Are you looking for some spark-inducing recipes for a Valentine’s Day dinner? Steam up the kitchen — and the bedroom — by creating a menu from foods known throughout history as aphrodisiacs. Check out these ten mouth-watering dishes, each containing one or more ingredients that will get the blood flowing … everywhere.
Oysters: Angels on Horseback
Ever since a Greek poet described Aphrodite and Eros rising from the sea on a bed of oysters, these humble mollusks have been associated with sexual virility. And there may in fact be some science behind the myth. Oysters contain amino acids that produce dopamine, a brain chemical that makes us feel good. Oysters are also high in zinc, which can indirectly raise testosterone levels. Angels on Horseback is a super-easy appetizer that wraps canned, smoked oysters in crispy bacon. Check out this recipe from the blog Mark’s Daily Apple.
Celery: Apple and Celery Salad
In ancient times, celery was used as an aphrodisiac, and for good reason! Celery increases aldosterone, which increases male pheromones. Pheromones are the subtle scents emitted by humans and animals to attract a mate. Try this crunchy apple and celery salad from the Food 52 Blog. Who knows? It just might work!
Chiles and Avocados: Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chilies have long been touted as an aphrodisiac, and it’s not just because they are the color of love. Chili peppers stimulate endorphins, the body’s opiate-like, feel-good chemicals, and can increase your heart rate. Avocados, also included in this recipe, were a powerful fertility symbol for the Aztecs (who thought this fruit was so intoxicating that they ordered that their virgin daughters be kept indoors during the avocado harvest). This chicken tortilla soup recipe from the PaleOMG! blog has just the right combination of both.
Honey: Honey Chili Chicken
Impress your partner with this honey chili chicken recipe from the My Kitchen Treasures blog. The chilies will boost endorphins, and honey has quite the history as well. In medieval Persia, couples drank mead, a drink made from fermented honey, for a month after getting married. This was called the “honey month,” from which some believe the term "honeymoon” is derived.
Mint: Grilled Skirt Steak with Herb Salsa Verde
If your dining partner is a carnivore, this skirt steak dish from the Marin Mama Cooks blog will be a hit! The salsa is composed of fresh herbs, including mint. Mint contains menthol, which has stimulating properties, and its characteristic aroma has been shown to increase concentration. This herb was considered to be such a potent aphrodisiac by Aristotle that he recommended it not be served to soldiers before battle. Besides, mint gives you fresh breath, which won’t hurt your chances.
Asparagus: Marinated Grilled Asparagus
Once you have the grill fired up, you can cook up a veggie side dish of sexy asparagus. Long regarded as an aphrodisiac, asparagus contains Vitamin E, which promotes youth and stimulates sex hormone production. Asparagus is also perfect for feeding your partner. In this recipe the asparagus is marinated, then grilled in a foil packet for easy clean up. Check out the recipe on the Gourmet Girl blog.
Vanilla: Crème Brûlée
Studies have shown that men are aroused by certain homey scents, including lavender, pumpkin pie and vanilla. Vanilla has quite the reputation, and it’s not only the scent that promotes desire. In the 1700s, alchemists prescribed vanilla as a medicine to insure male potency. Try this creamy crème brûlée recipe from the Remodelholic blog for a sensual dessert that will tickle your nose, taste buds, and maybe something else.
Chocolate: Heart-Healthy Chocolates
Chocolate has long been known as a gift for lovers, and for good reason. Chocolate contains a substance that raises endorphins in the brain, decreasing stress and promoting feelings of well-being. Phenylethylamine, another component found in chocolate, is sometimes called the “love drug” because it raises your heart rate and causes feelings of excitement, similar to being in love. Try this recipe for heart healthy chocolates from the Momstown Meals blog.
Pomegranates and Champagne: Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
Popping open a bottle of bubbly just shouts celebration. But in addition to its festive feel, champagne has slightly lower alcohol content than regular wine. Drinking alcohol can lower inhibitions, but too much can affect performance — or just put you or your lover to sleep. This cocktail also contains pomegranate juice, which has been shown to increase testosterone levels in both genders. Try this pomegranate champagne cocktail from the Shiksa blog.
Walnuts: Tomato-Walnut-Basil Pasta
If you and your partner are vegans, the pasta recipe will make a perfect meal. Angela, of Oh She Glows blog, created this dish especially for V-Day. Walnuts have been revered as aphrodisiacs since Roman times. They contain omega fatty acids, which promote good cholesterol and overall heart health. These powerhouse nuts add to their reputation with arginine, an amino acid that can enlarge blood vessels and improve blood flow throughout the body.
Have a Happy Valentine's Day!