Recipe roundup: Ideas for a WW-friendly romantic dinner

Tips to make a gourmet dinner for date night, at home.

If you’re planning on dining at home this Valentine’s Day, look no further than this ultimate roundup of romantic recipes. From beverages for your betrothed to endearing entrees (not to mention a cherished chocolate dessert to end the meal), you’ll find all the recipes and tips you need in this article to plan and prepare a full-course gourmet meal for your main squeeze.

Drinks

There’s something uniquely celebratory about sharing a drink on a special occasion with a loved one. While a glass of wine or a classic cocktail is always appreciated, why not try your hand at one of these inspired beverages?

If a cocktail recipe calls for Champagne, feel free to use a bottle of more budget-friendly Italian prosecco or Spanish cava in its place.

For those who don’t consume alcohol, below you’ll find a refreshing fruity sangria recipe that makes use of VinZero, an alcohol-free wine, and an effervescent bellini mocktail full of bright peach and raspberry flavour.

To set the stage for romantic refreshments, create a “drink station” with a bucket of ice for sparkling wine, a pitcher or drink dispenser (if you plan on making a batch of drinks), polished stemware or glassware, a cocktail shaker, and any appropriate garnishes.

Salads, starters, and sides

Part of the appeal of dining out on Valentine’s Day is the promise of an expertly prepared multi-course meal. The purpose of salads and starters is to whet the appetite while side dishes accentuate and complement the flavours of the main event. If the thought of preparing an extra course is daunting, rest assured: Many of the recipes listed below can be made, at least partially, ahead of time.

Recipes for roasted vegetables (including potatoes) can be prepared up to two days ahead and stored in the fridge. Cover with foil and reheat in a low oven — you can liven up the flavour just before serving with a squeeze of lemon and a handful of chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, and basil work especially well).

You should always wait to dress a green salad until right before it’s served, but you can still tear the lettuce, wash in cold water, and let it dry earlier in the day. To store clean lettuce in the fridge after cleaning, roll the leaves up in a paper towel or a clean tea towel and keep in the crisper until ready to use.

Main dishes

The recipes in this section are meant to appeal to a wide variety of skill levels and tastes. You’ll find plenty of plant-based options alongside traditional recipes for poultry, red meat, and seafood-based dishes. Many of these recipes can be made at least partly ahead of time, and each recipe can easily be managed by one person or, if you enjoy cooking with your partner, can be made from scratch in almost no time at all.

To bolster the satiety factor of these recipes, consider adding a simple grain pilaf (like this Quinoa Pilaf) or a plate of assorted steamed vegetables.

Fondue and shabu shabu

Serve up a 1970s-themed communal Valentine’s Day meal with a pot of fondue or a slow cooker-shabu shabu experience. Most of the prep minimal time for these recipes comes from the accompaniments, you can save time by using convenience items like pre-cut steam-in-the-bag vegetables and frozen peeled shrimp.

To thinly slice chicken breast for the broth fondue with ease, place the chicken in the freezer for 20 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife.

Accompaniments for traditional cheese fondue include cubed crusty bread, roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts, apple or pear slices, and lean meat such as cooked filet mignon or back bacon.

Chocolate

What better way to end a romantic meal than with chocolate, the sweetest aphrodisiac of all. Whether you’re a bona fide baker of chocolate cake or you’re a fan of no-bake dessert recipes, you’ll find a delectable chocolate-based dessert in the roundup below.

If your idea of a perfect ending to a memorable meal traditionally includes a cheese tray, you can create the same effect using your favourite cheeses and one or two accompaniments. This WW guide to cheese is packed with information about choosing and serving all your favourite cheeses.