Wine & Food

Snooth User: pearl83girl

Vegetarian wine pairings...

Posted by pearl83girl, Mar 21, 2011.
Edited Mar 23, 2011

So I often find it tricky to be a wine lover and vegetarian.  It seems pairings are much more difficult.  I would love advice on this subject as I don't want to just avoid big, bold, high tannin reds b/c I don't eat meat.  I've written about my struggle in my blog.  Advice?





Reply by GregT, Mar 21, 2011.

Well, if you're smoking cigars, you can't be doing it for the health reasons, so why force yourself to be vegetarian?  I'd go with a good lamb chop!  Yummy!

If you really do want to pass on all meat, do you eat cheese? I always have some dough around the house in case I want to throw some in the oven with cheese on it. You could also do things like eggplant parmesan for example, but then again you've got the cheese thing going.  If you pass on cheese, then you're really SOL.

Root vegetables that you roast can be nice with many reds - turnips, potatoes, carrots, anise, etc. Alternatively, some bean dishes and dips work really well with many wines. The things that don't work with wine are greens for the most part - green beans, spinach, chard, etc.  That doesn't mean don't eat them - I eat them all the time, but if that's your main dish, maybe you want some crackers or something to nibble with the wine. 

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 22, 2011.


Mushrooms are a good meat substiute and the earthy flavour profile goes pretty well with Pinot Noir

Red Wine is pretty good to drink without food so try some good Shiraz/Cabernets and/or blends without food.

You could also do a big hearty vegie stew or casserole with Mushrooms and Red wines will go OK with this.

Tomato based pastas with vegeis are also good with Italian style wines such as Sangiovese

If GDD, Napagirl or Dmcker are online they will have some ideas I am sure.

Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Mar 22, 2011.

I'm a lifelong lacto/ovo veg.  Unfortunately, if you're really trying for the best pairing, it won't often be a big, bold, tannic red.  They simply don't work well with most vegetarian dishes.

My one exception is fettucine alfredo and Amarone.  Even though it's an illogical match in my brain for almost every reason, they're so damned delicious together.

Otherwise, I drink mostly whites with food, or medium-bodied and under, high-acid reds.  Sangio is pretty food-friendly, as is Barbera.  Lots of Rhone juice works, too.  I wouldn't kick red Burgs out of bed, either.

Reply by outthere, Mar 22, 2011.

We had a veggie meal the other night, roasted beets, potobellos, and sauteed chard/spinach and enjoyed a nice Bedrock rose with it. If your veggie dish is properly seasoned you can still enjoy it with a big red as we love Syrah and serve it often with vegetable meals. A lttle peppery spice in your food makes a big difference in what you can pair it with. Works for me anyhow.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 22, 2011.

As everyone's pretty much covered the bases already, I'll just summarize the questions, etc.:

--You should define what you mean by 'vegetarian'. I've known all sorts, from vegans to those who might best be called 'pescatarians' though they still insist on calling themselves vegetarians. In other words they just don't eat red meat, though they seem to eat things with chicken stock, too.

--Cheese and cream sauces make things easy. Do you eat these?

--Bean dishes also can match up well against reds. How experienced/adventurous are you in the kitchen?

--Mediterranean tajine and couscous dishes can also be worked in that direction.

--Do you work much with polenta?


Outside the box (off the wall?) a little, if you like Sake, I'm currently a radiation refugee from Tokyo staying at an inn run by a temple in Kyoto. Lots of great vegetarian dishes here, for which Sake is a perfect match.

Looking forward to hearing back from you. Can get to specifics after that.



Oh, and BTW, journey is spelled with a 'j' not a 'y'  ;-)

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 23, 2011.


Try this

Bake a large swiss brown field Mushroom in the oven, while it bakes, finely chop some spring onion, zuchini, eggplant and tomato, saute  in olive oil with some garlic salt and fresh basil and coriander.  Spoon into the Mushroom and cover with parmesan cheese flakes and continue to bake until the cheese is melted over the mushroom.

Serve with potatoes and pumpkin roasted in olive oil with basil and steamed green beans or spinach.

Being a self confessed carnivore I would also have a nice Loin of Lamb chop or pork chop or Porterhouse steak [ and some bacon in the mushroom mix] but even without meat I think  a good cabernet or shiraz based wine would go well the above.

I have tried this with a female friend who is a vegetarian [male vegetarians seem as rare as socially tolerant republicans] and she thought it worked well.


Reply by pearl83girl, Mar 23, 2011.


To address the "journey" thing.  That was a typo.  Oops.  My actual blog is

I am not vegan.  I do eat cheese and cream sauces and I LOVE beans!  I don't eat chicken or beef stock.  I don't consider myself an excellent cook, but I do like to experiment.  I am not familiar with polenta, though I have heard of it. :-)

Thanks for the reply.  I hope your family and friends are all safe in Japan. 




I will try your mushroom idea.  Pumpkin sounds like a great idea too!  Thanks again!



Reply by napagirl68, Mar 24, 2011.

Sorry for my lack of knowledge on the subject... but do you eat eggs?  If so, I can see a very creative (tofu-meat based, of course) Pasta Carbonara to pair with an Italian Red... perhaps a Barolo?   GDP would be quite pleased :-)

Reply by napagirl68, Mar 28, 2011.

