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Make adorable love bugs for a healthier Valentine's Day snack

Diana Johnson is a recipe developer, photographer, writer and the creator of Eating Richly Even When You're Broke. She is passionate about helping people learn to cook and eat foods rich in nutrition and flavor, even on a tight budget, a...

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day

If you don't want to overindulge this Valentine's Day, there are two adorable treats you can add to your plate. Edible chocolate and strawberry ladybugs are a healthy (and easy) Valentine's Day dessert, and edible tomato and olive ladybugs make a great low-sugar Valentine's Day appetizer or snack for the kids.

So many Valentine's Day recipes seem to be on sugar overload. These two versions of adorable (and edible) ladybugs provide both sweet and savory treats that are so delightful you won't even notice that they're actually healthy.

For similar versions of strawberry love bugs, check out Wing It Vegan, Minnie's Cakes, National Wildlife Federation and Di's Sweet Treats.

Valentine love bug snacks

Yields 10 of each

Ingredients:

For tomato bugs

  • 5 cherry tomatoes (slightly oblong)
  • 10 medium olives
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • Black food coloring
  • Parsley stems

For strawberry bugs

  • 10 large strawberries
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 20 (1/2-inch) candy eyeballs

Directions:


1. Gather the ingredients

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Assemble your ingredients. If you are making both sets of bugs, I suggest making the strawberries first so the chocolate can harden while you make the tomato bugs.

2. Make the antennae

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Heat the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute. Stir. Heat an additional 30 – 45 seconds, and stir until smooth. Spoon 1/3 of the chocolate into a frosting bag fitted with a #3 piping tip (you can also use a sandwich bag with a corner snipped off). Pipe 10 pairs of antennae onto a plate lined with waxed paper. Place the plate in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.

3. Dip the strawberries

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Remove the leaves from the strawberries, and dip their tips into the melted chocolate remaining in the bowl. Press 2 candy eyes into the chocolate on each strawberry. I recommend placing your strawberries directly onto the plate or platter you will be serving them on, as they may stick once they harden.

More: Valentine's Day hot chocolate shots

4. Decorate the ladybugs

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Use your frosting bag of chocolate to pipe a line down the center of each strawberry and 5 or 6 dots on each side of the line.

5. Add the antennae

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Remove the antennae from the freezer, and peel them off. Press 1 pair into the chocolate, right above the eyes of each bug. You can use a little extra chocolate from your frosting bag if you need to. Place the strawberry bugs in the fridge to firm the chocolate.

6. Flatten the dots

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Once the chocolate has hardened, fill a small bowl with hot water. Dip a knife into the water, wipe it dry, and use it to press the dots flat. Repeat until all the dots are flattened.

More: Valentine's Day brownie bites

7. Prep the tomato bugs

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Now let's start on treat number two — assembling the tomato ladybugs. Start by slicing the tomatoes into quarters. If your tomatoes are slightly oblong like mine, make sure to slice them lengthwise. I find that a serrated knife (like a bread knife) gives the cleanest cut.

8. Slice the olives

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Slice 1/3 off the ends of your olives — make sure it's the end with the big hole. You can use those ends for something else.

9. Put the bugs together

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Place 2 tomato quarters and 1 olive together to form the wings and head of the ladybug.

10. Make the antennae

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Place 2 (1-inch) pieces of parsley stem into the "X" on each olive to form your ladybugs' antennae.

More: Healthy Valentine’s Day treats

11. Decorate the ladybugs

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows

Mix some black food coloring into the cream cheese, and add water about 1/4 teaspoon at a time until the cream cheese is smooth and easy to mix. Spoon the cream cheese into a frosting bag fitted with a #3 tip (again, you could use a sandwich bag with a corner snipped off). Pipe spots onto each tomato segment.

Turn strawberries and tomatoes into too-cute edible 'bugs' for Valentine's Day
Image: Diana Johnson/SheKnows; Graphic: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

Now share your sweet strawberry and savory tomato ladybugs with your valentine.

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 1/18/16

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