Don’t have a romantic dinner planned for Valentine’s Day yet? We’ve got you covered. We’ll be sharing 3 quick and easy mains and desserts just in time for the fast-approaching day of love. The best part? These indulgent recipes are as good for your tastebuds as they are for your heath!
Just because you’ve quit sugar doesn’t mean you have to miss out on an indulgent feast this Valentine’s Day. Surprise your significant other – or your friends! – with one of these delicious dinners paired with a rich, chocolately dessert for the ultimate celebration of love and good food. Since we’re going for passion here, we’ll be leaning into southern European influences for some of these hearty mains.
Italian Osso Bucco
It’s no secret that Italians do romance best, that’s why we’d be remiss to leave out the I Quit Sugar rendition of this classic dish! No preservatives here, just real, delicious food. Find the full recipe HERE.
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 1 tbsp garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1 cup beef or chicken stock
- 1 kg beef or veal osso bucco (4 pieces)
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup dry white wine
- salt & pepper
- Season the osso bucco pieces with salt and pepper, and then coat it in flour to cover all sides. Heat oil on high heat, brown it well and set aside.
- Sautee the onion, carrot, celery and garlic on medium heat. Add the wine, stock, tomatoes and bay leaves to the pot and bring to a simmer.
- Return the osso bucco to the pot, and slow cook on low heat for 3 hours, or for 1h in the pressure cooker - until the meat is fork-tender.
- Transfer the osso bucco to a serving platter and serve with a sprinkle of parsley on top, and a side of pasta or mashed potatoes.
Skillet Korean Chilli Chicken Nachos
This is a fun recipe that’s as simple as it is tasty – you’re sure to impress even the pickiest of eaters. It’s also perfect for those of you celebrating with your friends – Galentine’s day, anyone? Get the full recipe HERE.
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup, dissolved in a little hot water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes
- 400 g chicken breast or thighs, diced
- 200 g plain baked corn chips
- 100 g mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1avocado, diced
- Sour cream or full-fat plain or Greek yoghurt, to serve (optional)
- Add the tamari, vinegar, rice malt syrup, olive oil garlic and chilli flakes to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in the diced chicken and coat well.
- Heat a large skillet pan over a medium-high heat. Preferably use a pan with a lid, or steal a large lid from one of your pots. Add in the chicken and the marinade juices to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, or until chicken pieces are cooked through. Cover with a lid to steam the chicken and keep it juicy.
- Add in the corn chips and stir through the chicken. Don’t worry if the corn chips break up a little. Top with the grated cheese and cook until melted, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and top nachos with carrot, cucumber and avocado. Dollop with sour cream or yoghurt to serve. Share between a group - and eat straight from the pan, it always tastes better that way!
Greeks are a passionate bunch, and it shows in the rich, hearty cuisine – this recipe is no exception. The IQS take on moussaka is ready in just 35 minutes and serves 2 in a couple of cute ramekins, making it the perfect accompaniment to your romantic evening for 2. Get the full recipe HERE.
- 1 small (270g) eggplant, cut into 0.5cm thick rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
- 150 g full-fat Greek yoghurt
- 1egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 25 g crumbled feta
- 2 cups of Bolognese, heated
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas Mark 7. Grease 2 individual ovenproof ramekins or dishes.
- Toss eggplant in oil and cinnamon.
- Heat a medium frying pan over medium-hight heat. Fry eggplant on each side in batches, until golden and tender. Drain on paper towel.
- Combine yoghurt, egg and half the cheeses in a small bowl.
- In a separate bowl stir baby spinach leaves through heated bolognese.
- Spoon half bolognese into prepared dishes. Top with half the eggplant slices, followed by remaining bolognaise and remaining eggplant slices.
- Top each dish with yoghurt mixture and remaining cheese, and dust with extra cinnamon. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.
Now it’s time for the sweetest part of the evening – dessert. On Valentine’s Day, the sweet stuff may be more important than the mains! That’s why we’ve collated 3 indulgent recipes for you from The Ultimate Chocolate Cookbook because nothing says romance like chocolate! But just because you’re keen to enjoy indulgent desserts, doesn’t mean you have to give up on your health goals. If you’ve recently quit sugar or are trying to reduce your intake, you’re in luck – these recipes are delicious and they also happen to be good for you too!
Check out more recipes like these in our Ultimate Chocolate Cookbook eBook HERE.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
If you’re keeping animals and their by-products off your plate, there’s no reason you should miss out on the classic mousse! For all the animal lovers out there, we’re sharing this recipe which we guarantee will impress your partner!
- 1 x 400ml can coconut cream
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- cacao nibs, optional
- Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together until well combined and smooth. Pour into 4–6 serving glasses. Sprinkle with cacao nibs if desired.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or until firm.
Hazelnut Chocolate Bombs
These velvety rich chocolate bombs are the best way to finish the night off this Valentine’s Day – with their decadent texture and morish taste, this is the ultimate chocolate indulgence. The best part? The recipe makes 20 balls, so you can pocket a few for yourself for later!
- 4 cups hazelnuts
- 200g dark (85% cocoa) chocolate
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
- 1–2 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract, optional
- Preheat oven to 180 ̊C/350 ̊F/Gas Mark 4. Place all hazelnuts (including ones for filling) on an oven tray. Cook for 8–10 minutes until roasted and skins are beginning to fall off. Cool slightly. Rub skins off using a tea towel.
- Place one cup of hazelnuts and remaining filling ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile place half of the remaining hazelnuts in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Place on a plate.
- Roll filling mixture into balls and insert a whole hazelnut inside each ball working quickly so they don’t melt. Place back in refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Simmer some water in a saucepan on the stove top. Place a heatproof bowl on top and gently melt the chocolate (or melt chocolate in the microwave).
- Dip refrigerated balls into melted chocolate to coat, then sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and place back in refrigerator on a tray lined with baking paper. Allow to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
We’ve honoured the passionate food of the Greeks and Italians, but we’d be remiss to leave out the French! These guys know their desserts, the most romantic of which would have to be the macaroon. These delicate, coconutty desserts will light up any evening dinner plans and you’ll find our recipe is surprisingly simple for the impressive results it yields. Prepare them ahead of time and you’ll only need to drop them in the oven for 15 minutes on the night of Valentine’s Day – enjoy 12 serves of these.
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/3 cup rice malt syrup
- 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 50g dark 85–90% dark chocolate
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Whisk the egg whites and syrup together. Stir in the coconut, quinoa and salt and place in the fridge for 1 hour. Scoop the quinoa mixture into “blobs” and arrange on the prepared baking tray. Use your fingers to mould the blobs into small domes.
- Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Place the macaroons in the fridge for 1 hour to set hard.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and oil, stirring together until combined. Remove the macaroons from the fridge and drizzle the chocolate over them, or dip the tips. Place back onto the baking tray and into the fridge for the chocolate to set – about 10 minutes.
Keen for more recipes like these? Head on over to pick up your copy of the Ultimate Chocolate Cookbook eBook.
If you’ve been struggling to kick a sugar habit to the curb, this Valentine’s Day could be the time to make a change – take the plunge to quit the sweet stuff with your partner for double the benefits. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we use tried-and-true techniques to give up sugar for good. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We’ve also got nutritionists, personal trainers and naturopaths in our team of experts, and they understand what our bodies need and how to best arm ourselves against those cravings. So, if you’ve been having a little trouble keeping that sugar addiction at bay, we’re here to help. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!