Guest Posts

    What to Cook for Your Next Date Night: from Holly of The Healthy Everythingtarian

    11th July 2013

    Guys, when was the last time you cooked for a date?

    And I’m not talking ordering a pizza, or any recipe that involves the use of a George Foreman grill.

    …I thought so.

    holly-style-girlfriendThat’s why I called in the big guns to help you on your next “Show ‘em how domestic you can be” evening at home.

    Holly of The Healthy Everythingtarian is a good friend of mine and fellow Midwesterner. She knows how to make amazing, healthy food…and also knows how to enjoy herself.

    Just like me, she believes in a healthy lifestyle, but isn’t about to sacrifice what she loves – like cheese curds and beer.

    I asked her for an easy, healthy, and most importantly, delicious meal for you to cook on your next date night.

    Men, it’s time to take note: what you wear is just one part of the equation to personal style. Looking and feeling our best requires that we pay attention to what we both put on AND in our bodies.

    That’s where I come in.

    My name is Holly, and I write The Healthy Everythingtarian. It’s my humble corner of the Internet where I create healthy recipes and talk about how I wear swimsuit bottoms as underwear when I forget to do laundry. Lucky for you, I write more on the former than the latter. The meals I share are mostly good-for-you and don’t take forever to make, which are my most important rules for everyday eating.


    With the ungodly amount of dietary needs and restrictions these days, it seems we are all looking for flexible meal ideas that can satisfy our diverse array of bellies. The best recipes (and ones I cook most often) are easily customizable and adaptable.

    What do you do when you find yourself interested in a super cute yet super-strict Paleo dieter who also happens to be both gluten-free and vegan? Your instinct might be to run far, far away from this seemingly impossible woman.

    But stop right there gentlemen: Polenta with Asparagus, Panfried Beans + Feta is here to help.


    This is the type of meal that’s easy enough to whip up on a Tuesday night for dinner but fancy enough to impress a foxy lady friend on a Saturday date night. We’re talking third date eating here…if you know what I mean.

    Make this recipe as is, and you have yourself an easy vegetarian dish. However, just because a lady may look dainty doesn’t mean she can’t throw down a rib-eye with the best of truck drivers. In that case, grilled chicken or steak would make a lovely side to this meal.

    Cornmeal, which is made from ground sweet corn, is naturally gluten-free and means this meal is safe to eat with the wheat allergy-prone women in your lives. Those who are lactose-free and vegan can simply omit the cheese on top.

    Although, if you’re having me over for dinner and hoping to get lucky in love, I wouldn’t recommend it. The way to my heart is through cheese and lots of it.


    Since I enjoy eating seasonally, asparagus was my immediate first choice for this recipe in July. It gives the dish a bright pop of green and a slight crunch. But don’t be afraid to swap it out with the seasons – roasted heirloom tomatoes are great for late summer and sauteed mushrooms would be a delicious topping for fall.

    And if it just so happens that you do make this meal on that all-important third date (and please do let me know if this actually happens), maybe cut the garlic in half and go easy on the beans. We’re not killing lady vampires or Dutch oven-ing potential mates here.

    I am trying to make you look AND feel good, after all.


    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: 20 minutes

    3 T olive oil
    1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed off
    1 T minced garlic
    1/2 medium onion, diced
    4 cups water or vegetable stock
    1 cup cornmeal
    2 T butter
    1/4 cup heavy cream, regular milk or unsweetened almond milk
    1 cup pre-cooked fava beans**
    salt + pepper, to taste
    1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

    ** Or other bean of choice – I suggest cannellini, lima or garbanzo beans

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    On a baking sheet, toss asparagus in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast until slightly browned, turning occasionally.

    On medium-low heat in a saucepan, saute 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic until fragrant. Add onion and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add water, and let come to a boil. Add polenta, whisking constantly for 5-6 minutes, or until cooked through (polenta will be thick). Add in butter and heavy cream, continuing to whisk until blended and smooth. Season to taste

    Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, saute beans in 1 T olive oil. Let brown for 3-4 minutes per side. When finished, season with salt.

