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Food & Wine Pairing - Veggies

Simple rules to get started pairing food and wine...

Wine and Vegetables is a glorious combination...

Pairing Wine with Veggies

Let’s dive into the specifics of wine pairings with vegan (and vegetarian foods). When you have a vegan or vegetarian dish, focus on pairing with the most prominent flavours. For example, if you have spaghetti with a tomato sauce, focus on the acidic tomato flavours. If you have a vegan bowl with veggies, tofu, and a cashew based sauce, focus on the nutty creaminess of the cashew sauces. 

The vegan food and wine pairing guidelines are meant to serve as reference points for thinking through your pairing decisions. We suggest particular varietals of wine for each group where a wine pairing would be appropriate.

  • Green Vegetables (avocados, kale, broccoli, green beans) – Pair with sparkling or light whites
  • Root Vegetables (carrots, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, potato) – Pair with full-bodied white, aromatic white, rosé, or light red
  • Alliums (garlic, onion, shallots) – Dream big here. Will pair with almost anything.
  • Nightshades (tomato, eggplant, bell peppers) – Pair with aromatic white, rosé, medium red, full-bodied red
  • Beans (black, lentil, pinto, white) – Pair with sparkling, rosé, light red, medium red
  • Fungi (Chanterelle, Crimini, Maitake, Shitake) – Pair with full-bodied white, light red, medium red, full-bodied red
  • Nuts (peanut, almond, pecan, cashew) – Pair with aromatic white, rosé, or dessert wine
  • Fresh Herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, mint) – Pair with sparkling wine, light white, full-bodied white, aromatic white, rosé, light red
  • Pepper (Chipotle, Chili, Ancho) – Pair with sparkling wine, aromatic white, rosé, or medium red

One of the wonderful things about bruschetta is its versatility. Like the little black dress, it suits just about everyone. Bruschetta offers itself up to an infinite number of variations — it can go vegetarian, carnivore-friendly or dairy-free, and act as an appetizer or serve as the foundation for a whole meal. Each variation of bruschetta — has its own personality. Pair it with some inexpensive wine, such as Semillon / Colombard Blends and Gewurztraminer and your table will radiate understated elegance.

Pairings are determined by how the vegetables were cooked. Grilling zucchini, over a charcoal or gas grill creates a savoury bitterness that is nicely complemented by red wines such as Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel. Among whites, the full-bodied, intensely floral Gewürztraminer, Marsanne and Viognier marry well with most vegetables. Inventive food-wine flavour pairings are essential to the innovative style of cooking that has come to be known as New World Cuisine.

If you’re serving potato skins as a side dish, then you’ll want to choose a wine to go with the main course. To match the potato skins and BBQ sauce combination, though (and with a salad, a big platter of dips does make a fine meatless dinner), the choice is obvious: Riesling, dry or just off-dry.

Serve Sauvignon Blanc, or a crisp Chardonnay with guacamole, which can be quite spicy. A creamy, garlicky houmous is best served with a crisp, simple white blend, or try an inexpensive Sparkling Blend. If your in for the night and are going to serve nachos with a cool salsa dip make sure you investigate the NEW blend from the land down under the Shiraz Viognier, a light blend that takes your taste buds to another level !

Simple unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay / Colombard Blends are the best choices with a spinach and parmesan salad or spinach souffle. A fruity unoaked Merlot could probably handle the spinach as a red alternative; just avoid tannin. For a special occasion serve spinach pancetta with an egg salad, a crack open a bottle of Sparkling White or Rosé, depending on your mood.

Go from a humble vegetarian lover to a verified connoisseur.

A Guide to Different Styles of Wines

White wine pairings are most common for plant-based foods, largely because old school pairing rules emphasized red with meat and whites with veggies. This mantra is largely outdated and it’s better to focus on sweetness, acidity, and body of the wine and how it interacts with the dish. White wine is incredibly diverse, spanning from crisp or heavy to honey or lemon to bone dry or sweet. Below is an overview of main white wines and vegan food pairings that in our opinion work…

Albariño

  • Profile: Lemon, grapefruit, nectarine, melon
  • Pairs well with these foods: Thai, Moroccan, Indian cuisine

