What better way to show your love on Valentine's Day than with an incredible homemade meal? Here's a selection of our favorite Valentine's Day dinners and side dishes. Any of these are sure impress that special someone in your life!
Even though Phil and I have weekly Date Nights, we try to make Valentine's Day extra-special. Sure, we could go out for an expensive restaurant meal on one of the busiest nights of the year. But we prefer to dine in and make a stunning meal to enjoy by candlelight...with romantic music in the background...a bottle of wine...
Here are some of our favorite romantic entrées, side dishes, and wine pairings—plus, a sample menu for your extra special night.
That's right: I've included an example Valentine's menu in the recipe card below. It gives you all the details for making Phil's favorite meal: filet Mignon with asparagus and horseradish mashed potatoes.
Valentine's Day Dinner Ideas
Filet Mignon: A classic steak that's perfect for Valentine's Day.
The key to a perfectly cooked thick steak is the reverse sear process. It's amazing easy and delivers perfectly cooked, pink meat, all the way to the edges of your steak. YUM.
Once you've learned how to reverse sear, you'll never cook thick steaks any other way!
Suggested wine pairing: a robust wine like Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect with this entrée.
You have to admit: the set-up above is absolutely swoon-worthy. This impressive standing rib roast (a.k.a. prime rib) makes for a show-stopping Valentine's dinner. You'll just love the garlic-rosemary rub we use. Plus, I show you how to make au jus from the flavorful pan juices.
The BEST part is that the recipe is written so you have leftovers. Trust me: leftover prime rib makes the most awesome prime rib sandwiches you've ever tasted!
Suggested wine pairing: A robust red with plenty of tannins would be fabulous with this rich, beefy dish. A Malbec or Syrah will fit the bill perfectly!
This easy beef tenderloin recipe is in tight competition with the prime rib roast for our favorite Valentine's dinner.
The presentation of a whole beef tenderloin on Valentine's Day will truly impress your special someone. The meat tastes absolutely fabulous paired with the creamy, delectable green peppercorn sauce.
Suggested wine pairing: a wine with some fruity notes would be a nice counterpoint to the mild spice of the cream sauce. Consider a Zinfandel or even a Riesling.
Rack of pork is a fantastic alternative to red meat for your Valentine's Day Dinner. Choose a smaller roast, or simply enjoy the same meal the next night. Not only is this an impressive roast to bring to the table, but it's:
- virtually impossible to mess up
- always juicy and delicious
You can cut the bones off, or serve as gigantic pork chops as in the photo above.
Suggested wine pairing: we like a medium-bodied red for this dish. Our favorite is Pinot Noir. You could also go for a white wine, in which case I'd suggest a Riesling.
Is your special somebody into BBQ? If so, this is a perfect Valentine's Day meal.
This smoked BBQ ribs recipe turns out fabulous, juicy ribs and can be made on a basic charcoal grill if you don't have a smoker. Check out the post to learn how!
Suggested wine pairing: I'd go for a white wine with some acidity to cut through the BBQ sauce and spice—like a Sauvignon Blanc. Or, you could always go with your favorite beer: we won't tell.
Luscious, herb-roasted Cornish Game Hens, cooked in the same pot with a delicious, double-mushroom barley pilaf. You each get your own bird and a generous serving of pilaf (plus leftovers).
This is yet another impressive Valentine's Day dinner option that's easy to make and easy to clean up.
Suggested wine pairing: fruity wines like Chardonnay or Pinot Noir pair nicely with Cornish game hens.
The ingredients for this meal come right out of your pantry, but it's a perfect romantic meal for Valentine's Day. It's super easy and quick to put together, yet sure to impress your sweetheart.
Suggested wine pairing: Pinot Grigio pairs well with this light seafood dish.
This basic recipe makes a super-easy, delicious Valentine's meal for two. However, you can easily scale this up to as many as eight.
Roasting the potatoes in the same tray means that the juices from the lamb infuse the potatoes, enhancing their flavor even more. Using one tray also makes clean-up a breeze!
Suggested wine pairing: Lamb is rich and meaty, which calls for a robust red. You can't go wrong with a Malbec or a spicy Shiraz.
