The saying “the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach” is pretty much always true, but it’s especially accurate on Valentine’s Day.
Whether you’re cooking for your significant other, friends, family, or yourself, everyone deserves a good Valentine’s Day meal. However, something equally as important as showing our loved ones we care is showing we love them with eco-friendly options.
Navigating holiday-specific recipes with the planet in mind can be tricky. Lucky for you, we have some suggestions on how to make delicious and sustainable Valentine’s Day meals.
4 Ways to Make Valentine’s Day Meals More Eco-Friendly
1. Pick Up Local Ingredients and Decor
Shopping local gives you high-quality food, benefits local supply chains, and positively impacts the environment by minimizing food miles. Not to mention, it’s a much more personalized experience.
When it comes to gifts, groceries, and decorations, try your best to support local businesses. A few ways you can do this is by hitting up your local farmers’ market, thrift stores, and non-chain grocery stores.
And, as always, use what you have first. That red tablecloth you used for Christmas can easily be repurposed for Valentine’s Day, helping the planet and your wallet.
2. Prep the Perfect Eco-Friendly Breakfast in Bed
For breakfast, the possibilities are endless. Take pancakes, for example. All pancakes are naturally vegetarian. You can also use applesauce instead of eggs to make a veganized version. Top your stack with fruit, nuts, and/or chocolate chips and they’ll be melt-in-your-mouth good. There are also store-bought vegan pancake mixes available.
If you’re part of the .001% of the population that doesn’t like pancakes, don’t worry—there are still many other options available. Biscuits, omelets, cinnamon rolls, and so many more breakfast staples are naturally vegetarian (and can be veganized, too). You could even make these vegan eggs! And if you’re cooking meat, you can look into ethically-sourced options using this guide.
3. Make Eco-Friendly Charcuterie Boards
When it comes to lunch and dinner, there’s a plethora of directions you can go in. However, as big fans of grazing boards, we’re going to talk about how to make a sustainable option.
Start by trying to find ethical and locally-sourced ingredients and/or products to build your dream grazing board. Add bread or crackers (or, let’s be honest, both) and vegan cheese from brands like Daiya, Miyoko’s Creamery, Violife, and Field Roast. You can even find meatless salami from the brand Hellenic Farms.
Finish things off by piling on nuts, fruit, veggies, and dipping sauces. You can even get extra fancy and make it heart-shaped, as shown in our roundup of eco-friendly Valentine’s Day decor.
4. Whip Up a Delicious Dessert
Dessert is the best part of Valentine’s Day, hands down. And many traditional desserts are already vegetarian. If you want something store-bought, there are millions of pre-made desserts ranging from Trader Joe’s Heart-Shaped Macarons (so cute!) to Taza Chocolate’s True Love Trio Boxes. If you’re a baker, there are homemade options you can make, too.
There are so many chocolate recipes you can make with minimal effort. Vegan cakes, cupcakes, and brownies are easy to make, delicious, and sustainable. One recipe that comes to mind is a vegan red velvet cake. You can easily substitute ingredients like eggs and butter with things like applesauce. Another crowd favorite is vegan banana bread. Extra bonus: It’s also a great way to use overly-ripe bananas.
If baked goods aren’t your thing, vegan or ethically sourced chocolates can make anyone’s day. Sustainable Valentine’s Day, here you come.
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