Vegetarians often get overlooked at this time of year so if you’re vegetarian yourself or cooking for one here are some perfect pairings for some delicious festive recipes from the web.
Halloumi with chilli
A brilliantly easy party nibble from Nigella that would match well a sparkling wine like Prosecco or a crisp, fresh Sauvignon Blanc. Or with any lime-based cocktail like a Margarita or a Mojito.
Stilton, leek and celery tart with apple and cranberry chutney
You can find this delicious quiche with a twist from Market Kitchen presenter Diana Henry on the Delicious website. The tart itself is no problem. Even though it contains sometimes tricky-to-match blue cheese the cream will soften the effect but the sharp fruity spicy chutney is always a bit of a minefield for wine. The unoaked Chardonnay recommended on the site is certainly an option but I’d probaby go for a fruity red such as a Beaujolais or an inexpensive Pinot Noir. And if you’re not drinking try cranberry juice or pomegranate juice.
Vegetarian Christmas roast
This tasty Christmas roast from Tom Norrington-Davies is based on mushrooms and cheddar rather than nuts. Almost any full-bodied red would do but I’d personally go for a fruity Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz or a hearty southern French or Spanish red. (The inexpensive Vacquéyras on my new blog Credit Crunch Drinking would be perfect.) Beer-wise think in terms of an amber ale or lager.
Chestnut Bourguignon Pie
An example of a vegetarian recipe that's simply a non-meat version of a classic. Containing many wine-friendly ingredients it would go with any number of red wines. A good red burgundy would be traditional though I'd probably turn to the Rhne or a Grenache or Syrah from elsewhere. Just think medium to full bodied rather than light.
Savoy Cabbage timbale of leeks, cabbage, smoked Gubbeen and sunchoke cream
A fabulous main course dish from one of the world's most exciting vegetarian chefs, Dennis Cotter of Cafe Paradiso in Cork. Although the timbale contains many rich flavours the key element is the 'sunchoke' (Jerusalem artichoke) cream which is full of umami (the savoury taste you find in many stocks and aged parmesan cheese). That works wonderfully well with aged white burgundy or other top quality Chardonnay and Champagne but if you fancy a red I'd pick a mature Pinot Noir.
Carrot and Cashew Fan with orange and cardamom sauce and hot puy lentil and dill salad
Part of the Vegetarian Society’s ‘Nouvelle’ vegetarian menu this original main course has a vivid sweet and savoury combination of flavours (it also includes pomegranate molases). A fruity red wine is what’s needed here - I’d pick an Australian Shiraz or a Chilean Merlot or Carmenère.
Mushroom and butternut squash lasagne
You could go two ways with this richly flavoured lasagne recipe which you’ll find on the Sainsbury’s magazine website. Butternut squash is usually great with an oak-aged Chardonnay but a robust Rhône or Languedoc red would pair well with the mushrooms and cheese. A full-flavoured British ale would also work well.
Caramelised onion and lentil Wellington
A deceptively grand looking vegetarian pie that is in fact simplicity itself to make. There’s a tang of lemon which will make any accompanying wine taste sweeter so to keep the pairing in balance I’d go for an Italian red which typically have higher levels of acidity than other wines. A Barbera would be perfect.
Mushroom stroganoff with chive mash
The classic stroganoff seasonings - garlic, paprika and sour cream - are already wine friendly and mushrooms make them even more so. A great dish to serve with a good red burgundy or other elegant Pinot Noir.
Pumpkin with ginger, coconut milk and lime
If you want a break from all this festive eating, this tasty curry from Nigel Slater will hit the spot. In my view it’s a beer rather than a wine dish (a Belgian-style witbier would be ideal) but if you want to drink wine a crisp dry Riesling or an Australian Semillon would be the best options.