The Basics of Pairing Vegetarian Food and Wine
It would be too difficult to find a specific vintage to pair with each vegetable on the planet, however, the way we recommend you pair your wine is according to the herbs, spices, fats, oils, and sauces they are served with.
Vegetarian dishes have a wide assortment of ingredients that will pair beautifully with many different wines. When choosing the right wine, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Which vegetable dominates? The more prominent vegetable will affect the wine you choose.
How is the food cooked? Deep-fried food will be very different from light, acidic salads or hot casseroles.
Does it contain meat substitute or legumes? These dishes tend to be richer, and thus require a different pairing.
How spicy is the dish? The heavier the spice, the lighter and sweeter the wine.
What region is the dish from? Regional dishes are usually best paired with wines from that same region.
There is no one-size-fits-all rule to any food and wine pairings, but you have to find the right wine to drink according to the dish you are enjoying. Below are a few of the classic vegetarian food and wine pairings to try:
Tomato-based Pasta Dishes
Tomato-based pasta dishes have a sweetness that comes from the combination of high-carb pasta and stewed tomato sauces. Without meat to bring the richness, the pasta-based dishes will have a primarily acidic flavour that pairs beautifully with a Chianti. This wine has a gorgeous cherry tartness that is the perfect complement to these pasta dishes.
Pairing the right wine with Mediterranean food is a great way to bring out the flavours of the unique herbs, olive oil, and other rich ingredients used to make the many Greek, Lebanese, and Sicilian dishes.
Nero D’Avola has great acidity that will cut through the high fat content of the olive-oil rich food.
Yet another tomato-based dish! This can be paired with either the Chianti or the Montepulciano, as the acidity of the tomatoes will pair gorgeously with the acidic wines. The wines will also balance out the parmesan cheese perfectly.
The wine to pair with this soup depends entirely on the texture of the dish. Thinner lentil broths are better eaten alone, but a thick, rich lentil soup is perfect when paired with a Chianti. With the savoury red fruit flavours and a balanced acidity with just a hint of cherries, it will make your rich lentil soup a complete meal in itself.
Mushrooms have an unami-heavy flavour, but without actually being a meat. Whether you’re having a mushroom risotto or a pasta heavy on the truffles, you’ll want to consider Barolo.
Of course, these are just a few recommendations on wines you can pair with your vegetarian food. Just like there are thousands of veggie-heavy dishes, so too there are wines that will match perfectly with different foods, spices, and herbs.
Image credits: Gareth Hubbard