Vegans don’t eat or use animal products, but that shouldn’t exclude them from celebrating Valentine’s Day. Show your vegan Valentine how much you care by surprising him or her with a box of vegan chocolates, a home-cooked vegan meal or another one of these eco-friendly gifts.
Rose City Chocolatier in West Virginia offers an assortment of vegan chocolates that come in pretty, heart-shaped boxes. These chocolate connoisseurs make the vegan confections from fresh, all-natural ingredients that are free of animal products. Order a box online and have them shipped straight to your Valentine. Pangea Vegan Products offers indulgent treats for Valentine's Day such as vegan Belgian dark chocolate, chocolate-covered cherries, vegan chocolate hearts filled with almond butter and a vegan chocoholic gift basket.
Does your Valentine love beauty products but isn't sure which cruelty-free brands to use? Send him or her the Vegan Cuts "beauty box." For up to one year, your vegan Valentine can receive a delivery of cruelty-free beauty products to try each month. If your special someone loves to cook, give him or her "Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook." With over 250 recipes, your Valentine will have plenty of new and delicious vegan recipes to try.
Is your Valentine a new vegan or a vegan hopeful? Give him or her a Go Vegan! gift basket from Pangea Vegan Products. The basket is filled with everything a new vegan needs including a cookbook, snacks and a "Go Vegan!" bumper sticker. Give the ultimate vegan gift by donating to a nonprofit such as Out to Pasture Sanctuary in Oregon, which saves abused, neglected or abandoned animals, including goats, donkeys, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats and dogs. For just as little as $10, you can sponsor one of these animals in your Valentine's name for one month.
Pasta with vegan bolognese sauce: If you're trying to recreate the classic spaghetti scene from "Lady and the Tramp" with your vegan Valentine, then make a bowl of gluten-free pasta topped with hearty, meat-free bolognese sauce. The lentils replace the meat in the sauce, but you can also use vegan meat crumbles from brands such as Neat Foods and Smart Crumbles r(ecipe courtesy of Rhea Parsons via One Green Planet).
- 1 ½ cups of lentils, rinsed
- 3 cups of water
- 1 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of vegan, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
- 28 oz. of diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. of gluten-free pasta
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- Vegan grated parmesan
Add the lentils and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the lentils cook until the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft and mashable. Drain the lentils in a colander to remove any excess water. Using a potato masher, mash the lentils until there are just a few left intact.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat the oil in a large saucepan (that has a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the mashed lentils to the pan, and cook them until they are browned, about five minutes. Use a wooden spoon to break them up and toss them around the pan. When the lentils are browned, add the onions, peppers and garlic to the pan and toss to mix with the lentils. Cook about five minutes until the veggies have softened. Mix in the tomato paste and the Worcestershire sauce. Make sure all the veggies are coated and that the tomato paste smells fragrant. Add in the diced tomatoes, fennel, oregano, paprika and red pepper flakes. Stir everything, cover the pot, and let cook while you make the pasta.
When the water for the pasta is at a rolling boil, add a handful of salt to the pot. Add the pasta, stir it with tongs, and bring the water back to a boil. Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Reserve a cup of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta. Add the starchy cooking water to the sauce, ¼ cup at a time, until you have the consistency you want. Bolognese sauce should be pretty thick. Stir the sauce and let it continue to cook for another five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the Bolognese sauce over the pasta. Garnish with torn basil leaves and vegan parmesan.
Raw vegan chocolate mousse: This vegan dessert is decadently rich, dairy-free, raw and easy to make. Share one with your Valentine or double up the ingredients to make two servings (recipe courtesy of Rachel Campbell via One Green Planet).
- 1 fresh coconut (water/meat)
- 1 cup of avocado
- 1 frozen banana, large
- 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of maca powder
- 4 ice blocks
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Pour into a ramekin and garnish with grated chocolate and cacao nibs.