Wine Guide for Vegetarian food

Wine for vegetarian food is not as tricky as you might think. In fact, there are many delicious wine parings with vegetarian food including raw vegetables, curries, grilled tofu and many other veggie dishes. This wine guide will help you find the perfect wine for your vegetarian food.

Brussel sprouts in a pan next to wine for vegetarian food

Published April 10th 2020

Most people associate wine paring with the popular expression “red wine for meat, white wine for fish”, and if you are a vegetarian you might think that wine paring with vegetarian food is limited, but that is not true. Many people think it is difficult to pair wine and vegetarian food, but it is not more difficult than with any other type of foods. Vegetarian food offers a huge variety ranging from raw vegetables to creamy dishes and spicy curries. Here are some basic principles to think about when choosing the best wine for your veggie dish.

Is the food spicy?

If yes, choose a wine with a touch of sweetness like Riesling, Pinot Gris or another aromatic white wine. Fruity rosés like a white Zinfandel is also a good choice. Spicy vegetable dishes include spicy curries, hot sauce, salsa and dishes with horseradish and ginger.

How is the food cooked?

The way the food is cooked will impact the choice of best wine pairing. A light dish like a raw salad or boiled vegetables are likely to go well with a cripy light bodied white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Chablis. A dry rosé could also be a good match.

If the dish is fried or baked, like a stew or roasted vegetables, it is likely to pair well with more full-bodied white wines such as a Chardonnay or even a red.

For grilled vegetarian foods, a refreshing rosé is usually a good choice. Dry rosé is versatile and pairs well with grilled vegetables, as well as grilled halloumi cheese or even grilled tofu. A food-friendly medium-bodied red like Merlot or Sangiovese can also be great with your grilled veggies. Marinated vegetables on the grill can get an almost meaty texture and flavour. If you want to know more about the best wine for grilled vegetarian foods, you can read our wine guide for bbq food.

Deep fried food always pairs well with bubbles. Choose a sparkling wine like Prosecco for your vegetable tempura.

Is the food creamy?

If yes, pair it with a creamy oaked Chardonnay. The oak gives the wine buttery flavours that pair well with the creaminess of the dish. Creamy vegetarian dishes include those with cream-based sauces, but also vegan substitutes made of soy, coconut, cashews or almonds.

Is the food bitter?

If yes, match it with a wine with no tannins. The tannins in the wine will increase the bitterness taste. All red wines contain tannins, so you might want to stay away from those. A crisp herbaceous white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a frizzy sparkling like Cava will be good options. Many raw vegetables are bitter, especially ruccola, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and radish. Other examples of bitter foods are grapefruit, dark chocolate and artichoke. 

Is the food acid?

If yes, like a light salad seasoned with with citrus or balsamic vinaigrette, pair the food with acid wine such as a crisp Alvarinho, Chablis or Riesling . Heavier dishes with tomato-based sauces can be paired with red wines with medium high acidity like Sangiovese or Chianti.

Is the food rich?

If yes, match it with an equally rich red wine with high tannins such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo or Syrah. Rich white wines are oaked Chardonnay, Viognier and Sémillon. Rich vegetarian dishes usually include lots of cheese, cream, butter and nuts.

Does it contain mushrooms?

If yes, pair it with an earthy, light red wine such as Pinot Noir. Earthy vegan dishes such as mushroom risotto, mushroom pasta, or dishes with tahini sauce pair great with a glass of Pinot Noir.