Q & A |  If you don’t eat meat what should you pair with your best red wines?

Q & A

If you don’t eat meat what should you pair with your best red wines?

This was a question that popped up in our Matching Food & Wine Facebook group so I’ve included a couple of our members' suggestions but it’s well worth following the full thread

Q We have all but stopped buying and cooking meat (especially red meat) at home and this has led to a massive decline in our red wine intake. I now have many “special” bottles which are in danger of not getting drunk, or, maybe I should just drink them without food?

My normal go-to veggie dishes are just way too intensely flavoured or spicy for me to risk pairing a fabulous wine with them.

Side note, I don’t like mushrooms

A Shame about the mushrooms* but there are other options - fish for a start! There are many fish dishes that work really well with red wine, especially fish dishes that are seared like a steak

When to pair red wine with fish

In fact anything that is grilled, roast or charred in a similar way to red meat has a fighting chance. Roast cauliflower or charred hispi cabbage, for example

Then there are other vegetables than mushrooms to consider. Aubergines are generally good with red wine (though I gather your husband is not that keen on them!) as are beetroot and other root veg - again roasting them or serving them with a savoury onion gravy or red wine-based sauce will help.

Cheese of course though some can present problems with red wine. Hard sheep cheeses like Manchego work best.

The surprising one is pulses. Anything bean or lentil-based, provided it's not too spicy pairs really well with a serious red - think particularly Tuscan bean and chickpea dishes and I’d say Spanish ones too though they often contain ham or chorizo which in Spain seems to count as an honorary vegetable! Check out our post on the best wine pairing with beans.

One of our members suggested that one of her favourite dishes to pair with a spicy Rhone-style wine was a lentil and tahini recipe from Ottolenghi. “The smoky paprika creates a great bridge to the wine” she said. She also recommends pasta puttanesca with syrah.

And one of my followers on Twitter recommended a seitan burger so should have said products that mimic meat will obviously do the job too.

Join in the conversation! If you’d like to chat to fellow food and wine enthusiasts about what you’ve been eating and drinking and maybe get their advice do sign up to our Matching Food & Wine Facebook group

*maybe it would be worth trying dried mushrooms aka porcini though which don't have the same slightly slithery texture as mushrooms. Or even adding porcini or cep powder to a dish.

Photo by l i g h t p o e t at shutterstock.com

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