    To serve, layer polenta with grilled asparagus, pan-fried beans and crumbled feta.

    Makes 4 servings


    Tell us:

    Do you have a specialty you cook for dates? How often do you try out new recipes? Do you adhere to any dietary restrictions of your own?

    • average joe

      Polenta is good because you have to stand and the stove and stir consistently for about 5 minutes or so and is a great time to have a conversation and that first glass of wine.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Yes! Totally.

      • Holly (The Everythingtarian)

        I like the way you think! Agreed :)

    • Eric

      I’m not an asparagus fan, so I think I’ll skip this one. I just wanted to say that I’m loving the flurry of posts recently, keep ‘em coming!

      • Style Girlfriend

        Sounds like you could sub in another vegetable pretty easy for the asparagus. Maybe some summer squash?

      • Holly (The Everythingtarian)

        Eric – roasted cherry tomatoes, sauteed greens (spinach, arugula, beet greens), grilled zucchini or all three would also work…just sayin’ ;)

        And yes, I agree Megan is doing a rad job with guest posts.

        • Eric

          Ah, of course, thank you!
          I’m obviously not the greatest chef in the world, but I’m trying to learn. I’ll definitely check out your blog next time I try a new recipe.

      • TJ

        I like fresh green beans.

    • WideEyesTWBlog

      I agree with Eric, you folks have been putting out a ton of great posts, and have been inviting a lot of awesome guest writers who I have been very impressed with (not that I don’t already love Megan and Gabi’s work)! I also have been appreciating the variety of posts as of late…although I’m a menswear blogger myself, and men’s style is one of my passions (addictions?), variety is the spice of life, and there’s much more to living the life of a gentleman than dressing the part (cue eating habits, hygiene and grooming, exercise, attitude, etc). You’ve really been covering all the bases. On that note, I definitely plan to make this meal next time I get a chance to hit up the grocery store!

      • Style Girlfriend

        Glad you agree! The plan is to start providing a more holistic look at style for guys, from a female perspective, so it’s good to hear you’re on board :)

    • Enrique Ollero

      Great post – and I’ll definitely try out that recipe!

      My wife and I really enjoy our cooking together date nights. Normally I’m the cook – she grew up in a household where ordering from diners or italian was the norm and didn’t realize how vegetables were supposed to taste because her mom only ever bought canned, so cooking was not her specialty. But she’s been branching out; she likes trying to tackle things I would normally cook and she really enjoys being a sous-chef, so on our date-nights-in we prepare meals together. Last Friday we made pork chops with a sweet kale salad, drank red wine, and watched Forrest Gump. My birthday is coming up this weekend and I’m thinking we’ll make a surf and turf fried rice. Which of course is all I want now…

    • TJ

      I love to cook and always like learning new recipes. I like to cook with a lot of variety, though I don’t have any dietary restrictions so I don’t always think of how to cook for a paleo, gluten-free vegan. I believe that learning how to cook is something that every well-rounded person should learn how to do. Very interesting meal, I will have to try it.

    • Pingback: What to Cook for Your Next Date Night: from Holly of The Healthy … | Health and Fitness

    • Jason

      While this does sound delicious, I have to interject some info. If you’re new girlfriend was super strict paleo she wouldn’t eat this…

      Corn and beans are both out for people who are strict paleo eaters.

      But then there are those of us who say we eat paleo and then say, one plate of beans won’t kill me…

    • N Sanders

      This is definitely a great idea! How fresh do the ingredients need to be? Can I get away with buying them a week before hand or get them the day of meal.

    • Benjamin Tyler

      Where is the bacon?

    • Tyler Lahti

      Mmm…asparagus is the best! Love sauteing it with tri-color rotini and tomatoes, and throwing some chicken in there.

      This looks great! I’ll have to try this soon.

    • Martin

      “What do you do when you find yourself interested in a super cute yet
      super-strict Paleo dieter who also happens to be both gluten-free and
      vegan? Your instinct might be to run far, far away from this seemingly
      impossible woman.”

      I would. Food is way too important for me to spend life with someone who does not enjoy good food.

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