I firmly believe nothing says “I love you” quite like some fine wine and dining, and yet, there are still nights I’d rather stay in than get dressed up and go out to eat with my significant other. What can I say? A date night at home is the perfect laid-back alternative to a traditional one, and all you really need is some candles, the right dinner recipes, and delicious wine pairings to really set the mood.
So, if good food and amazing wine are the keys to your heart, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve rounded up 16 dinner recipes that will give you the date night of your dreams right at home. Read on to learn how to bring these recipes to life and which wines to pair them with for your next date night.
For a fun riff on a classic bánh mì sandwich, whip up these pork belly sliders for your next date night. Before cooking, the pork belly is brined in sweet tea to make it extra juicy and flavorful. Although this recipe outlines instructions to make your own rolls, pre-purchased buns work just as well to save some time. To add some extra zing, combine your favorite barbecue sauce with some hoisin sauce and a splash of Zinfandel, then top each slider with the mixture along with a few quick-pickled cucumbers.
If you want a date night meal that’s equal parts healthy and savory, you’re in luck. This honey-glazed salmon is so simple and is ready to eat in 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and combine salted butter, honey, garlic, and soy sauce over medium heat for three minutes to create your glaze. Once you’re done, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and season your salmon with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and your glaze mixture. Finally, bake for 12 minutes and serve fresh alongside veggies, rice, and a chilled white wine.
Making dinner can be a date night activity in and of itself, so why not try your hand at rolling your own sushi? This recipe combines roasted shiitake mushrooms, avocado, cucumber, and red cabbage for a flavorful combination that’s also vegan-friendly and gluten-free. You’ll need a bamboo mat to help you create the rolls, and it may take a few tries to get the hang of it. But once you do, you’ll never have to order takeout sushi for date night again! Once you’re finished rolling, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Nothing screams “date night” quite like pasta and a robust red wine, and this spicy vodka pasta is one of the best dinner recipes for a romantic night in. Although this dish looks and tastes fancy, it is simple to throw together and ready to eat in 30 minutes. The addition of pesto to the vodka sauce makes it extra flavorful and delicious. For a full Italian experience, serve alongside fresh bread and olive oil with garlic, black pepper, and olives.
5. Beef Lo Mein
Sure, you could get this meal to-go, but making it from scratch is all the more romantic, and nothing beats the joy of a home-cooked meal. Half an hour is all you need to bring this meal to life with sirloin, long noodles, water chestnuts, broccoli, carrots, red bell pepper, soy sauce, fresh ginger, and other pantry staples such as red pepper flakes, baking soda, canola oil, and more. Open a bottle of red wine while you’re cooking to improve its aromas, flavor, and overall quality, then serve it alongside your dish.
Baked ziti is one of those date night dinner recipes that’s all but guaranteed to make you and your partner happy. This meatless version swaps ground beef for roasted veggies to make the meal more accessible for everyone. This recipe is creamy, cheesy, and hearty, and it pairs seamlessly with a robust red wine. Since you’ll need an hour and 20 minutes to bring this dish to life, be sure to start it early in the evening or make and freeze it ahead of time if you don’t want to spend the beginning of your date night in the kitchen.
If there’s one thing almost everyone in the world can agree on, it’s that tacos are always a good idea. This recipe combines shrimp cooked in olive oil, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro with tomatillo salsa, broccoli slaw, and avocado crema for a dish that tastes even better than it looks. The fact that it’s also healthy, allergen-friendly, and the perfect complement to a chilled white wine is an added bonus.
Date night dinner recipes should be exciting, which is why this recipe is perfect for your next night in with your significant other. Flavored with white miso, chili paste, and Chinese five spice and topped off with crispy caramelized pork, this ramen can rival any bowl you’d get from your favorite takeout place. Since it’s cooked in the crockpot, you’ll want to start it the morning of. By the time dinner rolls around, you’ll only have a couple more steps before you can sit down with your partner and enjoy a relaxing, cozy meal and a glass of pinot noir.
Maybe it’s the price point or the fact that it pairs flawlessly with a delicious, rich red wine, but there’s something about steak that just screams “romance.” This pan-fried steak recipe pulls out all the stops: it’s juicy, flavorful, and served alongside crispy potatoes and tender asparagus that are cooked right in the pan. Plus, it only takes about 40 minutes to whip up your very own steakhouse dinner.
Chicken parm and red wine go hand in hand, and this recipe has all the delicious flavors of the traditional dish minus the meat. Not only does it take just 20 minutes to cook, but it can also be made and frozen ahead of time for a no-fuss date night meal. All you need is plant-based chicken breasts, panko bread crumbs, spaghetti, marinara sauce, vegan cheese, and an assortment of common herbs and spices to bring this dish to life. Be sure to enhance the atmosphere with some low lighting and candles to really set the mood.
Eating a five-star meal is one thing; whipping it up yourself is another. So, if you want the decadence of a high-quality date night meal with minimal effort, this is one of the best dinner recipes for you. These lettuce wraps are filled with BBQ Asian pork, purple cabbage, fresh nuts, and cilantro and can be thrown in an instant pot and enjoyed within 35 minutes. Plus, they’re sweet, tangy, low-carb, and complement a rich white or juicy red wine beautifully—what’s not to love?
Life is busy, but you won’t lose any precious one-on-one time with your partner thanks to this stuffed pepper casserole. This one-pot meal takes just five minutes to prepare and essentially deconstructs a traditional stuffed pepper by combining rice, ground meat, tomato, and cheese to create an effortless dinner you’ll both love. Be sure to give it the ultimate cherry on top with a glass of a light red wine on the side.
In the mood for a savory Italian meal that’s low on carbs? Look no further. This salad tosses your Italian antipasto favorites (think: salami, mozzarella, artichokes, pepperoni, pepperoncini, and more) in homemade Italian vinaigrette that takes less than 10 minutes to whip up using common kitchen staples such as olive oil, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and lemon juice. For the ultimate chef’s kiss, pair it with a medium-bodied white wine like a pinot grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
You can’t beat chicken cooked on the grill, and this recipe is great for couples who enjoy cooking together. Chill a bottle of white wine while you prepare the balsamic marinade, and dice your chicken breasts into one-inch cubes. Combine the two in a resealable bag and let the mixture chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the grill and prep your veggies. Once your half-hour is up, assemble your kabobs and grill each for about five minutes. Serve right away with your chilled white wine for a light, refreshing, and delectable dinner.
No one wants to be hangry on date night. Loaded with nutritious and filling ingredients, this hearty salad will keep you satiated all night long. It combines classic Mexican-inspired ingredients such as fresh corn, black beans, avocado, lettuce, and homemade tortilla strips. The cilantro-lime dressing is the real MVP though as it brings the meal together. What’s more, you’ll only need to set aside 25 minutes to prep your ingredients and make the dressing before enjoying your salad with a light red wine.
String up some fairy lights, light some candles, and dine al fresco with this creamy one-pot shrimp orzo. The recipe combines shrimp, orzo pasta, fresh basil, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice to create a dinner that’s light, fresh, and flavorful. Plus, it’s so easy to whip up—30 minutes is all you need. Be sure to serve with a chilled white wine or rosé for ultra-romantic vibes.