By Marni Fogelson

Published on November 17, 2015

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Photography by Phoebe Dean

Cooking for a significant other for the first time can be exciting, nerve-wracking, and momentous—that’s a lot of emotions all wrapped up in one dish. But we get it: there’s a chance that he or she will remember that first meal forever and potentially request that you make it again and again—and again. We picked 15 delicious sweet and savory dishes, many containing delicious ingredients that are considered aphrodisiacs. Whether you identify with Ina and are used to whipping up meals for multitudes or your typical dinner prep includes dialing for delivery, we have yummy options for a variety of palates and food preferences. We can’t guarantee any of these will make your significant other fall in love with you, but they will definitely help your cause.

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Baked Oysters with jalapeno, lime, cilantro butter

Sexy and succulent, these baked oysters bring the heat. Cilantro butter, lime, and jalapeno add new and bold flavors to a traditional preparation of baked oysters. Have the oysters shucked for you (or enlist your partner to help), and this dish 

comes together quickly and aromatically.

Get the recipe

here

!

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Photography by thelawstudentswife.com

Creamy barley risotto with mushrooms and spinach

Risotto gets a rustic makeover by using chewy and flavorful barley as its base and then topping it with sautéed garlic mushrooms and spinach. You can also dial down the garlic and still have the dish be tasty—if you are worried about bad breath. But if you both smell like garlic, who cares? We say go for it. If you’re together for the long haul, garlic breath will make its appearance at some point anyways, right? A yummy meal-in-a-bowl that will warm you up on a cold night.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Photography by kalynskitchen.com

Baked white fish with pine nut, parmesan, and basil pesto crust

Baked white fish with a pine nut, parmesan, and basil pesto crust sounds like something you would find on the menu at a fancy restaurant, but this dish is surprisingly easy to make at home. Pick from a variety of types of white fish; the crust of pine nuts, cheese, garlic, pesto (which can be store-bought or homemade), and a little mayo, will transform and amplify the taste. This fish dish is also low-carb, so you won’t feel too weighed down after dinner for other pursuits.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Autumn arugula salad with caramelized squash and pomegranate ginger vinaigrette

Start the evening off with a bright and flavorful salad that combines caramelized squash, spiced pecans, and an array of green veggies. It’s worth mentioning that arugula, avocado, and pomegranates are all considered aphrodisiacs. Talk about a sexy salad! This is another recipe that we are sure will be making a repeat performance in our kitchen.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Hawaiian salmon poke

You may already be planning your honeymoon to Hawaii in your head, but you don’t have to tell your dinner guest that. Trust us, your special someone won’t care about your motives when you serve this fragrant dish. Inspired by a beloved Hawaiian tradition, it’s a fish dish you don’t even have to cook! Served with warm rice and avocado, this healthy meal will transport you and your significant other.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Photography by foodloversodyssey.com

Torta caprese

Got a gluten-free significant other? Here’s a naturally flour-free dessert that will win him or her over. Known as a Torta Caprese, from the island vacation spot where it originated, the cake uses ground almonds in lieu of grains and incorporates chocolate, butter, and eggs for a decadent and rich dessert. You definitely won’t miss the flour in this surprisingly dense treat.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Photography by food52.com

Coffee and spice rubbed salmon

Taco Tuesday? We can’t imagine limiting ourselves to this coffee and spice rubbed salmon taco recipe to just one day of the week. Topped with an avocado-tomatillo salsa and a crunchy, seasoned red cabbage slaw mix, these boldly seasoned salmon tacos are perfect for hungry appetites and palates that enjoy lots of flavor.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Stuffed figs with goat cheese

This simple dessert (or appetizer) has deceptively deep flavors. Sensuous fresh figs are filled with creamy goat cheese and broiled before getting topped with date or regular honey. Addicting and almost bite-sized: you could serve them with a fork and knife or eat with your hands. Like Cher said in Clueless, anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Photography by smells-like-home.com

Lobster mac and cheese

Lobster mac and cheese is a mouthwatering way to nudge unadventurous eaters out of their comfort zone. This dish also definitely sends a message of comfort and familiarity (all great things when beginning a relationship). And, really, who can resist mac and cheese?

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Photography by foodandwine.com

Shrimp and vegetable tagine with preserved lemon

If you or your significant other have never eaten a tagine, an iconic stew-like dish from Morocco, you are missing out. This dish brilliantly tells you how to recreate a sumptuous, layered meal in your own home and incorporates shrimp marinated with a variety of seductive spices and lots of vegetables. We love that it can be prepared partially then refrigerated, making pre-date night preparations much easier.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Photography by meettheshannons.net

Fettuccine with wild mushrooms and artichoke

This pasta, along with being deliciously comforting, is packed with aphrodisiac ingredients including garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and parsley. If you are vegan or trying to woo a vegan lover, this dish will satisfy everyone’s tastes. It also looks great for serving at dinner parties.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Caviar blinis

Making blinis is a bit like making pancakes, so even novice cooks will be up to the task. Decadent caviar, paired with smoked salmon, tops these fluffier crepe-like treats. These little morsels are elegant without trying too hard and let your dining companion know he or she is worth the splurge.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Photography by kokocooks.com

Persian love cake

If you are a little gun-shy with the “I-love-you’s”, you can omit the name of this cake, although its seductive powers will be evident as soon as someone takes the first bite. This airy cake is topped with candied rose petals, chopped pistachios, and frosted with a saffron and rose water topping. A feast for all the senses.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Photography by bonappetit.com

Poached pears with cardamom and saffron

Another make-ahead dish that certainly doesn’t skimp on flavor. Pears poached in wine get an exotic update with the addition of saffron and cardamom. This luscious dessert is drizzled with warm syrup can be served with crème fraiche or, if you are in the mood, a scoop of creamy ice cream.

Get the recipe 

here

!

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Photography by bloggingoverthyme.com

Tomato and Zucchini tart

You are probably going to want to wait to use this fancy-looking tart recipe until tomatoes are back in season,  but it’s such a beauty we couldn’t resist including it. And despite looking too impressive for non-professional chefs, this tart mainly involves layering the tomatoes and zucchinis in a pretty pattern. If this still looks too intimidating, try making a veggie-filled quiche and serve with a salad for an even easier, yet still lovely any season meal.

Get the recipe 

here

!