Wanted to post that I had brunch at a teeny place in Laurel Heights (SF) today.  I did not want champagne, but went to the wine list.  I had a lovely egg white scramble with brie cheese, wild greens, and forest mushrooms.  Normally, I would have chose a fruity red to pair (because of the shrooms) but I picked a Verdehlo (CA), very dry.  It paired nicely for me... 

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 28, 2011.

We had Dry Riesling with baked Mushrooms other night and it went well, NG I presume the Verdehlo was reasonably acidic?

Reply by napagirl68, Mar 28, 2011.

Yes, sh, the Verdehlo had a decent acid balance.  I was fearful of that choice, but you know my issues with brie and champagne and  chardonnay.  So I punted.. with the Verdehlo.  Wasn't bad at all, or I wouldn't be mentioning it here.  It was a CA verdehlo from Lodi, CA.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 28, 2011.

NG - We don't produce a lot of persuasive Verdehlo down here.  Tends to come from Irrigated high cropped vineyards and is a bit one dimensional.  Will look for a decent one to see how it works.

Definitely with you on Brie and Champagne and also with chardonnay - make me wonder if a Blanc de Noir may go OK with Cream cheeses?

Reply by NigelO, Aug 19, 2012.

Recently been tasting a lot of vegan wines and setting up a separate website to sell only wines suitable for vegans (for UK delivery only). I am not vegan myself but can see how poorly they are served. We can also see how many production aids and additives that might be used that would not be suitable for vegans.

Anyway a favourite pairing would be an asparagus tart - it just went so well with La Jara Pinot Grigio. This is no ordinary Pinot Grigio, in fact I would describe it as exceptional!

Reply by roneranger, Aug 21, 2012.

Add meat


Reply by Adam Jefferson, Aug 21, 2012.

What vegetable dishes go well with a hearty red, as I understand part of the issue.

Somebody mentioned pastas, which are an excellent canvas on which to work, same goes for different kinds of rice (I particularly like to incorporate a little wild rice into things).  A few suggestions:  1) for bolder wines, incorporate bolder cheeses; 2) use ground up dried mushrooms as a seasoning; 3) onions, leeks, challots, and garlic come off differently depending on how long and how hot you cook them (a robust base for quite a bit of cooking comes from giving just a little burn to an onion or leek and then sweating it into a golden brown carmel over reduced heat); 4) grill vegetables before incorporating them.  Try a vegetarian lasagna incorporating some or all of the above (I wouldn't grill the vegetables and use the scorched onions both), and some fresh herbs in your red sauce.


Reply by NigelO, Aug 22, 2012.

To go with a hearty red? Would agree with Adam and add: lots of the more interesting mushrooms; veggie dishes with truffles - you do not need much; some of the stronger tasting beans or simply a good spicy dish.

Reply by daralyn, Mar 23, 2013.

I agree with some of the recommendations...whenever I think of vegetarian/vegan wine pairings, I think...

Red: with Red/Tomato Sauces (be it over startch/pasta/polenta, veggies/eggplant/mushrooms, gardein/tempeh/beans)

White: with White/Oil Sauces (again, over pasta, veggies, or lighter proteins like gardeins scallopini, a sauteed tofu, or chickpea dish).

Sorry for the generic answer, but hopefully it will help for anyone at any level of wine knowledge or if you are trying to accommodate family/friends who are vegan/vegetarian.

I have a bottle of truffle oil that I am looking forward to using...I guess I'll find out which it goes best with when I actually figure out a dish to prepare with it...the smell and taste of this stuff is's very rich, yet it is in an olive oil base...I'm thinking that I'll have my choice of white or red with that:)

Sorry to see really negative posts. It's sad to see someone ask for advice and people to hijack her with hate. There are other wine sites where it seems those people (all hate, no help) gather...Wine Spectator for one, and they have the full spectrum of highfalutin types from the trailer fly up to the country club types. As for the middle who like to enjoy fine wine and conversation, hopefully this site will prove to be more civil and respectful. I would hope when people observe negative behavior, they report it to the site moderator.

For those with constructive comments, thanks for being helpful.


Reply by JonDerry, Mar 23, 2013.

What a blast from the past this thread is.

Reply by Enobytes Wine, Mar 29, 2013.

Hi pearl83girl!  I have a lot of great wine parings with vegetarian foods. Enjoy!

~Pamela @ Enobytes


Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 30, 2013.

I went back and checked the blog and it looked like it hadn't been updated since October 2011!  Guess her wine journey stopped a while ago.  Does she stop back here?  Doubt it, but we'd love to know...

I did sit next to an assistant winemaker recently who was definitely veg.  I was a vegetarian a while back, before "humanely raised" (but killed nonetheless) meats became available.  I'm still pretty careful about not eating too much, but tonight we'll be at another Seder and I would be a real pain in the a$$ if I didn't eat flesh--brisket and chicken.  Lots of fun with those pairings, but wine and non-meat stuff can be done.

BTW, love GregT's initial observation about the cigar.  What are people thinking?  Oh, wait, they aren't thinking, or trends like cigar smoking wouldn't wax and wane. 

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