Best Dinner Ideas and Pairing Wine
Are you stuck wondering, ‘what is good for dinner tonight?’ or ‘what wine should I pair with dinner?’ You're not alone! Meal planning can be a daunting task, but we've got you covered with easy and simple dinner ideas that are sure to impress. Whether you're in the mood for meat, chicken, Mexican, pasta, vegetarian, or quick and healthy dinner options, you’ll find something to satisfy everyone.
For those craving bold and spicy flavours, our Mexican dinner ideas will transport your taste buds. If pasta is more your style, we've got some delicious pasta dishes to choose from, and vegetarians, we haven't forgotten about you! Our vegetarian dinner ideas are not only delicious but also nutritious.
For those busy weeknights, our quick dinner ideas are perfect for when you're short on time.
And if you're looking for healthy dinner ideas, or chicken, fish, or meat dinner ideas, we've got plenty of options for you too. Afterall, life is busy, and we could all do with a little inspiration when it comes to preparing a meal we can enjoy with loved ones.
Don't forget to pair your meal with the perfect wine for a truly satisfying dining experience. We’ve got pairing suggestions below to ensure you find a delicious match.
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EASY, SIMPLE AND QUICK DINNER IDEAS
A busy week calls for easy, quick dinners. These simple meals can be a lifesaver, providing a tasty and convenient solution to the age-old question of ‘what’s for dinner?’
The fresh Asian flavours of this dish would pair nicely with a light, crisp white wine that won’t dominate like a Pinot G or Grüner Veltliner, or you can’t go wrong with a Rosé.
LIGHT DINNER IDEAS
Whether you’ve had a big lunch earlier in the day, are ‘cutting back’ on heavy, indulgent food, or simply prefer a lighter meal at night, light dinners are a popular choice for those seeking a healthier, more refreshing evening meal option.
Cabernet Franc is a medium-bodied red with herbaceous notes. This red variety, the “other Cabernet”, would complement this dish’s smoky and savoury flavours well.
The sweetness and acidity of a Riesling would balance the salty and savory flavours of the miso glaze, while the wine's floral and citrus notes would complement the dish's aromas and flavours nicely. The refreshing nature of Riesling also cuts through the richness of chicken.
MEXICAN DINNER IDEAS
It’s hard to go past tasty Mexican tacos for a quick and easy meal. Not only do they deliver great flavours and are simple to prepare, but they are wonderfully versatile and can be made using a variety of ingredients. They are also a fun and interactive meal, allowing everyone to customise their own, and can even use up those leftovers sitting in the fridge, making them a budget-friendly dinner too!
The light, refreshing characters of a modern Australian Rosé would pair well with the fresh, spicy flavours of this dish, and the wine’s crisp acidity and fruity and floral flavours balancing the richness of the jackfruit. In fact, Rosé’s versatility makes it a great pairing with a variety of Mexican dishes.
Chardonnay is a great pairing for fish tacos due to its medium body and rich texture that matches the meaty texture of the fish, while its acidity cuts through any richness. The wine’s buttery and oaky notes also complement the spices used in the tacos and add further depth to the pairing.
VEGETARIAN DINNER IDEAS
The delicious and diverse range of flavours and textures available from plant-based ingredients make vegetarian dinners appealing to many and provide a multitude of different wine pairings. Vegetarian meals can also be budget-friendly and have a lower environmental impact, making them a popular choice for those seeking a more balanced and conscious way of eating.
With its zesty and aromatic characters, texture and citrusy core, the Mediterranean variety Fiano is a beautiful match with this lemon tagliarini dish. The wine’s minerality and crisp acidity also aid in balancing the richness of the pasta. Fiano’s versatility makes it an excellent choice with a variety of Italian dishes, especially pasta.
A delicious Italian pizza like this one calls for a Pinot G, Fiano or Pinot Noir. All three varieties have a good balance of acidity and tannins that make them versatile and complementary to a wide range of pizza styles.
SALMON DINNER IDEAS
Salmon is a versatile and delicious fish that is packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients, making it a great choice for a healthy and satisfying dinner. It’s rich and flavour-packed character pair well with a variety of wines and depending on the preparation and seasoning of the fish, a crisp and acidic white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a medium-bodied and fruity red wine like Pinot Noir can enhance the flavours and textures of the dish nicely.
This flavoursome and robust dish is perfect for your next dinner night in. Oily fish is delicious paired with richer white varieties like Chardonnay as the acidity of the wine cuts through the richness of the dish.
This delicate and elegant dish pairs well with a variety of white wines that complement the subtle flavours and textures like a Semillon, a crisp Chablis, or a dry and aromatic Riesling.
CHICKEN DINNER IDEAS
It tastes like…chicken! Yes, this ever-popular poultry protein is a great choice when you’re stuck for dinner ideas due to its versatility and the sheer number of flavours, vegetables and side dishes that complement it. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc are all good choices when it comes to chicken dishes, but other varieties may also shine depending on the flavours used.
The savoury flavours of this warm, comforting dish pair well with the stonefruit flavours, generosity and depth of an elegant Chardonnay or Chardonnay blend.
Explore the flavour bomb that is this Kung Pao Chicken recipe, paired best with the bold and spicy characters of a Shiraz.
PASTA DINNER IDEAS
Pasta dinners are a popular and beloved meal option for many people because they are versatile, easy to prepare, and can be customised to suit a wide range of tastes and dietary needs. Whether you prefer a classic spaghetti with meatballs or a lighter pesto linguine, pasta dishes offer endless possibilities for creativity and deliciousness. Plus, they can be paired with a wide variety of mouth-watering wines!
White, Rosé or Red? It doesn’t matter, as this dish is so versatile when it comes to matching with wine. Sangiovese would be a great choice– medium weight with a vibrant core of red berry fruit and savoury tannin drive, this is another excellent food pairing wine.
This dish pairs perfectly with Mediterranean whites like Fiano, Vermentino or Pinot G. A glass of Chenin Blanc also pairs well with the freshness and crunch of this dish.
STEAK DINNER IDEAS
Steak is a good source of protein, iron, and other nutrients that can support a healthy and balanced diet, Rich, meaty flavours, tender texture and versatility in accompaniments makes steak dinners a satisfying and luxurious dining experience that can be enjoyed on a special occasion or as a regular treat. Flavoursome red wines are an obvious pairing with steak.
This decadent steak dish pairs nicely with a spicy, medium-bodied red and because it’s accompanied by a peperonata, an Italian variety like Sangiovese.
This steak recipe has flavours that are quite nuanced, perfect to pair with something not too heavy like a bright GSM, mid-weight Tempranillo, or a Sangiovese.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
For more great food and wine combinations, be sure to check out our dedicated Food and Wine Pairing pages.