulas), placing it onto a cooling rack and letting it cool down until it is safe to touch. Discard the water and kelp.
    • 8
      Place the dough on a cutting board and slice it into one-inch thick slices. Cut off the 4 edges to round the “shrimp” up and also cut the ends into thinner shrimp-looking ends, to make the dough look like an actual shrimp.
    • 9
      Take a deep plate and add lukewarm water to it, enough to soak your rice paper sheets in. Take one rice paper sheet at a time and soak it in the water until it is completely soft.
    • 10
      Now take the rice paper sheet out and cut it in half, using one-half for one shrimp.
    • 11
      Take one shrimp and roll the rice paper sheet around it.
    • 12
      Curl each shrimp into a “U” and poke a skewer through both ends to hold hte “U” shape. Add two shrimp to each skewer.

    For the marinade:

    • 1
      Mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Take a brush and brush both sides of all the shrimp evenly.

    For the garlic butter sauce:

    • 1
      In a large frying pan, add all the ingredients for the garlic butter sauce, except for the finely diced garlic. Set to medium-high heat.
    • 2
      When the oil is hot, add the shrimp skewers to it.
    • 3
      Let them fry on both sides (five minutes on both sides) until they are lightly golden.
    • 4
      Set the temperature to low medium heat and add the finely diced garlic to the butter, taking care to prevent it from burning. Fry the shrimp in the garlic butter for five to ten minutes, turning so both sides are evenly cooked and the garlic is tender.
    • 5
      Garnish each skewer with finely chopped parsley. Drizzle lemon juice over the shrimp. Serve hot. Cool leftovers and store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pan or in your microwave.

Equipment Needed

Skewers, large frying pan, and rolling pin.

Valentine's Day food
Top these sweet potatoes fried with fresh rosemary stems with chopped pistachios. | Ivy Miller for LIVEKINDLY

Sweet Potato Rosemary Gnocchi

Let’s be real… the best part of the meal is the pasta course. Oh, and dessert. More on that in a bit. If you’re desiring new ways to whip up a batch of sweet potatoes, look no further than this sweet potato rosemary gnocchi. It’s equal parts delicious and colorful. Featuring sweet potatoes fried with fresh rosemary stems and served with chopped pistachios and vegan parmesan cheese, it’s the perfect lunch for two. Or one, because sharing is optional.

Sweet Potato Rosemary Gnocchi

By Ivy Miller

30 mins to prep
45 mins to cook
Vegan

Ingredients

For the gnocchi dough:

  • 1 tablespoon aquafaba
  • 20 ounces sweet potato (1 large sweet potato), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 20 ounces floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups potato flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder

For the rosemary butter sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons plant-based butter, more if needed
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 6 fresh rosemary stems, 2 inches long each, more for garnishing
  • 3 tablespoons pistachio, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons vegan parmesan (recipe on goguacyourself.com)
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation

    For the gnocchi dough:

    • 1
      Take a large pot and add water to it. Add the potato chunks and set to high heat.
    • 2
      When the water starts to boil, set the heat to medium.
    • 3
      Let the potatoes cook (with closed lid) until soft, for about 15 minutes.
    • 4
      When the potatoes are soft, drain them. Discard the water. Put the potatoes back into the empty pot and mash them with a potato masher. Let them cool until they are safe to touch.
    • 5
      When the mashed potatoes have cooled, add the rest of the ingredients for the gnocchi. Transfer to a smooth, lightly-floured surface like a large cutting board or your counter, and use your hands to knead the dough.
    • 6
      Sprinkle some flour onto your surface. Take a handful of dough and roll it until you end up with a 1 1/2 inch thick log.
    • 7
      Take a knife and cut it into half-inch thick slices.
    • 8
      Lay them on the side, take a fork and lightly press down with the tines to create a pattern of four short lines in the gnocchi.