Chardonnay

  • Profile: Yellow apple, starfruit, pineapple, butter, chalk
  • Pairs well with these foods: Avocado, cheese (Brie, Gouda, Jack), butter or cream sauce dishes, squash, vegetables

Chenin Blanc

  • Profile: Lemon, yellow apple, pear, honey, chamomile
  • Pairs well with these foods: apples and apple desserts, Chinese cuisine, fried foods, Mexican cuisine, salad, spicy dishes, vegetables

Gewürztraminer 

  • Profile: Lychee, rose, grapefruit, tangerine, guava
  • Pairs well with these foods: Asian, Indian, Thai cuisine, smoked foods, curries, ginger, aged cheese, desserts

Grüner Veltliner

  • Profile: Yellow apple, green pear, green bean, white pepper, lime
  • Pairs well with these foods: Aromatic and vegetal vegetables (Asparagus), tofu, Japanese cuisine

Muscadet 

  • Profile: Lime, lemon, green apple, pear, seashell
  • Pairs well with these foods: pickled foods, fried foods, salad, citrus vinaigrettes

Pinot Grigio

  • Profile: Lemon, yellow apple, melon, nectarine, peach
  • Pairs well with these foods: salad, smoked cheese, spicy food, grilled vegetables

Riesling 

  • Profile: Lime, green apple, beeswax, jasmine, petroleum
  • Pairs well with these foods: Indian, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisine, spicy foods, blue cheese, summer fruit, salad, desserts

Sauvignon Blanc 

  • Profile: Gooseberry, green melon, grapefruit, grass, white peach, passionfruit
  • Pairs well with these foods: artichokes, asparagus, cheese (Brie, Feta, Goat), Mexican cuisine, corriander, peppers, salad

Soave 

  • Profile: Lemon, honeydew melon, salt, green almond
  • Pairs well with these foods: lentils, asparagus, goat cheese, salad, pesto, lighter pizzas

Viognier 

  • Profile: Tangerine, peach, mango, honeysuckle, rose
  • Pairs well with these foods: artichokes, butter and cream sauces, curries, Indian cuisine, roasted red peppers, Thai Food, mushrooms

Red wine is typically a heavier wine – fuller bodied and higher alcohol content – which pairs nicely with traditional dinner meals. Given the outdated logic that red wine only goes with meat, not everyone feels confident pairing red wine with vegan or vegetarian dishes. Take comfort in knowing that red wine pairings can span from light and fruity, bold and leathery, or velvety to crisp, which makes pairing much more straightforward than one might think. Below is an overview of main red wines and vegan food pairings that in our opinion work…

Beaujolais / Gamay

  • Profile: Huckleberry, raspberry, violet, soil, banana
  • Pairs well with these foods: cheese (goat, Brie, cheddar), pasta with light sauces, brunch, curries, mushrooms, pizza, salads, spicy dishes, roasted vegetables

Bordeaux Blend

  • Profile: Plum, black currant, violet, graphite, cedar
  • Pairs well with these foods: barbecued food, tofu, aged cheese (Cheddar or Gouda)

Cabernet Franc

  • Profile: Strawberry, roasted pepper, red plum, gravel, chili pepper
  • Pairs well with these foods: cabbage, eggplant, red sauce pasta, bell peppers, pizza, tomato, roasted vegetables

Cabernet Sauvignon 

  • Profile: Black cherry, black currant, red bell pepper, baking spices, cedar
  • Pairs well with these foods: cheese (Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola), dark chocolate, veggie burgers, mint, mushroom risotto, grilled vegetables, walnuts

Grenache 

  • Profile: Strawberry, grilled plum, grapefruit, leather, liquorice
  • Pairs well with these foods: barbecue, eggplant, mushrooms, pizza, Moroccan cuisine, spicy dishes

GSM Blend  (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre)

  • Profile: Raspberry, blackberry, dried green herbs, baking spices, lavender
  • Pairs well with these foods: Mexican cuisine, root vegetables, vegetable stew

Malbec

  • Profile: Red plum, blueberry, vanilla, sweet tobacco, cocoa
  • Pairs well with these foods: barbecued foods, chili, fajitas, Indian cuisine, pizza, spicy dishes

Merlot

  • Profile: Raspberry, black cherry, sugar plum, chocolate, cedar
  • Pairs well with these foods: blue cheese, cranberries, grilled mushrooms, tomato sauce pasta, vegetable stew, tomato sauce

