Vegan Valentines Day
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.
There's something about classic flavors and textures to take you back to another time. When people transition to veganism or just try to eat more plant-based meals, they often feel they have to give up a lot of flavor memories. For a lot of people, this is what leads to giving up and returning to animal products- they want those familiar flavors.
This is a short list, of course, but here are some vegan versions of creamy cheese to top your pasta with for decadence without the animals. If you try them, let me know how it goes in the comments! If you want advice trying to find vegan versions of something you love, come join the conversation in the Facebook group How Can I Make This Vegan?
Mac and Cheese
A lot of people say that giving up meat is okay, but what about cheese? How does one live without cheese? Well, it's a habit like anything else. My personal advice it to ditch cheese first, before cutting out other animal products, because once you are over cheese the rest is gravy (I love vegan gravy). Honestly, though, it's hard to give up animal milk cheese, and the science to prove it is now coming out that cheese has actually addictive components. So it's not your imagination if you feel like you really are addicted to cheese!
Try these vegan recipes for a new way to find that same comfort!
Tapioca based cheese (the popular vegan cheese, Daiya, is tapioca based as well) Mozzarella Aquafaba Cheese by Avocado and Ales
I was inspired by this recipe for the cheese in the video above. I've been playing around with varying amounts of cashews, tapioca, water, and coconut oil with different seasonings for my perfect melty cheese, but this recipe is a great one if you don't want to experiment too much. Great with pasta or on pizza.
Carrot and Potato Cheese like this recipe from Simple Vegan
For a while, all the vegan world was abuzz about the magic goodness that happens when you combine cooked carrots and potatoes. The potato starch gives this lovely gooey and creamy texture. Try playing around with the spices to your liking, or just search Carrot Potato Cheese for other recipes. I haven't hit a dud trying out these recipes yet! The bonus is that they are very food allergy friendly because it's nut free (although some do call for cashews, so if you aren't nut free that's a fun addition). But, it's nice because it's gluten-free, soy-free, and I've read in many forums that making it oil free still turns out pretty great too.
Tofu-Based Sauce like this one from Veg Web called The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese in the Entire World.
Honestly, this one is really good and probably my favorite. I first had it at a vegan potluck when I first started finding my vegan community and I was blown away. It's kind of salty and not the healthiest, but it's mac and cheese, so come on...
With a little label reading, it's not hard to find vegan pasta. Most really good pasta is just semolina flour and water. If you are looking for healthier options, try spiralized veggies like zucchini and summer squash or roasted cauliflower cut in small florets and roasted. These sauces are also great with broccoli on a baked potato. Now I'm getting hungry.
If these weren't enough to get you started, here's another list of vegan mac and cheese recipes to try out!
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
Order your copy here today!
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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!