In the grand scheme of weeks, my husband and I don’t get out very much. We work, we hang out with our son, we repeat. However, our times after our son goes to bed are ones we cherish. It’s the time we unwind. The time we connect with each other about our day. That time is extremely special.
While most nights we eat dinner as a family, some nights I reserve for a ‘date night’. We spend our unwinding around the table, enjoying a meal that’s a bit more involved than our normal dinners. Most of the time I prep ahead and finish while my husband is working his way through bedtime routine. This way, when he’s done, we’re ready to eat.
Think of these ideas as more of a starting place. I just worked my way through the archives and picked out the recipes I most enjoy. Everything has a main, a side vegetable, a salad, and dessert. Every meal is loaded with vegetables and I’m relying on my friends to bring the dessert (because we all have to play to our strengths!)
No 1. The Unusual Flavors Date-Night Dinner.
I’m leading with this set, primarily because it uses some bolder flavors and some less-common produce. I love the spice level with the berbere seasoning and the balance of the tender turnips. Plus, I know people are often looking for more recipes with chard and turnips. Best of all, you could easily swap out the chard and just use turnip greens (a bit more on the bitter side but would work well with the flavor of the berbere!)
No 2. Curry, forever.
I feel like one of the ways I show a person I love them is by making fried cheese. Sometimes that fried cheese is used in tacos, other times, it’s curry. This pumpkin curry has a smooth, velvety sauce which I like to balance with a bit of heat from the chili roasted broccoli.
No 3. A Variation ‘Meat’ and Potatoes.
My husband was never a ‘meat and potato’ kind of guy. However, I find that it’s hard to always escape my Midwestern food upbringing. These dishes are about as close as I get. Lentil bites smothered in a cream sauce provide the ‘meat’ while the romesco potato salad stands in for a more traditional mashed potato.
No 4. Vegan.
I think this might be one of my favorites. This vegan meal shows you don’t need to overload a veg meal with cheese. The risotto’s creaminess comes from a delicious walnut cream while the spicy cauliflower and avocado salad help balance the richness.
No 5. Lemons, Winter’s friend
Winter in California is all about citrus. I love the sunflower cream sauce with the pasta. It’s bright, light, and vegan. Paired with a beautiful persimmon salad and a fun take on beets; it’s hard to go wrong. This meal is sure to put a smile on your face.
No 6. Flavor for all.
Finally, I like to come in with big flavor. Nearly everyone who makes the lentils find it becomes a staple. The flavor is amazing and it’s one of the more filling vegetarian mains. I like to balance this with a lot of vegetables. The green beans are a nice, easy side while the radish salad showcases this beautiful vegetable in a unique and fun way. Don’t miss the teff brownies either- they probably should have been dessert for every meal.
I did not like tomatoes as a child. My mom grew tomatoes in our garden and I always turned up my nose at them. What a missed opportunity to enjoy something so delicious! As an adult with my own garden, I was excited to grow a big harvest this summer. Unfortunately, both tomato plants died before they produced any fruit! If you’re lucky enough to have a homegrown bounty of fresh tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad.
In fact, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad even if you don’t have a vegetable garden. That is, unless you’ve discovered this recipe in the dead of winter and all you can find are bland greenhouse tomatoes. In that case, bookmark this page and come back in summer when tomatoes have the absolute best flavor. I used pearl tomatoes on the vine for this recipe because they’re the perfect bite size when sliced into quarters. Feel free to use whatever tomatoes you have on hand!
This marinated tomato and avocado salad is a fantastic summer recipe whether you’re barbecuing at home or headed out for a picnic. The tomatoes can chill in the fridge while you prep the rest of your feast, making this a really simple recipe to prepare if you’re in charge of multiple dishes. Dice and add the avocado just before serving for the best results.
While incredibly fresh and delicious on its own, there are many ways you can bulk up this marinated tomato and avocado salad if you need to feed a crowd. Try adding cooked quinoa, couscous, or farro. Or, turn it into a pasta salad by adding cooked and cooled shells or penne. I have big plans to spread this salad on crusty bread for a bruschetta-inspired appetizer.
1 or 2 ripe avocados, diced (depending on your preference and the size of your avocados)
⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
Quarter the pearl tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Peel the red onion and cut it in half from tip to root. Place the flat part of the onion on your cutting board and carefully slice it into thin half moons. Add the onion to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Combine the chopped garlic, lime juice, olive oil, agave, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. The marinade should be salty, tangy, and just a tad sweet – adjust the ingredients until balanced.
Pour the marinade over the sliced tomatoes and onion and gently toss to coat. Marinate the tomatoes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, drain any excess liquid from the tomatoes. Tip: if you’re serving this salad with cooked quinoa, couscous, or pasta, reserve the marinade for extra dressing. Transfer the marinated tomatoes and onions to a serving platter and add the diced avocado. Top with chopped cilantro and serve fresh.