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This Valentine’s Day, serve him veggies!

Truffle for Valentine's Day

Most of us are familiar with Michael Pollan’s now-famous dictum, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” In fact, more and more scientific research supports the notion that our ultimate health is a product of just that: eating a more plant-based diet and eschewing meat (red or otherwise).

Sadly, with only 3% of males in the U.S. reporting that they “never eat meat,” it’s clear that most of the men in our lives don’t apply Pollan’s rule to their diets. In addition, they certainly wouldn’t name vegetables as their first choice for the ultimate romantic meal on Valentine’s Day.

So how can you introduce more veggies to your loved one this February 14th—in a way that’s not only healthy, but appeals to his meat-loving side as well?  With a little care, a little mystery and a little kitchen magic, it’s possible to serve your honey plant-based dishes that he’ll find just as tantalizing as any artery-clogging steak.

Here’s how to serve up those vegetables, masculine-style:

  • Accessorize Them.  Just as a perfect string of pearls or pair of Jimmy Choo’s can transform an outfit from insipid to irresistible, accessorizing your plant-based dishes with creamy or cheesy sauces and other assertive flavors renders them more enticing to your beef-loving beau. In fact, he’ll barely notice the vegetable base while swooning over the creamy, lush sauce in this romantic rutabaga gratin.
  • Dress Them Up Like Meat. It’s actually quite easy to approximate familiar meaty tastes and textures while offering a whole-foods, plant-based dish. Lasagna filled with faux ground meat is so close to the “real thing,” even the most hardcore burger lover will never know he’s consuming cauliflower; and these Portobello steaks satisfy the macho need for a thick, juicy, slab alongside his salad.
  • Hide Them. If your guy is truly averse to veggies, he doesn’t even have to know they’re there—just purée and hide them inside something else! Vegan lava cakes are the quintessential romantic fare, offering chocolate cake that conceals an oozy, dark ganache center (plus virtually undetectable spinach!). Or how about a spiked sweet potato truffle that tastes like Grand Marnier to cap off an amorous meal?

Feeding your honey foods packed with phytonutrients will prove to him how delicious and satisfying vegetables can be; they’ll also make him feel great and improve his overall nutrition. And you’ll feel happy about getting him to eat more plant-based foods. Because really, what says “I Love You” better than the gift of good health?

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By: Ricki Heller

Ricki Heller is a whole foods chef, TV personality and author of the Canadian bestseller Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar (one of only three cookbooks endorsed on Ellen DeGeneres’ website) as well as three e-cookbooks. She has appeared on Canada AM, Breakfast Television and appears regularly to discuss healthy eating on Rogers’ Daytime and In the Know. She writes the popular food blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs, where she chronicles her ongoing challenges with candida, offers entertaining anecdotes about life, shares sugar-free, vegan, whole-foods recipes and provides a platform for her two chatty lab-border collie cross dogs, Elsie and Chaser. She lives near Toronto with her husband and two “girls.”