Valentine’s Day Recipes to Adore

By Ann Foster Thelen

Cupid would be smitten with these hand-selected recipes, each perfect for a Valentine’s Day celebration at home you’ll simply adore.

Romance is in the air in February. And if food is your sweetheart's love language, we have wrapped up a special gift of six new recipes, each perfect for making hearts race with the anticipation of a delightful meal.

With Valentine's Day on the menu this month, if you’re planning a night in with your sweetie or a special meal for family, these delicious dishes will make your meal just as memorable as if you had gone out. Cooked with love, each recipe celebrates foods that we adore. From traditional meals to a special dessert, these dishes are romantic and easy to make. They would even make Cupid smitten.

Add a bouquet of fresh flowers to your table at home, light some candles, turn on your favorite music and relax with flavorful foods that make it feel like you’re at a five-star restaurant.

Like you, Iowa’s farmers love delicious foods and embrace their role in bringing nutritious meals like these to your table. We cherish the role of Iowa’s farmers in loving the land and having passion for growing and raising fresh ingredients.

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Tomato Avocado Egg Salad
Photo credit: Iowa Egg Council

Tomato Avocado Egg Salad | Iowa Egg Council

Start dinner with the perfect salad. Served on a bed of spinach, hard-boiled eggs, chopped tomatoes and avocados, and a garnish of parsley or cilantro, this is a beautiful and nutrient-rich salad. An easy-to-prepare homemade dressing adds creamy flavor with a dash of heat. You’ll steal hearts with the first course! Find the recipe here.

A Food to Love: There is so much to love in every perfectly shaped oval of this nutritional powerhouse! One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, and high-quality protein, all for 70 calories. Eggs also have a significant amount of Vitamin D, which is critical for bone health and immune function. Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D. In addition, eggs contain choline, essential for the normal functioning of all cells but particularly important during pregnancy to support the healthy brain development of the fetus.


Pomegranate Steak with QuinoaPhoto Credit: Iowa Beef Industry Council

Pomegranate Steak with Quinoa | Iowa Beef Industry Council

Tender and lean beef strip steak is marinated in pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar and herbs – including rosemary and thyme – and then served with quinoa and more pomegranates for a garnish. It’s a colorful, bright and festive dish that everyone will adore. Packed with protein from beef and quinoa, this dish is like a love letter for your health. Those you cherish will be head-over-heels for this meal. Find the recipe here.

A Food to Love: When it comes to beef and your health, you can fall in love with the fact that beef contains important nutrients that your body needs – plus, it’s delicious. In just one 3-ounce cooked serving (about the size of a deck of cards), you’re getting 10 essential nutrients, including about half your Recommended Daily Value for protein!


Mediterranean Stuffed PeppersPhoto Credit: Iowa Pork Producers Association

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers | Iowa Pork Producers Association

Filled with flavor, protein and fresh ingredients, Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers are easy to make. They will make hearts race with anticipation when the aroma of ingredients wafts from the kitchen. Festive red peppers are the cooking vessel for a savory combination of ground pork, tomatoes, rice, and spices like cinnamon and marjoram. Your valentine or family will instantly fall for the warm flavors of this dish. Find the recipe here.

A Food to Love: If you're looking for a good source of high-quality protein full of nutrients, consider pork. Each 3-ounce serving of ground pork contains about 20 grams of protein. It’s also an affordable protein with tremendous versatility in recipes for every meal of the day. Ground pork soaks up any flavor you add to it. It’s available with an average lean-fat ratio of 70% lean, 30% fat, making it a great choice in your favorite recipes. Always good cook ground pork to 160 degrees F or according to label directions.


Miso and Jalapeno Glazed Petite Tender Shoulder with Tofu Frites & Roasted Garlic Soy Aioli
Photo Credit: The Soyfoods Council

Miso and Jalapeno Glazed Petite Tender Shoulder with Tofu Frites & Roasted Garlic Soy Aioli | The Soyfoods Council

This recipe satisfies every love language of food – melt-in-your-mouth tender beef combined with a savory and perfectly salted glaze of miso, sherry, green jalapeno and serrano hot sauce, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Garnished with candied jalapenos, it’s easy to be in love with this dish! Tofu frites and a roasted garlic soy aioli add to the delightfulness of this complete meal.

A Food to Love: Tofu is a soft food similar to the texture of cheese that comes from the coagulated protein in soymilk. It’s highly versatile and has multiple uses in cooking. Tofu is a complete protein – meaning that it has a well-balanced amino acid profile – in addition to fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. Find the recipe here.


Crunchy Turkey Tacos
Photo Credit: Iowa Turkey Federation

Crunchy Turkey Tacos | Iowa Turkey Federation

Make date night a taco night with these quick and easy Crunchy Turkey Tacos. Ground turkey is seasoned with spices and the store-bought salsa of your choice to create a delicious base for your tacos. Grab a crunchy shell and top it with your favorite taco fixings. Taco-bout another thing to adore, this meal comes together in less than 30 minutes! Find the recipe here.

A Food to Love: Turkey contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid needed for normal growth in infants and the production and maintenance of the body’s proteins, muscles, enzymes and neurotransmitters. The body uses tryptophan to help make melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and serotonin is thought to help regulate appetite, sleep, mood and pain. Despite the popular notion that tryptophan makes you tired, many experts say that's a myth.


Chocolate Yogurt Cake with Coffee Glaze
Photo Credit: Midwest Dairy

Chocolate Yogurt Cake with Coffee Glaze | Midwest Dairy

Who says you can’t have your coffee and cake and eat them too?! Give your valentine a special food gift with this lush chocolate yogurt cake recipe. Not only does yogurt give baked goods a fine tangy flavor, but its acidity works with baking soda to lift cakes as they bake. Top all that lofty softness with a drizzle of fine coffee glaze and be ready for this chocolate yogurt cake to disappear. This cake may be served warm or cold and is particularly delicious with a scoop of your favorite ice cream and a tear of fresh mint. If you can’t find bourbon extract, substitute it with actual bourbon or whiskey. Hearts are sure to melt with this amazing dessert. Find the recipe here.

A Food to Love: Yogurt provides essential nutrients such as calcium, protein, phosphorus and, when fortified, vitamin D that help maintain healthy bones throughout life. Calcium and vitamin D are especially important during childhood and adolescence to help achieve peak bone mass. Reaching peak bone mass is associated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis later in life. Since many teens and postmenopausal women do not meet current calcium and dairy food recommendations, eating yogurt can help fill that gap.