Saint Valentines Day menu

If you’re looking for a whole food, plant-based Saint Valentines Day menu then look no further. This week I’m including three delicious recipes for Valentine’s Day, whether you’re celebrating with your significant other or celebrating it as the first day of spring.

I know, that was news to me, but in some parts of the world St Valentine is a saint of spring and his day was celebrated as the first day of spring. A proverb says that: “Saint Valentine brings the keys of roots” with plants and flowers beginning to push through the soil.

I was curious to find out when spring this year starts and seemingly the next meteorological spring begins on 01 March 2015 and runs until 31 May 2015, and the next astronomical spring begins on 20 March 2015 and runs until 21 June 2015.

The three recipes that I’ve included below aren’t red or gimmicky, they’re wholesome, filling and very tasty. They’re also all foods that are in season at the moment – parsnips, sweet potatoes, onions and pears. There are lots more such as leeks, cauliflowers, purple sprouting broccoli, cabbages, kale, carrots, swedes, turnips and shallots, but these are the ones I had to hand, hence this tasty menu.

To start with I’ve got a lovely spicy parsnip soup to warm you up, followed by gingered green lentils and freekeh with aubergine and sweet potato with a topping of pear and toasted coconut, followed by sweet baked pears with ginger and cinnamon. I hope you enjoy them!

Spicy Parsnip Soup

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Total Time 37 mins
Serves 6-8

This multi-layered soup releases the heat of the chilli and the sweetness of the coconut cream and parsnip in equal bursts of flavour in your mouth. Your taste buds are going to explode with the intensity of this soup!

Ingredients

  • 1000g Fresh parsnips (Chopped equally)
  • 6 Garlic cloves (Chopped)
  • 300g Potatoes (Chopped equally)
  • 1 Red chilli (Finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Curry Powder (You can use your favourite strength here)
  • 1 Carton Coconut Cream
  • 2l Marigold Vegan Bouillion
  • 4 Large onions (Finely chopped)

Directions

  1. Add the chopped onions and garlic to a pot containing 4cm of cold water and cook over a low heat for 5-6 minutes until the onions are soft. Add more water if the water dries up.
  2. Add the parsnips, potatoes, curry powder, stock and chilli. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for 20 - 25 minutes until the parsnips and potatoes are cooked through.
  3. Stir the coconut cream into the soup then remove from the heat.
  4. Blend with a hand blender until smooth and creamy.
  5. Serve into warm soup bowls or put into containers to cool before putting into the freezer or the fridge to have later.

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Gingered Sweet Potato, Aubergine, Peas, Pear and Coconut

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 mins
Serves 2

Don't be put of by the picture. This is a delicious dish with the warming natural ginger flavour coming through the lentils and freekeh. If you don't have sweet potatoes or aubergine, feel free to add whatever veg you have to hand. Cauliflower and broccoli will also work, as will green beans in place of the peas.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed then finely chopped)
  • Half a medium sweet potato (chopped into equal sized pieces)
  • Half a medium aubergine (chopped into equal sized pieces)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 500ml Marigold Vegan Boullion
  • 150g freekeh or quinoa
  • 400g cooked green lentils
  • 4 tablespoons desiccated coconut, toasted
  • 1.5 tablespoons peeled and grated ginger
  • 1 ripe pear, I used a Conference pear (cut into equal sized pieces)
  • A few toasted walnuts to garnish

Directions

  1. Cook the onions in 2cm/1 inch of water until soft. About 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the freekeh, garlic, ginger, sweet potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the aubergine (no need to peel it) and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the frozen peas and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the chopped pear with the toasted coconut until the pears are coated with the desiccated coconut.
  6. Spoon the gingered mixture into two bowls and top with the pear and coconut mix. Scatter a few of the toasted walnuts over or round the dish as you wish then serve.

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Baked Pears with Ginger and Cinnamon

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 mins
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe pears. I used Conference pears.
  • 8 tablespoons mixed crushed nuts. I used walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • Large pinch ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

Directions

  1. Half each pear lengthways. Scope out the area that holds the seeds. Place the pears in an ovenproof dish with the cut side facing up.
  2. Mix the nuts, cinnamon and maple syrup together in a small bowl.
  3. Spoon mixture into the the hole made by removing the seeds from the pear. Drizzle any leftover maple syrup over the nut mixture and the pears.
  4. Put the ovenproof dish in the oven and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Check to ensure they're not burning, and then bake for a further 5 minutes. The nut mixture should now be softly stuck together.
  5. Gently transfer the pears halves into two serving dishes and dust with cinnamon. I love them on their own as they're so sweet, but if you want, you can serve the with vegan ice-cream.

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Looking for more plant-based meals?

Check out my new digital cookbook which features 31 plant-based vegan meals. Click here to read more.

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What do you think of this Plant-Based Saint Valentines Day Menu? I’d love to hear from you. Let me know if you made any of the meals. I look forward to hearing from you!