    For the rosemary butter sauce:

    • 1
      Take a large frying pan and add about 2 tablespoons of plant-based butter. Set to medium heat.
    • 2
      When the butter is hot, add the gnocchi to it. Fry on both sides (each side about 5 to 7 minutes) until golden brown.
    • 3
      When done, put them onto a plate lined with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.
    • 4
      When all the gnocchi are fried, take the same pan and add 2 tablespoons of plant-based butter to it. When the butter has melted, add the onion, garlic and rosemary stems. Sautée on low medium heat until soft.
    • 5
      Add the gnocchi to the pan and cook on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Stir from time to time. Garnish with chopped pistachios, vegan parmesan, freshly ground black pepper and more rosemary stems.
    • 6
      Store in an airtight container in your fridge after they have cooled. Reheat them in the microwave or a pan. They will keep for three days.
vegan pork chops
The seitan pork chops are coated in creamy, onion gravy. | Lauren Paige for LIVEKINDLY

Smothered “Pork Chops” and Cauliflower Mash

For a Southern classic, this expertly seasoned course of smothered “pork chops” and cauliflower mash is savory and deserving of a spot on your dinner table. The seitan pork chops, which draw inspiration from African culinary techniques, are crispy and golden and coated in a creamy, onion gravy. Garnish with parsley and serve alongside the warm and hearty cauliflower mash. Trust us, you’ll be dreaming about this entree long after your last bite.

Classic Southern Smothered "Pork Chops" and Cauliflower Mash

By Lauren Paige

Ingredients

"Pork Chops"

  • 1 pound seitan, cut into medallions  
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons arrowroot flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup vegan heavy cream
  • fresh parsley, for garnish

Cauliflower Mash

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil  
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
  • vegan parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation

    Smothered "Pork Chops"

    • 1
      Use a towel to pat dry the seitan chops, removing any moisture. Season each chop with salt and pepper, then set aside.
    • 2
      In a shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Dip each seitan chop into the flour, coating well on all sides, shaking off excess. Reserve 2 tablespoons of seasoned flour.
    • 3
      In a large pan, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Slowly add the seitan chops into the skillet and cook until golden, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a separate towel lined plate and set aside.
    • 4
      In the same pan, add in the remaining oil and heat over medium low. Add the onions and cook until very soft and slightly caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Then add in the garlic and stir together until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.
    • 5
      Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of reserved flour into the skillet with the onion mixture and stir until all of the flour has dissolved.
    • 6
      Stir in the vegetable broth, soy sauce, nutritional yeast and vegan heavy cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
    • 7
      Return the seitan chops to the skillet and coat well with the onion gravy.
    • 8
      Garnish with parsley and serve.

    Cauliflower Mash

    • 1
      Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add the chopped cauliflower and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender.
    • 2
      Meanwhile, add the garlic and olive oil to a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until garlic is softened; about 5 minutes.
    • 3
      Drain the cooked cauliflower and transfer it to a food processor along with the garlic and vegan butter. Blend until smooth.
    • 4
      Season to taste with salt and pepper and vegan parmesan cheese, if desired.
fudgy avocado brownies
Bite into dessert with these fudgy brownies. | Thomas Adams for LIVEKINDLY

Hazelnut Brownies

Okay, we’ve saved the best for last. If you still have room in your belly, then behold these irresistible treats. These hazelnut brownies are soft and extra fudgy. Just the way we like ’em. (Pro tip: Top them with your extra nuts or a few scoops of dairy-free vanilla ice cream. Or all of the above. We’re not judging.)

Hazelnut Brownies

By Thomas Adams

10 mins to prep
25 mins to cook
Vegan

Ingredients

  • ½ cup and 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup soy yoghurt (or coconut)
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup plant milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup blanched hazelnuts 

Preparation

  1. 1
    Line a 8-inch square baking tin with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. 2
    Mix together the melted chocolate, soy yogurt, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and plant milk together in a bowl until completely smooth.
  3. 3
    Sieve together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt). Add in most of the hazelnuts and chocolate chips into the dry mix.
  4. 4
    Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until fully incorporated.
  5. 5
    Pour the brownie batter into the lined baking tin. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips and hazelnuts on top and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. 6
    Take out of the oven and allow to cool then serve.
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