Montepulciano

  • Profile: Red plum, oregano, sour cherry, boysenberry, tar
  • Pairs well with these foods: grilled mushrooms, pasta with tomato or mushroom sauce, pizza, mushroom risotto, vegetable stews

Nebbiolo

  • Profile: Rose, cherry, leather, clay pot, anise
  • Pairs well with these foods: cheese, mushrooms, tomato-based sauces

Pinot Noir 

  • Profile: Cranberry, cherry, raspberry, clove, mushroom
  • Pairs well with these foods: beets, cheese (goat, Brie, feta), eggplant, fennel, mushrooms, truffles, root vegetables

Sangiovese 

  • Profile: Red currant, roasted tomato, raspberry, clay pot
  • Pairs well with these foods: cheese, eggplant, fresh herbs, mushrooms, pasta with tomato sauce, roasted bell peppers, pizza, zucchini, Italian cuisine

Syrah / Shiraz

  • Profile: Blueberry, plum, milk chocolate, tobacco, green peppercorn
  • Pairs well with these foods: barbecued foods, casseroles, cheese (Gouda, Parmesan), chili, grilled eggplant, veggie burgers with ketchup, mushrooms, rich pastas, ratatouille

Tempranillo 

  • Profile: Cherry, dried fig, cedar, tobacco, dill
  • Pairs well with these foods: beans, cheese, lentils, roasted root vegetables, mushrooms

Touriga Nacional 

  • Profile: Violet, blueberry, plum, mint, slate
  • Pairs well with these foods: cheese (Swiss, Blue, Brie), roasted cauliflower, beans, lentils

Zinfandel 

  • Profile: Blackberry, strawberry, peach preserves, baking spices, tobacco
  • Pairs well with these foods: Asian cuisine, cheese (Blue, feta), eggplant, Mexican cuisine, olives, baked pastas, pizza, root vegetables, spicy dishes

Sparkling wine pairs perfectly with lots of different vegan and vegetarian dishes with its crisp lightness and palate cleansing bubbles. Below is an overview of the main sparkling wines and vegan food pairings that in our opinion work…

Cava 

  • Profile: Quince, lime, yellow apple, pear, almond
  • Pairs well with these foods: barbecued foods, Chinese cuisine, desserts, fried foods, Japanese cuisine, salad, vegetarian sushi

Champagne 

  • Profile: Citrus, peach, white cherry, almond, toast
  • Pairs well with these foods: appetizers, asparagus, butter or cream sauces, Chinese cuisine, vegetarian curries, fried food, Indian cuisine, Japanese cuisine, mushrooms, peaches, vegetarian sushi

Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir

  • Profile: Strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, hibiscus
  • Pairs well with these foods: Ricotta cheese, pasta, pizza, balsamic vinaigrette

Prosecco 

  • Profile: Green apple, honeydew melon, pear, honeysuckle, cream
  • Pairs well with these foods: Thai cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine, almonds, asparagus, Chinese cuisine, salad

Dessert wines range from off-dry to very sweet. They can be fruity when they’re young or develop nutty, honeyed, and caramel flavor profiles as they age. Below is an overview of the vegan food pairings that in our opinion work…

Madeira 

  • Profile: Burnt caramel, walnut oil, peach, hazelnut, orange zest
  • Pairs well with these foods: almonds and almond desserts, bananas and banana desserts, milk chocolate, chocolate desserts, custards, pecans and pecan desserts, pumpkin desserts

Port 

  • Profile: Ripe blackberry, raspberry, cinnamon, candied apple, star anise
  • Pairs well with these foods: blue cheese, cherry desserts, bittersweet or dark chocolate, apples and apple desserts, nuts and nutty desserts

Sauternes

  • Profile: Lemon curd, apricot, quince, honey, ginger
  • Pairs well with these foods: almonds and almond desserts, cake, custards, fruit and fruit desserts, blue cheese

Sherry

  • Profile: Jackfruit, salt, preserved lemon, brazil nut, almond
  • Pairs well with these foods: almonds, artichoke hearts, Gouda cheese, creamy chocolate desserts, fried food, green olives, soup, tapenade
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