Impressing your sweetie on the big day doesn’t mean you need to blow your diet. Take a crack at a few of these easy dinner ideas that are as healthy as they are sensual.
1. Oysters on the half shell
Studies show that oysters contain certain amino acids, known for increasing various hormones. It’s true: oysters are an aphrodisiac.
Even if you’re not interested in getting your love’s heart pumping that fast, you can still please his or her palate. Oysters are easy, tasty and extremely healthy.
These little beauties are low in calories and contain lots of vitamins and minerals that keep your body as strong as your physiological drive. Plus, oysters are best in colder months because they tend to spawn in the summer, making them much smaller from May through August.
Get a dozen or so oysters (more is a little overwhelming, less is just a tease) and crack them open using an oyster knife. Your fishmonger can help you with technique as oysters tend to be a little tricky to open. Garnish them with a little horseradish or fresh lemon. Just make sure that your date is not allergic to seafood—nothing will kill the mood faster than a trip to the emergency room.
2. Tuna tartar
Seafood is extremely healthful, and tuna tartar is a great way to impress any date. Tuna is packed with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids that have been known to regulate weight and promote the healthy mood.
Get an extremely fresh cut of sushi-grade tuna. Chop the tuna into small pieces. Pour a cup of good olive oil into a separate bowl, and add lime juice, soy sauce, and wasabi into the bowl.
Add the raw tuna, and stir until the tuna is coated. You can use a cookie cutter to make a beautiful presentation. Place the cookie cutter (preferably a heart-shaped cutter) on a plate, and press the tuna mixture into the cutter. Carefully remove the cutter, and garnish the tuna tartar with avocado slices and arugula lettuce.
3. Caprese salad
One of the easiest and most impressive salads you can make at home is the Caprese salad. Since most people do not have allergies to mozzarella, olive oil or tomatoes, it is a sure-fire hit.
The most important part of the Caprese salad is to make sure that you are using the best quality ingredients since so few ingredients are used. Pump up the flavor and impress him/her even more by using burrata cheese. Burrata is similar to mozzarella; it has the same, soft subtle taste, but the outside is firm while the inside is smooth and creamy.
Simply chop a few tomatoes and arrange them on a plate. Add a little salt and pepper. Place a dollop of burrata on each slice of tomato. Chop fresh basil very thin, and sprinkle the basil on the salad like you would cheese on a plate of pasta. Drizzle the olive oil over the salad, and you’re done! Caprese is great because it takes very little time to prepare, and it’s practically foolproof.
4. Pomegranate salad
If you want to get a little more creative, try a pomegranate salad with pomegranates, pears, goat cheese and arugula. All ingredients are low in calories.
Pomegranates have powerful antioxidants that can promote healthy skin, fight cancer and aid in weight loss. Goat cheese is a great alternative to the more typical gorgonzola or Roquefort cheese traditionally used in this salad.
Fewer people have allergies to goat cheese than cow’s milk or cheese, and goat cheese has less of an odor. Buy pomegranate seeds that have already been plucked from their fruits. This will help to reduce the time you spend getting it ready and is worth a few extra dollars. Chop the pears in thin slices.
Place one-to-two cups of arugula in each bowl. Place the pear slices on the arugula. Sprinkle the goat cheese and pomegranate seeds over the salad. To make a simple dressing, whisk in equal parts mustard, olive oil, and agave syrup together in a bowl and drizzle over the salad.
Lobster is the ultimate show-stopping meal. It’s healthy, it has very few calories and it certainly makes a statement. Plus, it’s extremely easy to prepare since your guest will do all the hardest work—cracking this crustacean open.
Lobsters are packed with protein and they are full of vitamins and minerals. As long as they aren’t laden in fatty sauces, they are a light and low-calorie dinner that will keep you from feeling bloated later. To cook a lobster, simply boil a large pot of water. Take two fresh lobsters and add them to the pot. Top the pot with a lid, and boil for about 15 minutes. Cool the lobsters and serve them with a tablespoon of melted butter or a tangy low-fat dressing.
Salmon is as easy to cook as it is healthy. A good cut of salmon is a little more expensive than a basic whitefish, so it’s somewhat more appealing on special occasions.
Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are not only health but also make skin clearer, nails stronger and hair shinier. You can eat salmon in the weeks before Valentine’s Day, and you won’t need to spend the day primping to get ready.
To prepare a simple salmon dish, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place salmon steaks on the baking sheet, skin-side down and season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes. The fish should pull away easily from the skin.
7. Mushroom risotto
Risotto gets a bad rap of being a difficult dish to master as well as a calorie black hole. Reinvent your risotto with a healthy version. Your date will think you have mad risotto skills, too.
Mushrooms have a lot of vitamin D and can boost your immune system. Use a variety of mushrooms, like shiitake, Portobello, and button to enhance the depth of flavor in this dish. Chop two cups of mushrooms into thin slices. Heat two cups of chicken stock in a saucepan over low heat.
In a sauté pan or skillet, cook the mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add a little of the chicken stock. In another skillet, add a cup of Arborio rice to a tablespoon of butter. Allow the rice to get a little toasty, and add ½ cup of white wine. Slowly start to ladle chicken stock into the rice, and cook for about 25 minutes. Add the mushrooms and top with parmesan cheese.
8. Asparagus tips
If you’re looking for an easier side dish, stick with asparagus tips. Asparagus has fiber, folate and plenty of vitamins. Plus, they’re low in calories. Cut the tips off a bunch of asparagus and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Pop asparagus into a 375 degree oven and cook for 15 minutes. Squirt a little lemon over the asparagus for added depth of flavor.
9. Chocolate mousse
Dark chocolate has plenty of antioxidants and may lower your cholesterol. For an easy homemade dessert, simply melt dark chocolate in a double boiler.
Once the chocolate is melted, fold it into a pint of fat-free whipped cream for a low calorie dessert that feels especially decadent and is sure to impress your better half. Garnish with a few raspberries.
10. Chocolate-dipped strawberries
Strawberries are low in calories and have tons of vitamin C. For a simple, romantic dessert, melt a bar of dark chocolate in a double boiler or fondue pot. You and your sweetie can dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate with a little champagne to wash them down.