This roast leg of lamb is an incredibly easy, yet impressive and is a delicious option for Valentine's Day.
And the bone-in leg makes for a fantastic presentation at the table. You'll have leftovers that are great thinly sliced in pita bread with tzatziki sauce.
Suggested wine pairing: Here, we've paired the rich lamb with a robust red blend.
This is one of my family's favorite meal for special-occasions. It has citrus notes and wonderful, savory flavors. The roasting chicken infuses the rice with its juices, and the end result is nothing short of amazing.
Plus, everything cooks in one pan, making cleanup a cinch.
Suggested wine pairing: Roast chicken is a perfect match for a Syrah.
This delicious duck is perfumed with herbs from the inside and finished with a tangy sauce. This is a perfect, beautiful entrée for two on Valentine's Day.
Not sure what to do with the duck carcass? Make Slow-Cooker Duck Pho.
Suggested wine pairing: Since duck is rich and fatty, it pairs well with the light, fresh acidity of a Pinot Noir.
Valentine's Day side dishes and appetizers
Regardless of your main course on Valentine's, you'll likely want some bread to go with it. These soft dinner rolls are easy to make and taste amazing.
Don't be scared. Anyone can make these—and they taste better than anything you'd find at the store!
We save this rich, creamy soup for special occasions— like Valentine's Day!
Serve it as a first course. If you make this, it's great served with Easy Stovetop Croutons.
This is a flavorful, vibrant salad that makes for a beautiful presentation and pairs really well with a beef entrée. It's beautiful to look at and easy to make. It's a great salad option for Valentine's Day.
This salad is served with thin-sliced red onion, blue cheese crumbles, and balsamic vinaigrette.
It’s wonderful as an accompaniment for roasted meat and steaks.
This recipe makes a gorgeous side dish that's vibrant and fresh. Plus, it's done in less than 30 minutes.
This is made with orzo (risoni) pasta instead of the barley used for authentic orzotto, so it's much faster to make! It makes an unusual, attention-grabbing side that's perfect for your Valentine's Day dinner!
A note about wine pairings: if your Valentine's Day meal includes an entrée with asparagus, ignore the suggested wine pairing and go with a citrusy, non-oaky, low-tannin choice like a Riesling or Chardonnay.
This is a perfect side for many main course Valentine's meals. It is just wonderful with the au jus from the prime rib, or the creamy peppercorn sauce from the tenderloin!
This our absolute must-have side-dish for prime rib or filet Mignon. The subtle horseradish perfectly accents the richness of the beef.
It's creamy and delicious, but with more texture and color than standard mashed potatoes.
Ideally, your Valentine's Day dinner will include a protein entrée, a starch, and a green vegetable. I recommend making it easy on yourself and either choosing a veggie that can be made ahead—or that you can make in a matter of 4 minutes or less. This asparagus is perfect!
A note about wine pairings: if you serve asparagus in your Valentine's Day meal, it may clash with the suggested wine. So ignore our earlier suggestion and choose something with citrusy notes and low-tannin. For example, a Riesling or Chardonnay.
These sprouts are also super-quick and match perfectly with your meat entrée.
...and finally, here is one of our favorite Valentine's Day menus. I hope you have an extra-special meal!
For the Steaks
- 2 8 oz filet Mignon steaks, cut ~2 inches thick
- 2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic powder (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the Compound Butter
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup shallot, finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
- 1.5 lb new red potatoes, skin-on, cubed and pre-soaked in cold water (see Recipe Note #1)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- ¼ cup sour cream (at room temperature)
- ½ cup whole milk (at room temperature)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish (based on your preference, see Recipe Note #2)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced (optional, for garnish)
For the Asparagus
- 1 lb asparagus (15-20 stalks)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
For the Steak
- Remove steaks from refrigerator one hour prior to cooking (meanwhile, you can make the compound butter and prep your vegetables). Preheat the oven to 250º F.
- Dry steaks thoroughly with paper toweling, then season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
- Wrap bacon (see Recipe Note #3) around steaks and tie around the edge with butcher's string.
- Place steaks on a rack set into a foil-covered baking sheet.
