Wine and Vegan Food Pairing

So you’ve finally become a vegan? And now you’re looking for wine and vegan food pairing information?

wine and vegan food pairing

Congratulations! Ethically and morally you’ve just won some much needed Good Place points. You may now enjoy an eternity of not being poked in the buttocks by Satan. Before dancing in your own ticker tape parade, take note,  you may have avoided Satan but you now have to wrestle with Seitan (and Tempah and Tofu), and the complex and beguiling world of wine and vegan food pairings. Welcome to the winning team!

When I became vegan one of the major downers was the thought of having to give up bold reds with my meals. I’m not the type of wino to just drink a bottle of wine neat so the worry was real. Up until I became vegan, tofu was just something floating around in that fishy mess they serve before the real food comes out at a Thai restaurant. It tasted like nothing, so how could you pair it? But when I became vegan, I quickly realised three things.

  1. There’s more to being vegan than tofu with plenty of tasty and textureful (today that’s a word) alternatives to meat out there.
  2. Good vegan food can be full of flavour and more than a match for big and beautiful reds.
  3. I’d need to start drinking more. For iron.

So, how do you pair a wine with an intense flavour profile, big tannins and potential high acid with vegan food. Here are some tricks for the ultimate wine and vegan food pairing! Buckle up, Snowflake –  #reclaimtheburn

Wine and Vegan Food Pairing

  • High Tannin – Wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo can be enjoyed with vegan food. You need to pair their potential astringency with a vegan ingredient of high protein.  A seitan based dish has the protein. If you create a sauce with some high fat content and ensure any bitterness is offset then you’ve got yourself a match. I recommend a seitan and mushroom risotto with a Barbaresco. It’s tasty and, plus points, no one had to die. Winner winner seitan dinner.

vegan barbaresco

  • High Acid– Wines like Pinot Noir and Barbera are high acid, but, in the case of Pinot Noir, not always super low tannin. This wine and vegan food pairing is less straight forward, but perhaps simpler, due to the number of vegan ingredients that can take on high acid in wine. Fat and salt, like always, are your friends when facing down a high acid wine. You could just throw a bag of salted peanuts into the dish (hey, it works in Asia!), but I would recommend creating a Piedmontese extravaganza; tajarin pasta with truffle paired with a good bottle of Barbera.

barbera wine vegan

  • High Intensity– Wines like Sagrantino or Tannat will blow your face off regardless of the food pairing. I’m going to go against convention and recommend having some fun. Pair these wines with the fattiest greasiest vegan pizza you can find (err… make), then load it up with veez and chillis and have yourself a tongue party.  I can’t recommend an Italian wine for every vegan food pairing can I? So let’s go with this fabulous Tannat from Salta.

vegan wine tannat

So there you have it, proof positive that being vegan does NOT mean losing out on those tasty reds. I don’t really have anything else to say other than make sure to get your vitamin b12 shots and take extra care in Spanish restaurants where they’ll slip a bit of ham literally anywhere (and not just in the food).  And to you vegetarians… commit! 

If you’re looking for a good recent guide to vegan wine in the UK then read David William’s recent Guardian article on vegan wine here.

Question: What’s the best wine and vegan food pairing you’ve ever made?  Are you even vegan? What you doing here then?

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