Best Vegetarian Food And Wine Pairings
In recent years, more and more people have discovered the health benefits of going meat-free, or at least introducing meat-free days to their weekly meal planning. Vegetarian cooking is also a delicious approach to dining, opening up new dimensions of natural flavour to enjoy – especially when paired with a glass of organic-certified wine!
If you’re new to vegetarian eating, you may be wondering “what wine goes with vegetarian food?”.
Well, matching wine with vegetarian dishes is no different to any other food and wine pairing, with basic rules such as ‘delicate flavours with delicate wines’ still applying. As such, there are plenty of options for lovers of both red and white wines to match with their desired dish.
So wonder no more: we’ve got you covered in this handy guide to the best vegetarian food and wine pairings!
ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS FOR PAIRING VEGETARIAN FOOD WITH WINE
The magic of vegetarian dining is in its fine, fresh, and earthy flavours, where any ingredient can be highlighted and elevated depending on your tastes and preferences. Here are some simple pairings to explore based on certain key ingredients.
Using asparagus, avocado, broccoli, green beans, or kale? Try pairing with Sparkling or light white wines – asparagus and Sauvignon Blanc, for instance, are a match made in heaven.
No matter how you prepare them, root vegetables are hard to beat. For dishes with carrots, pumpkins and potato (or sweet potato, for that matter), match their textural qualities with fuller-bodied white wines, lighter reds, or even a Rosé.
This category includes tomatoes, capsicum (red, green and yellow), as well as eggplant – any of which pair beautifully with lighter, aromatic whites, medium-bodied reds, or Rosé.
Black beans, lentils, white beans… whichever you prefer, you’ll find an appropriate match in a good Sparkling wine or Rosé, as well as light-to-medium-bodied reds.
How good are mushrooms? No matter the variety, from swiss brown to shiitake and even truffles, their distinct, earthy flavours and almost meaty textures find suitable matches in both full-bodied whites and reds – but perhaps most famously, with Pinot Noir.
Everyone has their favourite, but whatever your preference – cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, brazil nuts, walnuts or what-have-you – your enjoyment of nuts becomes next-level with an aromatic white wine, Rosé, or Fortified/dessert wine.
If you love the hot stuff, you need a wine that will complement rather than escalate the capsaicin burn. Opt for a Sparkling wine or Rosé, an aromatic white, or medium-bodied red.
Lastly, a short note about alliums those staples of the culinary world known commonly as garlic, onions and shallots. These ingredients will pair with just about everything under the sun – so let your imagination (and your hunger) be your guide!
MATCHING LIGHT WHITE WINES WITH VEGETARIAN FOOD
Tasting Panellist Nicole Gow is a big fan of light and aromatic white wines, and when she’s doing meat-free Mondays an asparagus and mushroom stir-fry is one of her favourite dishes. “With its subtle Asian flavours and asparagus hero,” she explains, “go for whites like Sauvignon Blanc and blends, and lighter styles of Vermentino, Riesling or Pinot G.”
MATCHING FULLER-BODIED WHITE WINES WITH VEGETARIAN FOOD
Ever since he stumbled upon the recipe for Guy Grossi’s midnight spaghetti, Tasting Panellist Dave Mavor’s eyes were opened to the sheer delight of simply prepared vegetarian pastas. “This spaghetti is simple yet full of beautiful fresh flavours, so it needs matching with a fuller, textural white,” he says. “I often enjoy this dish with Chardonnay or Verdelho, or if I’m sticking with the Italian theme, Arneis or Fiano.”
MATCHING LIGHT TO MEDIUM-BODIED RED WINES WITH VEGETARIAN FOOD
Tasting Panel Co-Chair Adam Walls adores simple vegetarian dishes that pack in plenty of flavour, and pine mushrooms on toast with ricotta is one of his favourites. “Light to medium-weight and savoury reds are the ideal match with this mushroom-based dish,” he says. “Grenache and GSM blends would be delicious, as would Nero d’Avola, Barbera, Pinot Noir or Merlot.”
MATCHING RICHER, FULL-BODIED RED WINES WITH VEGETARIAN FOOD
As Tasting Panellist Trent Mannell says, “Lydney Milan’s spiced roasted vegetable salad is proof that you don’t need meat to create a meal that matches with richer, fuller-bodied reds.” He recommends Cabernet and Cabernet blends, or Shiraz and Shiraz blends when it comes to traditional varieties and styles, or Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Malbec for those with a thirst for alternative tastes.
BEST RECIPES FOR VEGETARIAN FOOD AND WINE PAIRINGS
In addition to the above picks from our Panel, we’ve pulled together a selection of recipes from the pages of Selector magazine that we reckon are among the best vegetarian dishes to serve up with a good glass of quality Australian wine.
BEST VEGETARIAN RECIPES…WITH RED WINE
Fresh and fabulous, this green pasta is the perfect summer dish.
Enjoy with: Gamay
Zesty and delicious, this is another winner for when the weather turns warm.
Enjoy with: Nero d’Avola
A wonderfully hearty little meal for those cool autumn evenings, with mushrooms taking centre stage.
Enjoy with: Pinot Noir
What’s better than a pizza when you want to kick back and catch a film? Another delicious dish from Alice Zaslavsky to tantalise your tastebuds.
Enjoy with: Nebbiolo
BEST VEGETARIAN RECIPES…WITH WHITE WINE
Savoury and spicy, this Thai-inspired dish is one recipe you’ll return to again and again for its fragrant appeal.
Enjoy with: Riesling
Lyndey Milan shows that while potato is a simple ingredient, it should never be underestimated! Deceptively rich and textural, this dish is a keeper.
Enjoy with: Chardonnay
This authentic Afghan dish by the Ayubi family of Parwana Restaurant offers a myriad of compelling flavours to please the palate... a superb winter warmer!
Enjoy with: Verdelho or Viognier
Fresh, crunchy and flavoursome, this delish little pasta dish is a perfect partner to Mediterranean whites.
Enjoy with: Fiano
Simple to make yet zippy and utterly delicious, this vegan-friendly recipe is a real party starter of a dish.
Enjoy with: Rosé
A WINE FOR EVERY TASTE WITH WINE SELECTORS
As you can see, there’s no shortage of great wine and vegetarian food pairings to explore, no matter the season. Looking for some more great meat-free alternatives to enjoy over summer? You’ll find a number of options in our guide to Pairing Summer Salads with Wine, article. In the meantime, explore our range of organically produced wines and start planning your next vegetarian feast today!