25 Valentine's Day Recipes That Aren't Embarrassingly Lame
Photo by Brayden Olson


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25 Valentine's Day Recipes That Aren't Embarrassingly Corny

Don't take yourself so seriously this February 14th.

Valentine’s Day comes with all sorts of pressures to impress your date in really outlandish ways. Flash mobs are our cursed, modern-day versions of singing telegrams, but worse, because they’re in a mall; teens continue to set the bar for romantic gestures obscenely high with elaborate promposals. And there's no chance in hell you're going to get a table at Extremely Cool Restaurant You've Been Meaning to Try because, well, you snoozed on the reservations again.


If your Valentine’s Day plans this year are going to include a significant other (or someone you’re tryna make your SO), drop the theatrics and opt for a sexy-but-not-serious home-cooked meal. You can treat your special someone to a romantic meal without tapered candles, white tablecloths, and a wine list full of words you can't understand.

Here are our favorite appetizers, cocktails, entrees, sides and desserts for a V-Day meal that keeps your night of romancing fun and—as is the nature of this most ridiculous of corporate holidays—a little absurd.


Sweet Potato and Duck Beignets with Foie Gras Fondue Recipe

You might not be able to swing a spontaneous trip to some romantic getaway for Valentine's, but this decadent appetizer is a like taking a mini-tour of two of the best foods New Orleans has to offer: beignets and chicory coffee, but all dressed up with braised duck and a creamy foie gras sauce.

Bacon-Wrapped Country Pate Recipe

A pork pâté is a pretty rustic, but labor-intensive, French dish. What better way to make your special someone feel extra special than taking the extra effort to make your date night snack a little nicer than Ritz crackers and Cheddar cheese cubes?

Classic Fondue Recipe

Classic Fondue Recipe

Making a classic fondue keeps your V-Day whimsical and fun—dunking your food in cheese sauce is always fun—and relatively easy to set up. That leaves you more time to find a music option less on-the-nose than Marvin Gaye to set the mood.


Smoked Oysters with Ramp Butter Recipe

Don’t underestimate the power of this natural aphrodisiac—or at least, the potential placebo effect of a good oyster. Ramps aren’t quite in season, but you can use scallions instead.

Waffles and Caviar Recipe

Waffles and Caviar Recipe

Every night of romance needs a touch of luxe. Let that little something be a few milligrams of caviar with buckwheat waffles instead of the traditional pancakes. (Don’t know where to even start with fish eggs? We got you covered with the VICE Guide to Caviar.)


Cannabis-Infused Classic Martini Recipe

Need a good drink to calm your nerves? Keep it classy with this cannabis-infused martini. Swap in CBD instead if that better speaks to your date night needs.

The Ritz L'Aperitif Recipe

The Ritz L’Aperitif Recipe

This riff on the classic martini—this time with caviar-infused bitters and top-of-the-line Russian vodka—comes from the skilled hands of the bartenders at London’s Ritz Hotel, where they sure know how to set the mood.

Aperol Betty Recipe

Aperol Betty Recipe

If you haven’t gotten over your Aperol Spritz obsession from the summer, this Aperol cocktail, featuring a little splash of orange and grapefruit juices, is a lighter way to start your meal.

Blood Orange and Tequila Cocktail Recipe

Blood on the Tracks Recipe

Alright, the backstory of this citrus and tequila cocktail could jinx the hell out of your relationship, but just call it something else when you serve it to your date because this thing is good. Even better, blood oranges and pomegranates are at their peak right now.


Cider Vermouth Cocktail Recipe

Cider Vermouth Cocktail Recipe

If you want to keep your wits about you and make sure you don’t get embarrassingly sloppy-drunk before dessert, try this lower-alcohol cider and vermouth cocktail and go slow.


Fancy Hot Dog Recipe

Humm Dog Recipe

We know it’s Valentine’s Day, but we’ll go to bat for this fancy hot dog as the centerpiece of your meal. This is a serious, date-worthy hot dog—wrapped in bacon, slathered in truffle mayo, and covered in Gruyère cheese—that says "I take my boardwalk food seriously, but not myself."

Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe

Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe

Chicken cordon bleu is the kind of classic, nostalgia-inducing dish that looks kind of serious and old-school, but is in fact lots of fun. After all, it's basically a rolled up, cheesy chicken schnitzel. SEXY, amirite?

Perfect Rib-Eye Steak Recipe

Perfect Rib-Eye Steak Recipe

Valentine’s Day is the day you go for broke with your menu planning. In this case, almost literally, because a cut of steak this good and this huge is going to cost a pretty penny. But you can skip the shitty roses, because if you cook it perfectly, this rib-eye steak will be worth it.

Homemade Seafood Tower Recipe

This is a meal where presentation matters. Go all out with a show stopper like a homemade seafood tower, and whatever you were hoping for at the end of the night is pretty likely to happen. Plus, more oysters can only help your case.

Vegan Lasagna Recipe

Vegan Lasagna Recipe

Lasagnas are a labor of love, without a doubt. Show your dedication to making Valentine's Day dinner a meal to impress with this four-layer lasagna, perfect for vegans and the dairy-sensitive.



Roasted Asparagus with Mushrooms and Ramps Recipe

This asparagus and mushroom side is a little spicy, a little gingery, and heavy on the umami. It goes great with almost any main course.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Kale, and Citrus Salad Recipe

Keep it light and bright with this super-easy-to-assemble chopped salad. Check your teeth for Brussels sprouts afterward, though. (Just lookin' out for you!)

Sausage and Chianti Risotto Recipe

Risotto is the kind of dish that, if prepared successfully, automatically makes the cook infinitely more date-able. It’s just science, trust us. This sausage and chianti risotto is satisfying enough that you can even make it your main course.

Easy Green Bean Salad Recipe

Green Bean Salad Recipe

This update to the old stand-by of green bean amandine swaps in champagne vinegar and crispy, fatty bacon, because even salads can be a little decadent—especially on Valentine's Day.

Salt-Baked Beets Recipe

Salt-Baked Beets

The combination of roasted beets, salty goat cheese, and toasted hazelnuts is impossible to improve upon. And if the conversation is lagging by this point in the meal, there is no end to beet-related puns you can bust out for cheap laughs. Plus, it's pink, duh.


Classic Chocolate Lava Cakes Recipe

Chocolate Lava Cakes Recipe

We’re not exactly sure why molten chocolate cakes are basically synonymous with Valentine’s Day at this point—Is oozing chocolate sexy? Is everyone just really nostalgic for the Chili’s of their youth?—but this recipe from Matty Matheson is damn good all the same.


Chocolate Buckwheat Pancakes with Berry Coulis Recipe

Chocolate-covered strawberries are for chumps. Step it up a notch and end your meal with homemade chocolate-buckwheat pancakes drenched in a not-too-sweet berry coulis.

Flourless Coconut and Chocolate Cake Recipe

Flourless Coconut and Chocolate Cake Recipe

Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh created flour-free perfection with this coconut-almond cake with glossy chocolate ganache. So shiny, so perfect, and the best way to impress a gluten-free date.

Crepes with Fruit and Chocolate Recipe

When it comes to romance, of course we've gotta take a little cue from the French. End your date night meal with an easy, build-your-own crepe filled with chocolate, berries, and whipped cream.

Grasshopper Float Recipe

Grasshopper Float Recipe

This amusing, interactive take on the grasshopper milkshake is for those who prefer to drink their dessert while also proving to their date that they're not afraid to have a good time.

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