Serving wine with vegetarian food is the best way to bring out the natural flavours of both your food and drink. The combination of vegetarian food and wine can be a delightful match - especially if you find a wine that can complement the dish or food you’re having. No matter what type of vegetarian or vegan food you enjoy, there is definitely a wine you can pair with it!
So if you’re looking for vegetarian food and wine ideas then look no further, but let’s start with some basics for pairing vegetarian food with wine.
The Basics of Pairing Vegetarian Food and Wine
It would be too difficult to find a specific vintage or wine to pair with each vegetable on the planet – there are THOUSANDS of them, after all! However, the way we recommend you pair your wine is according to the herbs, spices, fats, oils, and sauces that your vegetarian dishes or meals are served with.
Vegetarian dishes have a wide assortment of ingredients that will pair beautifully with many different wines. However, 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 can definitiely find the right wine to drink according to the dish you are enjoying. Many dishes also have a number of wines that we’ll go well with them. But to give you some ideas, we’ve put together a list of wine and food pairing ideas for 5 popular vegetarian dishes.
5 Simple Vegetarian Food and Wine Pairing Ideas
#1: Vegetable Lasagne
The rich acidity of this tomato-based dish makes it a perfect match for the ripe flavours and hinted spices of a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. The Italian wine (from the Abruzzo region) is smooth and beautifully drinkable, and will go down nicely as you enjoy the gentler flavours of a vegetarian lasagne.
#2: 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 Tuscan Chianti. Not only is this wine excellent value, but it has a gorgeous cherry tartness that is the perfect complement to these pasta dishes.
White Wines and Vegetarian Pasta Dishes
Don’t be afraid to experiment – white wines and rosés may also suit dishes like pizza and certain pasta dishes with vegetables and herbs. If you’re looking for a white to pair with a tomato-based vegetarian pasta dish, a Veneto Pinot Grigio is a safe and tasty bet.
For a creamier vegetable sauce for pasta, a crisper white or more full bodied one can work too depending on your preferences. A unique choice for a creamy vegetable pasta dish is Campania Falanghina.
Special mention: Eggplant Parmesan /Aubergine Parmigiana
Yet another tomato-based dish! Plenty of reds can be paired with this dish, but a good recommendation is the easy-drinking and smooth Refosco from Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
#3: Mediterranean food
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.
the Sicilian Nero D’Avola has great acidity that will make a tasty match and cut through the high fat content of olive-oil rich food.
#4: Mushroom Dishes
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 or mushrooms in a tomato sauce, you’ll want to consider the King of Italian wines, the Barolo from Piedmont.
#5: Lentil Soup
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 Nobile di Montepulciano from Tuscany.
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. Use our guidelines above to help you as you explore the wonderful world of pairing vegetarian food and wine.
Image credits: Stefan Johnson