Wine & Food

Snooth User: katie1430

Vegetarian Wine Lover Needs Help!

Posted by katie1430, Apr 13, 2009.

I love red wine but I hear so much "pair red wine with red meat" but I don't eat meat. I have fish now and then but red just doesn't go with sushi. Any vegetarian red wine lovers out there? I can't be the only one! Help me find something meat free to pair with my Cabernet!

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Replies

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Reply by ChipDWood, Apr 14, 2009.

This is a fantastic question. I have friends myself that are vegetarian themselves, that would LOVE an answer to this question because they want to "get" what is talked about when it comes to pairing a phenom red with red meat.

Philip had a great post before about asparagus, and how tough it is to find the right pairing for it. Course, me, being a "meatasorous", I finish my asparagus with the fat of said meat- so all kinds of reds go with THAT ;).

Light bodied reds, like some of the "pseudo-nuevo" merlot out of California might not be a bad idea to pair (Clos de Bois, Angeline, etc.) with something like salmon, swordfish, or the heartier fair, depending on preparation.

I too though would love to hear some suggestions. Broccoli Rab, for its bitterness, would probably make for a good companion just out of contrast both in flavor and texture....

This is a great question. Can't wait to check out the feedback.

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Reply by h2w4, Apr 14, 2009.

Something that I find tends to work rather well is a Zinfandel with a vegetarian chili. Or you can do a Sangiovese or Chianti with a pasta marinara.

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 14, 2009.

Man there are so many different style of red wine that there can be no rule of thumb like reds with meat.

Barbera is brilliant with grilled veggies drizzled with some fine olive oil

Rioja and seafood paella

Cabernet Franc and veggie burritos

I'll second the Zin with veggie chili idea

Myriad reds with all sorts of pasta dishes

And with your cabernet braised root vegetables with a spinach risotto.

In the end it's not about the rules, it's about what works for you!

Experiment and surprise us all with your spectacular results. I for one am anxious to hear more about your wine pairing experiences!


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Reply by oceank8, Apr 14, 2009.

I too am a vegetarian red wine lover! I drink red wine with all food because like Greg says, it works for me. I find big, heavy reds go well with pastas with red sauce. I make my own sauces and put a lot of red wine in them, which help them pair even better. I know it probably sounds terrible but I love big reds with pizza.

My husband is a meat eater and I usually try to eat something that could pair with his food, that also helps in the pairing of wine. Just experiment and drink what you like!

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Reply by Caprese Peeps, Apr 21, 2009.

I love big reds, and only rarely enjoy white wine. I'm not vegetarian, but I'm trying to cut back on red meat for health, so I can feel your pain. Some combinations that have worked well for me:

I really like Cabernet with grilled veggies, pizza, veggie-burger and sweet-potato fries, or pasta & pesto. My wife and I are also both big fans of chocolate with spicier cabs (some Chileans, etc.).

I love Merlot with mushroom dishes (anything from wild-mushroom risotto to grilled portabella or mushroom crostini).

Chianti and pasta with red-sauce is a match made in heaven (or Tuscany, but what's the difference?). I laso really enjoy it with Tuscan bean soup.

I'll drink Pinot with lighter dishes where most people would choose a white.

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Reply by PortfolioWines, May 3, 2009.

Being the main cook at home and married to a vegetarian, I have always enjoyed the challenge of coming up with exciting dishes that go with reds. As I am keen to try out exotic flavours and spices, I have made rich vegetarian meals that will easily work with full bodied reds such as a California or Aussie Cab.

For example, many Indian dishes call for coconut milk and curry, plus slow simmer that integrates all the spices and flavours together to make a rich dish. At home, I just made a squash and chick peas braised in coconut milk, thai curry paste and onions. Roasted root vegetables in herbes de provence and garlic will also work with red wine, as well as ripe tomatoes topped with bread crumbs/aromatic herbs/garlic/olive oil mix that are baked in the oven for 40 mins. at 375F.

Bon appetit!

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Reply by dmcker, May 3, 2009.

Similarly to PW, I just had a dinner of black-eyed pea and chick-pea (both dried) and green pea (fresh) stew, cooked with tomatoes, kabocha pumpkin, onions, garlic and leeks, coconut milk, herbs de provence and just the right amount of curry to make it interesting but to also keep it comestible with wine. Worked quite fine with the Zinfandel I had in the house, and some pain de campagne and a cuminseed cheese. I'll have the leftovers with some garlic rice and tzatziki and a Greek retsina white in the next day or so...

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Reply by Philip James, May 3, 2009.

I'm back on my usual track of hinting at what we're supposedly developing in secret, but Greg and half the team have been working on something food and wine related that will be a very useful addition to the site, and help to answer questions like these...

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Reply by dmcker, May 3, 2009.

My appetite is whetted... :-)

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Reply by tropicanahana, May 6, 2009.

