Figuring out what to eat for dinner can be a chore on an average night, but it’s even more stressful when you want to create something special for your significant other. There’s a lot of information out there about healthy family dinners but not as much about making your date night delicious and healthy.
We’ve made figuring out what to cook for dinner tonight easy with our list of 10 impressive yet super simple and healthy recipes, ideal for two.
Quick Easy Dinner Ideas: Top Tips
Go for the Garnish
Garnishes that bring your food up to restaurant quality can be inexpensive and easy to prepare. A sprig of parsley or sprinkle of cilantro while plating your meal can show your partner how much “effort” you’ve gone to.
Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry
There are a few ingredients you should always have in your pantry, which will make cooking up a fancy yet healthy meal much simpler:
- Black pepper
- White and red wine vinegar
- Low sodium stock or bouillon powder
- Dried herbs and spices
- Dried rice
- Dried pasta/noodles
Frozen Is as Good as Fresh
When a recipe calls for peas, corn, or even fish, frozen is nearly always as good as fresh. This means you can keep more “luxury” ingredients on hand to impress your date with.
Easy Dinner Recipes for Beginners
These first two recipes can be made by anyone, no matter your skill level. Plus, they’re guaranteed to impress.
Vegan, gluten-free, and an authentic taste of India, chana masala is a healthy and tasty alternative to going out for a curry. Use vegetable oil instead of ghee, skip the yogurt, or use a dairy-free alternative to keep the calorie count down. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or your favorite Indian bread.
Scallops are one of those foods that seem high-end and tricky to cook but are deceptively simple and can be relatively inexpensive. Pan sear dry scallops in a small amount of butter with finely chopped garlic and shallots and serve with a wedge of lemon and a sprig of parsley.
Quick Dinner Recipes
It’s tricky cooking something spectacular when you’re juggling work, kids, the gym, or other commitments. These tasty dinner recipes make it a bit easier, plus they’re ideal if you need quick dinner meals for one.
Fried Rice – Takeaway Style
Weeknight dinner ideas don’t come much simpler than this. Cook then fry rice in a wok, adding your favorite accompaniments. Go vegan with seasonal veggies and herbs. Or add in shrimp, chicken, or pork to match your favorite takeaway fried rice. There are so many options! Plus, plain rice is naturally gluten-free.
Japanese Style Chicken Burgers
A healthy and simple burger recipe combining the flavors of mirin, soy, ginger, and garlic, with a light tempura-style batter. Marinate chicken thighs, roll them in corn starch, fry, and serve in your favorite buns.
Impressive Ideas for Dinner
Cook up something that your partner will remember forever with these ultra-impressive yet healthy dinner recipes.
Italian Style Calzone
For a treat night, there’s nothing quite like pizza to hit the spot. Impress your partner with a traditional calzone made with authentic ingredients. Use store-bought pizza dough, or make your own – you can use a mix of bean or rice flour if you want to go gluten-free. Make your calzone healthier with vegan cheese and veggie options, or add your favorites like pepperoni and Italian sausage.
For those who love going out for steak, cut your dining bill down by about 75% and prepare your own at home. Plus, when you’re in control of the sides, they can be as healthy or as decadent as you want. Air-fry your potatoes, prepare a lightly dressed salad packed with seasonal veggies, and lightly sauté a few mushrooms for the perfect accompaniment to your homemade steak dinner.
Light Dinner Ideas
These next two recipes are what to cook for dinner when you want something special but not too heavy or rich.
Shrimp Zucchini Noodles
Making your own gluten-free zucchini noodles is surprisingly easy! Dress them in lime and coriander and top them with shrimp for a light dinner with a wow factor. Swap out shrimp for marinated and seared tofu for a vegan option.
Couscous is a type of pasta, and there are gluten-free options available in some stores. Cook your couscous, add olives, dried apricots, pomegranate seeds, lime juice, tomatoes, and a drizzle of lemon oil to create a light dish packed with color and flavor.
Seafood Dinner Ideas
A seafood dinner is always romantic, but it doesn’t have to be dripping in a rich sauce or served with fatty sides! Here are some lighter seafood options to add romance to your date night.
We love seabass because it’s so easy to pan-fry and packed with micronutrients and beneficial oils. Plus, it’s high in protein, so it supplements your exercise routine perfectly. Wow your date with a pan-seared seabass fillet, cooked with a few chili flakes and served with a lightly dressed green salad.
Teriyaki is a sweet and salty marinade packed with flavor. Pair it with a juicy salmon fillet and some edamame beans or garlicky broccoli for an Asian-inspired, healthy date night dinner.
We’ve made coming up with date dinner ideas easy with this list of 10 healthy meals for two. We’ve got seafood, vegan options, plus gluten-free meals for romantic nights staying in, all year round.