Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love and being with the people you care about. A great way to spend quality time with your loved ones can be having a nice dinner. But trying to get a dinner reservation on Valentine’s Day? Forget about it, I have a better option for you that will be way more heartfelt and lighter on your wallet. This Valentine’s Day, give the gift of food by making a beautiful dinner for your loved ones. And don’t worry, this won’t be a crazy difficult 5-course French meal. This easy vegan Valentine’s Day dinner will make you be impressed with yourself for putting together a fancy-looking homemade meal with little effort.
If you’re like me, then you might be disappointed that Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday. Who has time to cook a delicious homemade meal in the middle of week? I know I don’t. Here’s where your new best friend, Gardein, saves the day. Gardein has a tasty orange “chick’n” that can be made in less then 20 minutes. If Gardein isn’t in your local grocery store, you can buy it online, or if you live near a Trader Joe’s then you can see if they carry their own brand of vegan orange chicken. This meal is simple and easy to put together. All you’ll need to do is cook 1 cup of rice in a pot on the stove. For 1 cup of rice, use 1 ½ to 2 cups of water. About 1 minute in, start cooking the orange chicken and voila the rice and the orange chicken will be done around the same time. I like to top my orange chicken with sesame seeds, but this is optional.
And if you want to be extra fancy, I recommend serving spring rolls (which are vegan) as an appetizer. You can find spring rolls in the frozen section of your grocery store. My favorite spring rolls are from Trader Joe’s, but there are many selections from Safeway that are just as tasty.
If you can’t find the Gardein orange chicken, or you prefer to make a simple dish then let me recommend this amazing Pineapple Fried Rice recipe that is super easy to make and impressive for any date.
Pineapple Fried Rice:
- Prep: 15 minutes
- Cook: 30 minutes
- Ready in 45 minutes
- 3 cups of water
- 1 ½ cups of rice
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (Peanut oil if you prefer)
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup of frozen peas and carrots from a frozen bag mixture
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ can of pineapple chunks
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts
- In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Stir in rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat peanut or vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, pineapple chunks and pepper flakes, to taste. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Increase heat to medium-high and stir in cooked rice, green onions and soy sauce. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add frozen peas and carrots and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Mix well. Garnish with peanuts, if desired.
If you want to add a nice dessert to your Valentine’s Day dinner, then we might need to revisit that 5-course French meal again. Just kidding, we won’t be needing all 5 courses, however, let’s revisit everyone’s favorite part of the meal – dessert. My favorite vegan dessert of all time is Pepperidge Farm’s Raspberry Turnovers. And yes, they are a fluffy, flakey, French dessert that is 100% vegan. And best of all, it’s readily available in the dessert section of your local grocery store. They also have them in apple and peach flavors too, if that suits your fancy.
I know champagne is the typical go-to for a romantic dinner, but champagne can be pretty pricey. I love to pair a homemade dinner with Italian Sodas, especially the Grapefruit and Blood Orange flavors. It’s different enough to make the occasion special, and tasty enough to add a fun element to your dinner. If you are interested in making your own mixed drink, try the recipe below to taste a tropical version of an Italian Soda.
Tropical Italian Soda (Non-alcoholic Blue Hawaii) Ingredients:
- 3 parts Club Soda
- ½ part Orange Juice
- ½ part Pineapple Juice
Directions: Mix all parts into a container. Serve over ice and enjoy.
Make this Valentine’s Day extra special by trying some of these dishes and/or recipes. The team at Trendeing wishes you a wonderful day spent with loved ones.