Does red and pink décor make you want to crawl back into bed and hide until Feb. 15th? Would you rather receive a cup of strong black coffee than a sparkly box of heart-shaped chocolates? Does the thought of getting a cutesy stuffed animal make you gag? You’re not alone.
Although most people experience many different types of fulfilling relationships in their lives, Valentine’s Day’s focus on the very mushy (and often expensive) aspects of romantic love can be overwhelming. In South Korea, singles eschew the gooey trends by getting together and eating bowls of jjajang myeon, a comforting bowl of noodles smothered in black bean paste. We think they’ve got the right idea, so we’re proposing a whole menu of all-black foods.
Make a statement with these dark dishes for a fun and mischievous twist on mainstream saccharine sweets. Whether you’re showing appreciation for your gal pals, throwing a badass anti-Valentine’s Day party, or sharing a quiet night at home with your partner, cook any or all of these inky delicacies to celebrate the season in your own rebellious way.
Black garlic is garlic that has gone through a month-long fermentation process. This makes the garlic soft, gives it a sweeter taste, and doubles the antioxidant content. No one will want to kiss you after starting your meal with this. Get the Black Garlic Compound Butter recipe
Black Garlic, $5.44 on Amazon
Garlic as black as your soul, and twice as delicious.
This bread (or fish) topper is filled with pitted black olives, anchovies, and capers. Share your salty feelings about love while indulging in this briny appetizer. Get the Black Olive Tapenade recipe.
Although Koreans don’t typically eat this dish until “Black Day,” celebrated exactly two months after Valentine’s Day on April 14th, you can indulge in it now. Raid the international section of your grocery store for Korean black bean paste, mirin, and jjajangmyeon noodles. Get the Jjajang Myeon (Noodles in Black Bean Sauce) recipe.
Paldo Jjajangmen Chajang Noodle with Black Bean Sauce (16 Pack), $30.62 on Amazon
This ready-in-seconds noodle and black bean sauce dish is vegan too.
If you prefer an Italian noodle dish, squid ink pasta is a classic gloomy choice. You can pretend the cherry tomatoes in this recipe are little hearts—watch them burst as they cook for a poetic metaphor. Get the Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes recipe.
Black Squid Ink Spaghetti, $10.99 on Amazon
Colored with squid ink and imported from Italy to make your anti-Valentine dream come true.
No noodles? Mussels are easy to make and their blue-black shells are appropriately dark—but there’s something very romantic about prying them open with your hands. If you’re in a less flirtatious mood, it can be savage instead. The spicy red curry here is a nice change of pace from the usual wine and garlic. Get the Red Curry Mussels recipe.
Just because you don’t want a heart-shaped box of chocolates doesn’t mean you can’t still appreciate a good chocolate cake. This cake is made extra dark by adding high-quality cocoa powder and ground espresso. Get the Chocolate Blackout Cake recipe.
This Dutch delicacy is multi-faceted, all at once sweet, salty, and undeniably dark and brooding. Make some of your own to give to friends instead of typical store-bought Valentine’s Day cards. Get the Salted Black Licorice recipe.
One of the trendiest new beverages in recent years, black lattes use activated charcoal to get their inky hue. Drink it with gusto and walk around proudly with a black milk moustache. (Or try a dark beer for the occasion; from porters to stouts to IPAs, anyone can find a beer and taste to match their mood.) Get the Black Latte recipe.
Header image courtesy of Debby Lewis-Harrison / Cultura / Getty Images