- Place in the pre-heated oven. Roast until about 2–3º F from desired final temperature (see Recipe Note #4). Meanwhile, start boiling your potatoes.
- 5 minutes before you remove the steaks from the oven, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the butter and oil to the skillet, then add steaks immediately after all butter has melted (see Recipe Note #5).
- Sear the steaks about one minute on each side, or until a deep, golden brown crust develops. As each side sears, spoon remaining butter-oil mixture from the pan over your filet mignon steaks.
- Remove steaks from the skillet to a plate and cover with foil for 5 minutes (see Recipe Note #6). This is a great time to cook your asparagus and finish up your mashed potatoes.
- Add a dollop of compound butter on top of the filet mignon and serve.
For the Compound Butter
- (See Recipe Note #7) Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add shallots. Saute on medium-low until the shallots are completely softened, about 8–10 minutes. Add pepper flake, salt, and black pepper after about 6 minutes of sauteing the shallots.
- Add tarragon and saute an additional minute.
- Remove saucepan from heat and set into a bowl of ice water to chill the bottom.
- When the butter begins to congeal, scrape onto a sheet of parchment paper in an oblong shape (as close to the shape of the original stick of butter as you can).
- Roll the sides around the butter and refrigerate until hardened. Store in a butter dish for up to 2 weeks.
For the Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
- Drain the potatoes and add to a pot of water (potatoes should be covered by at least 1 inch). Cover and bring to a boil on high heat, then remove cover and continue boiling over medium-high heat until potato cubes are easily pierced with a paring knife (see Recipe Note #7).
- Drain the potatoes well in a colander and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the butter and sour cream: mix with a spoon to allow the butter to melt before you use the mixer. Add salt and pepper.
- Set an electric beater on low and mix the potatoes until all large chunks are broken up, about 35 seconds. Add milk and continue mixing until incorporated, about another 30 seconds. Taste to check the texture and seasoning, adjusting as needed. Do not overmix.
- Add in the horseradish (again, see Recipe Note #2); stir well with a spoon to incorporate.
- If you finish your mashed potatoes before the steaks are done, add them to an oven-safe casserole, cover with foil, and place in the still-warm oven (turn the oven off first). To serve, sprinkle each serving with chives (if you like).
For the Asparagus
- Cut one inch off asparagus stems; discard ends or save for making stock.
- Place whole asparagus spears into a plastic steamer with one inch of water in the bottom. Make sure to layer these in a criss-cross pattern to create space between the stalks.
- Microwave on high for 1:30 min for ¼" thick, 2:15 for ½" thick, 3:00 min for ¾" thick (see Recipe Note #8).
- Remove asparagus from container and drain any remaining water.
- Add hot asparagus back to container along with your butter, salt and pepper.
- Lid the container and lightly shake until asparagus is well coated and seasoned.
- The pre-soak helps remove extra starch and lets you work ahead because you can refrigerate the soaking potatoes overnight. If you don't have time for the presoak, I suggest adding the cubes to a generous amount of water, then changing the water 3 times.
- This is purely preference: if you prefer a milder horseradish flavor, use ½ tbsp. If you want stronger, use up to 2 tbsp. You can always stir in a bit at a time and taste.
- We find that an easy hack for avoiding rubbery bacon is to use fully cooked, microwaveable bacon. Alternatively, partially cook regular bacon so it is still pliable and can be wrapped around the steaks.
- Depending on the thickness of your steak, this will take 30 – 60 minutes. Our 2-inch steaks took 60 minutes of roasting. Either use a leave-in thermometer or check periodically with an instant read beginning after 30 minutes (continue checking until your steaks are within 2–3º F your final target temperature).
- Be careful: there will be some spattering at first, but this will settle down after a few seconds.
- The temperature will continue to rise another 2-3 degrees after removing from skillet.
- To test the doneness of the potatoes, pierce the white, fleshy side of the potato with a paring knife: it should go in without resistance, and then the potato chunk should fall off easily with a little shake. Alternatively, you can smash a chunk with a fork: there shouldn't be any resistance at all.
- Cooking times will vary based on the power of your microwave and your preference for crunchy vs. tender spears.
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