All week long, we're sharing Valentine's Day dinners for two -- grab your partner or your bestie, and make a meal worthy of your love.
Today: For the vegetarian and vegan lovebirds -- or for the laid-back duo.
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A lot of things can come to mind when you picture a romantic dinner: candles, violin music, maybe a gondola ride. But by the time you've painstakingly lit every candle, tuned the violin, and arranged for your friend who used to row crew to dress up like a gondolier, you'll probably be too tired to even open your mouth for a bite of food -- let alone sweet nothings.
Scrap all that. Sure, tacos are unconventional, but the spicy, umami-laden filling is as satisfying as the fact that your significant other is as happy to dodge convention as you are. A warming margarita finishes the meal and could be the perfect way to end the night (gondola ride down the Hudson, excluded).
Here's how to make your meal:
Decide which partner has better motor skills. Feel free to engage in a few rounds of rock, paper, scissors, or maybe a thumb war. The loser is in charge of the food processor for the rest of the night. Place the walnuts in the processor for the lentil walnut crumble; pulse 2 to 3 times to break them down. Add the tamari, 1 clove of garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and pulse 2 or 3 more times. Toss in the lentils and pulse, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed, until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated and crumbly.
Meanwhile, whoever didn't get their thumb pinioned gets to shred the red and green cabbage. While they're at it, said person should also chop the scallions, then slice the poblano pepper into halves, de-seed, and dice. Combine all the vegetables in a mixing bowl, then whisk together the 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons of the freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 small clove of garlic, and the agave. Pour it onto the slaw, mix well, and sprinkle with a dash of red pepper flakes if desired.
Whoever finishes first gets to warm up the taco shells or tortillas. Runner up should meander over to the bottle of tequila. Combine the tequila, triple sec, 2 1/4 ounces of the remaining fresh lime juice, grapefruit juice, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Have the non-shaker dip the rims of chilled rocks glasses into chile salt. Strain and garnish with lime wheels.
Grab a taco shell, fill it with the crumble, top with a generous helping of the slaw, and drink to your no-stress dinner!
1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce 1/2 cup roughly chopped oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils 2 cups green cabbage 2 cups red cabbage 2 scallions 1 poblano pepper 1/2 cup cilantro leaves 2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup 8 corn taco shells or tortillas 2 1/4 ounces + 2 tablepoons fresh lime juice, plus another lime, cut into wheels, for garnish 2 1/4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice 4 1/2 ounces tequila 2 1/4 ounces triple sec
You probably already have garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes in your pantry. If you’re low, add them to the list.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).