Cooking your way through a lavish meal for an intimate date night or special occasion might initially seem like a tall order. After all, many people want to impress their significant other with delicious, luxe dishes that they rarely eat otherwise — so you may immediately think of pricey ingredients or a ridiculously complex tasting menu. But creating a memorable-yet-shareable meal for two isn’t as hard as you might think. There can be romance in everyday ingredients and dishes that you don’t have to fret over.
Whether you’re thinking of an elegant fish entrée or a more soulful riff on chicken or steak (or an entirely vegetarian meal!), these light dinner ideas are perfect for sharing. While some of the following recipes can easily be halved in order to make two servings, most of these healthy dinners for two are perfect for a memorable meal-prepped work lunch the next day. You may have to run out for a few fresh ingredients — a filet of steak, a bouquet of herbs, sliced parmesan — but most of these meals come together using kitchen staples you already have on hand. These dinners incorporate lots of lean proteins (salmon, we’re looking at you!) and plenty of hearty vegetables alongside whole grains and other healthy sides. We’re thinking of new ways you can serve them (atop a bed of noodles in a savory broth, perchance?) in order to make something as routine as zucchini feel super special for your cozy meal.
You’ll be happy you didn’t splurge on a night out on the town after making one or two of these delicious recipes for your big night in. Pair these duo dinner ideas with a lighter dessert or a few better-for-you bites to serve with a glass of wine before you both sit down for dinner — you’ll find that a homemade three-course meal feels like it’s made with so much more love than anything you could have ordered elsewhere.