Hack Beast Mode
As Valentine's Day creeps closer, let's break free from the same old predictable routines.
Say goodbye to the clichéd roses, crowded restaurants, and Oscar-nominated movie…you know, the usual. It's time to unleash your culinary creativity.
Instead of wrecking your diet and breaking the bank at some fancy overpriced restaurant, let's whip a phenomenal, physique-friendly meal that’s packed with protein, all nine essential amino acids, and essential nutrients.
If your sweetheart happens to be fitness-minded like you, they’ll totally understand the importance of sticking to your macros and high-protein diets.
How much protein will it take to win your partner's heart? Let’s find out.
We’ve compiled a list of Valentine’s Day recipes that offer a little bit of everything and fit perfectly into your high-protein diet.
Whether it’s a main dish or a quick-fire plate—there’s something here that even picky eaters will love.
If you’re tracking your macros, looking for high-protein meals or just want something amazing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your better half—this list of great dinner ideas is for you.
So roll up those sleeves, prepare those foods high in protein, and get ready to impress your special someone with a meal that fits into a healthy diet while winning their heart.
Oh, and the best thing is—these delicious dishes boast low levels of saturated fat and offer a hefty protein intake.
Let’s dive in.
1. Almond-&-Lemon-Crusted Fish with Spinach
Cook time: 25 minutes
Nutrition facts (per serving): 244 calories, 12g fat, 8g carbs, 27g protein
Nutrition profile: High protein, dairy-free, low-carb, low-calorie, low-added sugar
Take your average fish and turn it into a complete protein masterpiece. Coating fish with nuts and baking it is the ultimate foolproof way to boost your cooking game with elegance.
Plus, it's even better when you pair it with a mild white fish like cod or halibut.
When you cook spinach with some tangy lemon juice—it might turn a little yellowy, but don't sweat it—what you might lose in the vibrant green color, you'll more than make up for with an explosion of amazing flavor.
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
- ½ cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 1/4 pounds cod (see Tip) or halibut, cut into 4 portions
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, slivered
- 1 pound baby spinach
- Lemon wedges for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Combine lemon zest, almonds, dill, one tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Place fish on the prepared baking sheet and spread each portion with one teaspoon of mustard. Divide the almond mixture among the portions, pressing it onto the mustard.
- Bake the fish until opaque in the center for about seven to nine minutes, depending on thickness.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining two teaspoons of oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in spinach, lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; season with pepper.
- Cook, stirring often, until the spinach is just wilted, two to four minutes. Cover to keep warm. Serve the fish with the spinach and lemon wedges, if desired.
2. Filet Mignon for Two with Sweet Potato Mash
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Nutrition profile: High protein, low calorie, nut free, egg free, nut free, healthy immunity
Nutrition facts (per serving): 468 calories, 24g fat, 32g carbs, 32g protein
Can you smell that? Well, that’s romance. Imagine a sizzling steak topped off with a small quantity of compound butter seasoned with garlic and herbs, a healthy dose of essential amino acids and multiple grams of protein. Voila.
On the side, we've got some roasted broccolini, adding that perfect splash of color and nutrients to the plate. And let's not forget about the mashed sweet potato, creamy and delicious, just waiting to be devoured.
Fancy white meat instead? Swap the steak for skinless chicken breast.
- 1 tablespoon butter, slightly softened
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and/or chives
- 1 small sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- ¼ cup low-fat milk
- ¾ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and halved lengthwise if large
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 4-ounce filet mignon steaks, about 1 1/4 inches thick
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Combine butter, garlic and herbs in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add sweet potato, cover and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add milk, one teaspoon of herb butter, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Mash with a large fork or potato masher to the desired consistency. Cover and keep warm.
- Toss broccolini with two teaspoons of oil, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Place the broccolini on one half of a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Pat steaks dry with a paper towel and season both sides with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat the remaining two teaspoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the steaks, turning once, until browned on both sides, one to two minutes per side. Remove the broccolini from the oven and stir. Place the seared steaks on the empty half of the baking sheet. Return to the oven and roast until the broccoli has softened and the steaks are cooked to your (or your partner’s) taste. Transfer each steak to a plate and top each one with one teaspoon of the herb butter. Serve with the broccolini and mashed sweet potato.
3. Roasted Salmon with Smoky Chickpeas & Greens
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Nutrition profile: High protein, low calorie, low added sugar, omega-3, bone-health
Nutrition facts (per serving): 447 calories, 22g fat, 23g carbs, 37g protein
Healthy, delicious and headlined by protein-rich foods, this sultry salmon dinner will have your partner's taste buds dancing with joy.
Not only will you be feasting on some scrumptious salmon, but we're also throwing in a dose of greens and a zesty green dressing to take this meal to the next level.
Did you know? Eating dark leafy greens can be a game-changer for your brain? Yep, you heard it right.
Studies show that chowing down on six or more servings of these leafy greens each week can help keep your brain in top shape.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided, plus a pinch
- 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives and/or dill, plus more for garnish
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 10 cups chopped kale
- ¼ cup water
- 1 ¼ pounds wild salmon, cut into 4 portions
- Position racks in upper third and middle of oven; preheat to 425 degrees F.
- Combine one tablespoon of oil, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Very thoroughly pat chickpeas dry, then toss with the paprika mixture. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the chickpeas on the upper rack, stirring twice, for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, puree buttermilk, mayonnaise, herbs, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and garlic powder in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add kale and cook, stirring occasionally, for two minutes. Add water and continue cooking until the kale is tender, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in a pinch of salt.
- Remove the chickpeas from the oven and push them to one side of the pan. Place salmon on the other side and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, five to eight minutes.
- Drizzle the reserved dressing on the salmon, garnish with more herbs, if desired, and serve with the kale and chickpeas.
4. A high-protein dessert to try this Valentine's Day
Red Velvet Protein Cake
Cook Time: 75 minutes
Nutrition facts (per serving): 148 calories, 4g fat, 12g carbs, 15g protein
If you're not a fan of artificial food coloring and want to avoid insane amounts of sugar in your cakes, we have a treat for you.
Get ready to indulge in the ultimate red velvet protein cake that will blow your mind and taste buds. And guess what? It's made with roasted beets, giving it that gorgeous vibrant color and ultra-moist texture.
Beets in a cake? We know—that doesn't sound very romantic. But trust us, the beet flavor is incredibly subtle and blends amazingly well with the cream cheese frosting.
If you're a little hesitant to try beets in your cake, we’ve got a backup plan for you. Just substitute an equal measure of baked sweet potato and add one to two tablespoons of red food coloring.
- 80 g chocolate protein powder
- ⅓ cup Pyure organic stevia blend
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup tapioca flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp table salt
- 2 roasted beets
- ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup egg whites
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp butter extract
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Scrub and trim two medium beets, and wrap in tin foil. Place in a baking dish and bake for one-and-a-half to two hours until pierced easily with a fork (the longer you bake, the more the natural sugars develop and the sweeter your beets will taste). This step can be done up to a day in advance.
- Reduce oven temp to 350 F.
- Scrape off outer skins of your beets and add to the blender along with yogurt, egg whites, and other wet ingredients. Blend until smooth.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: protein powder, sweetener, flour, starch, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Add beet mixture from blender to dry ingredients and mix until no clumps remain.
- Lightly coat two six-inch ramekins or Pyrex bowls or one nine-inch cake pan with cooking spray.
- Pour the batter into prepared vessels and place in a preheated oven.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean.
- While cakes cool, combine frosting ingredients and place in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Frost cakes and garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to one month.
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Think unlocking beast mode—fast. And if your loved one wants to build some serious muscle, they’ll love it.
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