People often ask me what I eat instead of chocolate since I'm vegan (and since I'm allergic to milk people have been asking me a lot longer). The good news is that there are lots of vegan chocolate options. The bad news is that it's not like you can just grab the grocery store chocolate covered strawberries and go. It takes a bit more planning. It's pretty simple to melt down some Enjoy Life allergen free chocolate chips and dip strawberries in it, so I wanted to do something a bit different. I have some white chocolate chips I ordered online (since I've never seen vegan white chocolate chips in a store), so I was excited to involve them. I also love a good chocolate peanut butter combo- so why wouldn't I bring in strawberries on that action?! Strawberries and peanut butter are best friends, and who am I to keep them apart.
And so was born the white chocolate and peanut butter double dipped chocolate coated strawberries (with sprinkles no less!). I must really really love my Valentines- and you, dear readers.
Like I said, the white chocolate is a bit tricky to find, but everything else is easy to get ahold of and it comes together really quickly and easily.
1 cup white chocolate chips (I used Pascha, which you can order from their website)
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy, always creamy)
15-20 strawberries (if you are concerned about farmer ethics, here's an article about why you may want to boycott Driscoll's brand berries. In my area, I was able to find locally grown Louisiana berries. My plants are dormant now, but I also grow my own strawberries)
1 cup chocolate chips (I always choose Enjoy Life brand chips, they are my favorite and melt beautifully)
SPRINKLES (optional, but definitely encouraged. I like these India Tree ones made with natural colors).
Step 1: Wash and dry your strawberries. If they don't have nice stems, you might want to insert toothpicks in the top so you will have a handle for dipping. Prepare a sheet pan/tray with a layer or parchment paper for setting/cooling your strawberries.
Step 2: In a double boiler (a pot of boiling water with a glass or metal bowl on top), melt down your white chocolate chips and peanut butter, stirring to blend completely. The white chips melt so fast that you can turn off your boiling water and just let the carryover heat melt the chips. Once it's smooth, take bowl off top and set on a trivet or pot holder while you dip.
Step 3: Dip your strawberries into the peanut butter and white chocolate mixture and then set on parchment paper. You'll have dip leftover, even if you do 20, so don't worry about that.
Step 4: Place peanut butter coated strawberries in freezer to firm up. Meanwhile, return your bowl of dip to double boiler and add chocolate chips. Stir in until smooth and remove from heat.
Step 5: Redip the chilled strawberries in the chocolate mixture, and set back on pan. Coat with sprinkles and chill in refrigerator until you are ready to eat.
You should have leftover chocolate sauce- this is not a problem! You can either pour it into cupcake liners and chill to harden, or pour over ice cream and it will get hard like magic shell! Either way, it's a win win.
You are a vegan, or you love a vegan, or you like a vegan, or you have a friend going plant-based who you know is going to be alone for Valentines Day and you want to do something nice. Or some other reason.
The KGV is here to help!
Take Your Valentine Out
You are glad their won't be any terrifying lobster in pot expectations, but you are still too intimidated by the kitchen to make dinner. Want to head out for a vegan meal? Check out these websites to find restaurants in your area with vegan options. If you can't find anything on these, call around. A lot of nicer restaurants are happy to prepare something for you, especially with some advance notice (like when you make your reservation).
Personally, I haven't had much success with Yelp or Urban Spoon, and usually get lists of "Vegan Friendly" restaurants that are not at all vegan friendly.
There are also apps you can download to your phone. Search Vegan Restaurant Finder. I have had some success but ended up deleting them in favor of just searching Happy Cow when needed.
You want to do something romantic, so you decide you're going to make dinner for your special Valentine. What a treat! Everything tastes better with love!
Here's what you do: Make a pack of pasta (check out ingredients, but most don't contain milk or egg or other animal ingredients). Follow the directions on the pasta package. Open a jar of marinara (again, read ingredients) and after you strain the pasta, mix with the marinara in your serving bowl. My personal favorite jarred sauce is Victoria Vegan Vodka Sauce, but it's not available everywhere. Just make an informed choice on the level of garlic in your choice based on your plans. You know what I mean. Most grocery store French bread is vegan, just (again) double check the ingredients) and grab a bag of salad mix and a bottle of vegan salad dressing. I love Drew's which is pretty easy to find. If all else fails, I trust that you can mix vinegar and oil with salt and pepper. You can do this!
You are a bit more comfortable in the kitchen, let me throw some soft ball recipes at you and you can see what works.
How about Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta?
You are ready for a romantic culinary challenge! Try these!
What's more romantic than risotto? I have no answer to that. Here's a HuffPo list of 13 Vegan Risottos
Looking for something lower carb? How about this gorgeous Caprese Salad with no vegan cheese needed!
Follow up that salad with some Cauliflower Steaks with Mushroom Gravy
Sweets for Your Sweet
No matter where you go, you don't want to skimp on the chocolate, berries, or decadence on Valentines Day.
15 Vegan Valentines Recipes from Simple Vegan Blog.
Vegan Meringues from Lazy Cat Kitchen
Rose City Chocolatier has a line of vegan chocolates that we've ordered several times and they are always amazing!
Sjaak's chocolates are completely decadent, the company is pretty ecologically-minded, and they are the first chocolates my husband got for me.
Sauce for Your Sweet
Not sure about what alcoholic beverages are vegan-friendly? No problem. Barnivore is a great resource to search for vegan booze and check what you have.
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I love cooking and playing in the kitchen with my toys, so let me share that joy with you and your family to bring the FUN back into the kitchen!