Interesting topic! I'm a pescatarian vegetarian (eat fish) and though I mostly drink whites, my family drinks red. I find I most enjoy zinfandel and cabernet more than any other reds I try. They are fairly rich but I like it with tofu dishes and my salads. That could just be a personal choice ~ I think I could those two with anything! But hey, if you like a certain wine, why follow the rules such as red with meat, white with fish?

And I'm totally with portfoliowines on that ~ Indian and thai dishes are my favorite! My preference is something white, but I've enjoyed them with cabernet.

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, May 7, 2009.

I've had great luck with grilled tofu. If you choose a heavier, soy sauce, lime and cilantro marinade and really let it soak into the tofu, then make a little boat out of aluminum foil or use a small cookie sheet, you can stick it on the grill. Eventually it will get nice and charred on the outside.

Slice the tofu into strips and make up some guacamole. Throw some red and green peppers on the grill too, maybe an onion, spray the veggies with some lime juice partway through cooking.

Get some tortillas, and you've got tofu fajitas... I love that with a nice spanish red.

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Reply by Robert Dallas Gray, May 19, 2009.

I'm also a pescetarian, and haven't eaten meat or poultry for 20 years, so I've certainly missed out on some wine and food pairings that aren't really replicable in a non-meat world -- I think wines from the Rhône and Bordeaux can be too tannic and/or metallic to really work without the hefty, bloody protein of a steak.

That said, a really strong blue cheese works very well indeed with many Bordeaux, especially right-bank. A lighter pinot noir works great with grilled pink fish like salmon or trout. Someone said Chianti with red-sauced pastas -- I'd say pizza too, and any sangiovese really (the Aussies are starting to make some nice ones). Barolo can be wonderful with mushrooms.

There are also white wine experiences that I've felt I've missed out on a bit, like a really rich white Burgundy with roast chicken; in this case, seared and part-roast scallops seemed like a pretty good substitute.

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Reply by George Parkinson, Jul 24, 2009.

Great Question! OMG the selection couldn't be greater. Try this: ANYTHING YOU LIKE!
That said:
eggplant lasagne & Petite syrah
Veggie Burgers & Zinfandel
Gaspacho & Tempranillo
Mongolian Tofu & Cabernet Franc
Grilled Portabella Mushrooms & a well aged Balsamic with Syrah
Meatless BBQ Style St. Louis Chili & Malbec

Have fun with this.

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Reply by tylercanada, Jul 24, 2009.

hey Katie... it's good to work with the extraneous in food and wine pairings... the sauces you use act as binders or bridges between the dish and vino... and how you prepare the dish... if you are having a light red, summer or afternoon enjoying, try steaming your your dish... if you want to open a big juicy red, then go roasting, or grilling... like the portabello above...
Hope that might help some :)

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Reply by annemarkis, Jul 25, 2009.

I made something last night that turned out better than I thought. Pinot Noir reduction over mushrooms and onions. Bread and cream cheese. I used the left overs to make a funny colored omelet this morning.

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Reply by lauriet, Jul 25, 2009.

I personally love grilled portobella burgers with bleu cheese and a fruity cabernet.
It's great cause you can do a mixed grill of the mushroom burgers and beef burgers for your carniverous friends!

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Reply by katelovescoffee, Aug 13, 2009.

I'm in the same boat!

My thoughts: Pair red wine with whatever you enjoy to eat!
I usually pair my heavy cabernets or spicy shiraz with home made pizza and/or pasta. Definitely second the mushroom suggestion!

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Reply by Philip James, Aug 13, 2009.

I like meaty, fruity cabs, so have been known to have them with any types of food, although they can really overpower a salad. Even the fullest body red wine can work well with cheese dishes, pasta dishes or a stew.

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Reply by MikeMiller, Aug 17, 2009.

I'm in the same boat, a vegetarian red wine lover. I feel that vegetarians, unlike meat eaters, have to be much more deliberate when planning a meal for a particular wine. It seems that meat eaters can simply slap some beef on the grill and drink just about any red wine they want. This might be an over simplification, but you sense my frustration. Nevertheless, I feel I generally have to pick out the wine I want to drink, and then plan a meal that can support it. I have personally found that Italian food works very well for pairing with reds be it pizza (which pairs very nicely with ZIn in my opinion) or eggplant parm (very good with Chateauneuf-du-Pape, or Chianti). For a heartier wine, Cab for instance, I'll tend to prepare a richer meal focusing on wild mushrooms, especially morels and porcini. Also, a variety of fake meat products do the trick, field roast in particular.

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Reply by mstein609, Aug 28, 2009.

If you're looking for a vegetarian option to go with a "steak wine," the mushroom is your friend. (Well, unless you're allergic.) Portobello, cremini, and porcini do quite well. I recently co-hosted a dinner party with someone who loves Chateauneuf du Pape but doesn't do red meat. She made a mushroom risotto while I supplied several different bottles of CdP. Everyone seemed happy; I didn't find myself missing the meat.

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