We all know that sometimes eating out while following an AIP (or even straight-up paleo) diet isn’t always the easiest. So what are two love birds to do when Valentine’s Day — one of the holidays probably most well-known for romantic nights out on the town — comes around?
Well, for the first couple years that I was sick and trying to heal, my wife and I would actually stay in and I’d cook a romantic dinner at home. Nothing wrong with AIP steaks, crab legs and sweet potatoes! 🙂 I always felt like this was a great way to celebrate the evening without risking either of us getting sick from prix fixe restaurant menus or whatnot.
So this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share something with you that would not only make for a romantic stay-at-home dinner for two, but that would be affordable, too! This main course + dessert comes in right under $25 for two, which makes my heart go boom boom!
What’s on the menu
For our entree course, we have a strawberry-glazed salmon with rosemary parsnips. There’s just something about strawberries that scream “LOVE ME!” so you really can’t go wrong here.
Then, for dessert, we move on to a mojito-inspired coconut yogurt parfait, served with layers of honey, chopped mint, and lime zest. It’s a real palate cleanser, and the fun flavors will make you feel like you’ve just stepped out of the fanciest restaurant in your hometown. 😉
Now that your taste buds are awake, shall we move onto the recipes? We shall!
- 1Lb or 2 fresh salmon fillets, preferably skin-on
- 1Lb parsnips
- 2 Cups chopped strawberries
- 1 Cups balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
- 2 springs fresh rosemary, chopped
- Olive Oil
- Garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste
- 2, 14 oz. cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon Inner-Eco Fresh Coconut Water Probiotic, vegan yogurt starter, or 2 capsules of your favorite multi-strain probiotic. I used Inner Eco in this recipe – you can buy small “on-the-go” shooters for a couple dollars, which is perfect for this recipe.
- Zest of 1 lime
- 4-5 leaves of fresh mint
- 2+ tablespoons local honey
- 1 oven-safe, airtight container (such as mason jar)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Start with the glaze, as it will take the longest to cook down.
- Sautee the strawberries and garlic in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Use a skillet with a large surface area (rather than something deep like a saucepan). Add the balsamic vinegar and ginger knob. Simmer on medium while you prepare the rest of the meal (should reduce by more than half over the next 30 minutes).
- Many strawberry-balsamic glaze recipes call for mustard, so the fresh ginger helps provide that “zing” in an AIP-friendly version.
- Wash parsnips, cut off tops and end then peel, if desired. Coat generously with olive oil, salt, and chopped fresh rosemary. If the parsnips are more than and 1 ½ in diameter, you may want to cut in half so they cook a little faster.
- Lightly brush the salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Put salmon and parsnips into the oven for 25 minutes. Your salmon may be done in about 20 minutes if your fillets aren’t very thick, so keep an eye on them (done when the thickest part reaches 145 degrees).
- By the time everything is done baking, your glaze should be thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. If not, keep reducing until it’s almost syrup-y. Remove the ginger knob. Strain, if desire (I prefer to keep the strawberry chunks in, though!).
- Plate your salmon and parsnips, then spoon the glaze over the salmon. Finish with a light sprinkle of salt and olive oil.
- The night before your dinner, skim off the solid cream of the coconut milk into a food processor. Aim to have enough to fill at least 2/3 a standard mason jar (you may need to chill your coconut milk or use a third can if you have less solid cream). Add the probiotics and blend.
- Put into the jar and place into the oven with the oven light on for 24 hours. This will be almost a perfect 100 degrees for fermentation! Do not turn on your oven – if it’s too warm, the cultures will die. I did this after work one day, then left it to ferment until I came home the next day. Perfect timing!
- Place into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.
- Serve with layers of honey, chopped mint, and lime zest. Feel free to add toppings such as coconut or berries, too!
- You can save time by buying your favorite brand of AIP-friendly coconut yogurt (like CoYo). However, making it yourself is easy, affordable, and will have much more of a zing!
- Be aware that the fermentation process for the yogurt does take 24 hours, so be sure to prepare and make it a day ahead on the 12th or 13th of February!
And because I love you, here’s some extra process shots if you’re interested!