Serve Your Sweetheart One of These Valentine's Menus This February 14th
From fondue for two to homemade pizza or a bistro-inspired meal, you'll find just the right dishes to share with your loved one(s) in this delicious selection of Valentine's Day menus.
Whether your valentine is a spouse, a friend, or your 10-year-old child, take time to prepare a festive meal for them on February 14. To help you show the love through your cooking, we've taken the liberty of curating ten special Valentine's menus to nourish and celebrate your best relationships, whether you are a couple, a family, or just, well, you.
At its heart Valentine's Day can be an intimate and sincere celebration of what matters most. Ignore its commercial occasion side and focus on how good a loved one makes you feel, as well as how good it feels to pamper them in return. To feed a person you care for is the oldest of benevolent gestures.
The Valentine's menus we've gathered here are lightly themed and fun. Traveling to Paris might be a Valentine's dream, but France might be within reach when you whip up the right selection of dishes. After all, the glory of food is that it transports us, and you can certainly conjure up authentic bistro fare at home. We have imagined an unapologetic supper for cheese lovers (featuring fondue, of course, and with a cheese tart for dessert), and a rustic feast for vegetarians, featuring everything in halves (because two halves make a whole!). There is a surprise package for pescatarians and a spoon-licking group activity for a family who likes to make and eat dessert. There is also an indulgent dinner for one, featuring a petite game hen and a decadent meringue and cranberry dessert. We've even mapped out a brunch for two who would like to stay in bed (still, someone has to watch that soufflé).
Bon appétit, and may your Valentine's dreams come true.
French Bistro Fare for Two
Allow your plate to take you to France. Steak au poivre is a classic for a reason—the romance between good beef and the creamily piquant sauce is timeless. They are perfect partners. You'll need a bright Bibb lettuce salad to enjoy alongside it and a dessert that leaves you feeling refreshed yet pampered to end the meal well. Pears in red wine are sent over the top with the addition of crème de cassis. (We know you'll have leftover dessert, but trust us, these pears make a brilliant breakfast.)
A Valentine's Brunch for Two
Surprise your special person on Valentine's morning with a Champagne cocktail bedazzled with a dash of blood orange juice. Follow up with the ultimate edible I-love-you: a piping hot cheese soufflé, with arugula and bacon salad on the side. (Soufflés have an undeserved tricky reputation. Make sure your roux is smooth, and eat the soufflés the minute they are out of the oven for best results.)
A Seafood Brasserie Menu for Two
A hearty appetizer of succulent sardines served in a lemon and caper dressing lays the foundation for a staple of warmly lit French brasseries: mussels swimming in flavorful broth. They may be the ultimate finger food (use one of the hinged shells as a nifty implement to nip the meat out of all the others). Crisp fingerling oven fries stand in for fussy frites. Finish the meal with our delectable riff on pots de crème, easily made in advance.
Valentine's Fondue for Cheese Lovers
Fondue is for lovers: The silky, wine-napped cheese, those suggestively melting strands, the dipping of bread of bread (or crunchy vegetables). This rich main course begs for crisp salad alongside, and the nutty bitterness of radicchio in lemon dressing is just the thing. Dessert is a svelte farmers cheese and crème fraîche tart, perfumed with vanilla.
Rustic Feast for Two Hungry Vegetarians
Our vegetarian Valentine's feast plays on the prettiness and symbolism of halves: Avocados filled with pink grapefruit makes a bright appetizer; nutty acorn squash stuffed with whole grains, shallots, and grapes that caramelize deliciously in the oven's heat; and baked apples overflowing with Mexican chocolate and lava-soft marshmallows. To make the menu vegan, simply substitute olive oil for the butter in the dessert.
Parisian Supper for Four
The most romantic day of the year falls in the middle of the coldest month. Shake off the chill with soul-warming bowls of velvety onion soup (its secret is the slow caramelizing of the onions, and a very good, strong beef broth) accompanied by a winter salad bedazzled with scarlet pomegranate. After you have slurped the last, endless strand of melted Gruyère you deserve a neat but decadent dessert: scented Meyer lemons stand out in our version of a classic tarte au citron.
Roasted Game Hen Supper for One
If you are toasting Valentine's day on your own, we've got you covered. Petite game hens suit a special occasion; root vegetables, tarragon, and mustard infuse the little bird as it roasts, leaving you free to do other things, like sip a Manhattan. For dessert, tuck into a blood-orange and cranberry meringue tartlet-for-one.
Dinner for a Family of Valentines
Family togetherness on Valentine's Day can be just as festive as it is for swooning couples. Begin this meal for four with the grownups sipping Cider-Bourbon Cocktails while kids enjoy Pomegranate Sodas (with a cherry on the top!). What shows more love than individual chicken pot pies, filled with aromatics and healthy collard greens? The dessert-finalé is a flock of make-ahead Chocolate Eclair Hearts. Invite the kids to help drizzle the smooth chocolate glaze over the finished choux.
A Gift-Wrapped Pescatarian Menu for Two
We love wrapping dinner. Cooking sparkling fresh flounder with meaty shiitakes and early asparagus en papillote not only seals in flavor but spells, "Surprise!"—as the mouthwatering steam escapes. While dinner bakes, sip a couple of pink martinis. This light main course leaves you room for a milk tart so suave you may want to fast forward to dessert.
Pizza Night for Lovers
If love can be bought, we think this duo of vegetarian pizzas may the best currency. To whet your appetites, shape up a couple of spicy Habanero-Hibiscus Sours. Then tuck into a three-cheese pie topped with a forest of peppery arugula. The meal finishes with figs, the most sensual of fruits (although technically a flower!). They're baked atop ricotta, flecked with thyme, and drizzled with honey for a dessert pizza you're sure to remember.