A three-course Valentine’s Day Menu with low carb, keto, paleo and vegetarian options plus wine pairings. The menu includes a Cheese & Charcuterie board, Steaks with compound Butter and Cheesecake for dessert.
We’re almost a week into February so it’s time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day! I never do anything too crazy for Valentine’s Day, mostly because I like to think that every day is an opportunity to tell people you love them (and even be romantic!) but at the same time, I’ll never pass up an opportunity to celebrate love in all it’s shapes and forms.
Last year for Valentine’s Day, I snuck Chipotle into a movie theater with my Valentine. It was really romantic 😉 but mostly just true to who we are so it was perfect just the way it was.
One thing I like to do on Valentine’s Day, if I’m not sneaking a burrito into a movie theater, is cook. I think showing love through cooking–planning and making a meal and hopefully creating an enjoyable experience for the other person–can be really sweet and romantic. It sets up an excellent opportunity to have meaningful conversation and tantalize the senses.
If cooking is something you’d like to do as well, you’re in luck. I’ve put together an easy (and impressive) Valentine’s Day menu (including wine pairings from The Glorious Grape!) that’s sure to please the love of your life.
First Course: Charcuterie & Cheese Board
If you’re unfamiliar, Charcuterie is just a fancy way of saying prepared meat products (think salami, pepperoni, ham, etc). But having a nice selection of some meats and cheeses is an excellent way to start off the night. You can mix and match different ingredients so there are all kinds of flavor combinations and it takes hardly any time at all to make.
I would recommend grabbing 1-3 kinds of meats (I like salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, chorizo or even just different flavors of salami) plus 2-4 different cheeses. Some people have rules about the types of cheeses you use but in my opinion, it’s best to go with whatever you like most. If you’re not sure what you like most, I’d recommend something like a brie, goat cheese, sharp cheddar and then maybe something fun that’s flavored. You could also add this Marinated Mozzarella.
Then pair this with some dips or spreads like jalapeño artichoke dip, sun-dried tomato pesto, olive tapenade, etc. Add some veggies to dip and other things to dip and you’re good to go.
If you’re keto, try things like parboiled asparagus (just boil the asparagus for 2-3 minutes until bright green but still retaining it’s crunch), parmesan whisps cheese crackers, kale chips,
First Course Wine Pairing:
Sparkling – Start the evening off right and set the mood with a nice bottle of bubbly. Sparkling wine is an aperitif, meant to stimulate the appetite. It can also be used to cleanse the palate in between courses, with its refreshing flavors of citrus. Look for something that is made in the traditional method (Champagne or méthode champenoise). It provides a rich, creamy and elegant mouthfeel that pairs well with cured meats, a variety of cheeses and nuts, and cuts through the brininess of olives and pickled vegetables. Be sure to look for Brut or Brut Nature if you want to avoid excess added sugar.
Save: Gruet Brut (New Mexico) $15.99
Salty, buttery pie crust; tart green apples, lemon, sourdough.
Splurge: Bollinger Brut Special Cuvèe (Champagne, France) $59.99
Pear, lemon, pineapple, yellow apple, crusty bread, buttery pie crust.
Second Course: Grilled Ribeyes with Compound Butter
Now is the time to get a really good cut of meat. You could certainly do this with another cut of steak but ribeye really is excellent. What puts this course over the top is the compound butter which melts on top of the steak and gives it a luscious flavor.
Get the recipe for Grilled Ribeyes with Garlic and Herb Compound Butter here. (paleo, keto, low carb)
- If you want to make a vegetarian version of this, still make the compound butter but use a cauliflower steak instead (just slice a whole cauliflower into thick slices and grill or pan fry).
For sides, we’re going to do Asparagus but make it a little fancy by wrapping it in prosciutto.
Get the recipe for Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus here. (low carb, keto, paleo)
- If you want to make this vegetarian, don’t wrap the asparagus with prosciutto and just roast them.
We’re also going to do Pimento Cauliflower Mac n Cheese with Bacon, a more elegant and gourmet take on traditional Mac n Cheese with the smokiness from the pimentos and bacon.
- As written, this recipe is low carb and kept friendly, omitting macaroni noodles for cauliflower but if you want to add in macaroni, you certainly can and either keep the cauliflower or omit it.
- If you don’t like pimentos, you can easily omit. Consider adding something else like bell peppers or sautéed mushrooms or just leave it as is.
- If you want to make vegetarian, omit bacon.
Second Course Wine Pairing:
Syrah/Sryah Blend – Although steak and Cabernet is a classic pairing, I challenge you to try something special for Valentine’s Day. Syrah – like Cabernet – is dry, bold, full bodied, and begs to be paired with a juicy piece of red meat. But Syrah also has an earthiness, a smokiness, a spiciness to it that sets it apart from its fruit-forward friend. Flavors tend toward the dark side, with black berries, black plum, chocolate, leather and cola. A good Syrah would pair excellent with the grilled ribeyes, compliment the smokiness of the bacon in the mac & cheese, and cut through the saltiness of the prosciutto wrapped asparagus.
Save: Eyzaguirre Syrah (Colchagua, Chile) $9.99
Cherry, chocolate, cola, sweet tobacco, oak, earthy spices.
Splurge: SLO Down Sexual Chocolate (Sonoma, California) $27.99
Blackberry, cherry cola, black plum, dark chocolate, licorice.
Third Course: Raspberry Cheesecake Bites for Dessert
Time for dessert! Cheesecake is one of those desserts that I always think of for special occasions. It’s creamy and decadent and would make a perfect dessert to round out this meal.
Get the recipe for Raspberry Cheesecake Bars here. (keto, low carb)
Of course, the other option is to go with the good old standbys: a box of their favorite chocolates or chocolate covered strawberries! Or consider making them a heart shaped Fruit Pizza with Sugar Cookie Crust.
Third Course Wine Pairing:
Merlot – Merlot is a soft and sensual wine, making it perfect for dessert. With lush layers of raspberry, black cherry, plum, vanilla, chocolate, cedar and a dusting of earthy spice, its low acidity and juicy flavors make pairing it with chocolate desserts effortless.
Save: Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot (Columbia Valley, Washington) $9.99
Chocolate, blueberry coffee cake, cherry, red currant.
Splurge: Frog’s Leap Merlot (Napa Valley, California) $39.99
Raspberry, blackberry, red and black cherry, plum, mocha.
Here’s wishing you a great night with whomever you choose to spend your time with. Sending love to you all!