The Perfect Romantic Vegan Dinner – Anytime!

It is often said by people that the way to your partner’s heart is through their stomach.  Unfortunately, there is a limited number of vegan recipes that even the hungriest of people would think about eating.  We have designed a tummy-filling meal with a scrumptious dessert that you are sure to win their hearts and stomachs, making this the perfect romantic vegan dinner.  For the main dish, our vegan spinach stuffed ricotta shells with a mushroom meaty sauce is sure to satiate your hungry partner.  Then we recommend finishing the night with a raw lavender and lemon vegan cheese cake.

The simple main dish will make any vegan and non-vegan question whether the dish is really 100% plant based.

A word of warning: do not be discouraged by the amount of ingredients like I was initially, it really is easy to make and assemble.  You can even prep the dish by making the stuffed shells the night before if you want. For both the main course and dessert, be sure to soak the cashews for at least 6 hours before you put them in the food processor.
You will love how easy the cheesecake is to make, too.  From the first bite, you will immediately taste the lemon, and the subtle taste of lavender. Both of these flavors are well known for being amazing aphrodisiacs.  Who could have imagined a handful of raw, whole foods could create such a beautiful and elegant dish?

100% VEGAN RICOTTA STUFFED SHELLS

INGREDIENTS:

SHELLS
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water*
juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon salt
16 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
21 jumbo shells
1 (25-ounce) jar marinara sauce
1/4 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs + fresh parsley for topping
MEATLESS MEAT SAUCEperfect romantic vegan dinner
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sliced cremini or white mushrooms
1/2 cup red wine
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes with basil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. For the shells: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the box of jumbo shells as directed. It should make more than 21 shells but that’s okay. It’s good to have extra in case some break. Strain the shells, rinse with cold water (so that they don’t stick together) and set aside.
  2. Drain and rinse the presoaked cashews.
  3. Transfer nuts to a blender or a food processor, add the lemon juice and one teaspoon of salt. Blend on high until smooth with a texture similar to ricotta cheese.
  4. Spoon the cashew cheese out into a large bowl and set aside.
  5. Add the defrosted and dried spinach to the bowl with cashew cheese along with the dried herbs, minced garlic and a dash of pepper.
  6. Stir everything together until well-combined.
  7. For the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic; cook about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook until their juices are released and then cooked off, about 10 minutes.
  8. Stir in the wine and raise the heat to high. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid has almost evaporated. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and pepper flakes (if using), reduce heat to low, and simmer for an hour, or until the sauce has thickened. If needed, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to cut the acidity and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Assembly: Preheat the oven to 350°F
  10. Pour thin layer of the marinara over the bottom of a 9 x 13” baking dish.
  11. Scoop the cashew spinach mixture with a spoon into each shell then arrange them in the baking dish.
  12. Spoon the remaining marinara on top, sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs, then cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  13. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Top with fresh parsley, serve warm and enjoy!

CHEESELESS CHEESECAKE DESSERT

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CRUST:
1/2 cup dates
1 1/2 cups walnuts and almonds, soaked for 3-4 hours
FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
3 cups cashews (preferably soaked for 3-4 hours)
3/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup agave/maple syrup
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1-3 teaspoons dried lavender, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod

DIRECTIONS

FOR THE CRUST:
  1. Surround the inside of a cake pan with wax paper or plastic wrap.
  2. Process dates and nuts together until you get a rough, sticky mixture that you can pat down with your hands into the bottom of the cake pan. Do so. Set in fridge.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour onto crust in cake pan and set in the freezer or fridge until it has the hardness you want (probably 3-5 hours or overnight).
  3. Take out of cake pan holding the wax paper or plastic wrap and put on your favorite plate.
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