Pairing Wine with Vegan Dishes: The Ultimate Guide To Elevating Your Plant-Based Plates with Perfect Pairings

Embracing a vegan lifestyle has never been more popular, and it’s about time we talk about the harmonious dance between vegan dishes and wine. In fact, plants are the most diverse, flavorsome, and intriguing food group, and the world of wine is rich enough to find the perfect partner for each dish. It’s important to note that not all wines are vegan. Some winemaking processes use animal-derived products for fining (clarifying) wines. But fret not! Many winemakers now opt for plant-based alternatives, and vegan wines are increasingly available.

Let’s embark on a tasty journey, pairing vegan delights with wines that elevate them.

  1. Green and Leafy Salads

Imagine a fresh spinach and arugula salad, sprinkled with walnuts, sliced strawberries, and a tangy lemon dressing.

Wine Pairing: The crispness of a Verdejo or Sancerre (made from Sauvignon Blanc) can be divine. Their green and citrusy notes will highlight the freshness of the salad.

  1. Rich and Hearty Legume Dishes

Lentil stews, chickpea curries, or a black bean and quinoa bowl brimming with spices.

Wine Pairing: The earthy tones of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape or a Garnacha from Spain echo the depth and robustness of legumes. For white lovers, a robust white like an oaked Chardonnay can provide a creamy counterpart to these hearty dishes.

  1. Mediterranean Delights

Imagine dishes like falafel, tabbouleh, or stuffed vine leaves.

Wine Pairing: A Greek Assyrtiko, with its zesty and saline notes, can be magnificent, capturing the essence of the Mediterranean Sea. Alternatively, a Provence Rosé, light and crisp, is a beautiful match.

  1. Asian-Inspired Plates

Think of tofu stir-fries, vegan sushi rolls, or a spicy Thai green curry.

Wine Pairing: A Gewürztraminer from Alsace, with its lychee and rose aromas, offers an aromatic match. If spicy is the name of the game, an off-dry Riesling from Germany’s Mosel region can tame the heat, harmonizing with the dish’s flavors.

  1. Plant-Based BBQ and Grills

Grilled portobello mushrooms, BBQ jackfruit, or marinated tempeh steaks.

Wine Pairing: A smoky, peppery Syrah from the Northern Rhône or an Australian Shiraz will complement the charred flavors from the grill. For a lighter touch, a chilled Beaujolais (made from the Gamay grape) offers juicy fruit notes that are a joy with grilled veggies.

  1. Raw Vegan Dishes

Zucchini noodles, raw spring rolls, or vibrant beet carpaccio.

Wine Pairing: Keep it fresh and light. A Vinho Verde from Portugal or an Italian Pinot Grigio will emphasize the dish’s pure, unadulterated flavors.

Nuts, Seeds, and Vegan Cheeses

With vegan diets, these elements often play a central role. A nutty cashew-based cheese or a tahini dressing demands a wine with a bit of body. Think a white Rioja (which often sees a touch of oak) or a rich Viognier from the South of France.

Texture and Weight Matter

Beyond flavors, consider the weight of your dish. Light dishes desire light wines, while richer dishes seek more full-bodied counterparts. For instance, a delicate avocado and citrus salad might pair with a light Albariño, while a vegan lasagna layered with cashew cheese and spinach would stand up to a more robust Barbera from Italy.

Think Outside the Grape

Remember that wines come in a spectrum of styles. Rosé, sparkling, and even dessert wines can offer fabulous pairing opportunities. A vegan chocolate mousse, for instance, might find its sweet soulmate in a Port or Pedro Ximénez Sherry.

Vegan dishes, with their diverse flavors and textures, present a delightful pairing challenge. The world of wine is vast and varied enough to offer a dance partner for each vegan plate. Whether you’ve embraced a vegan lifestyle or are just dipping your toes into plant-based cuisine, there’s a world of delicious wine pairings waiting for you.

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Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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