Truly “Meatless” Mondays


In spite of (or perhaps because of) my insatiable wine appetite, I try to follow a healthy and relatively balanced diet, at least where solid food is concerned.

“Try” is the key word here, and also the one accurate descriptor of my attempts to participate in the #MeatlessMonday trend. Sure, less steak would probably be good for me, but I always start a vegetarian cooking process and then discover I accidentally tossed in some bacon, andouille sausage, or other fantastically delicious animal ingredient. (Animals taste good, what else can I say?)

Happily and surprisingly, I finally got it right this week! Vegetarian lasagna was on the menu and I remembered to keep the bacon hidden, despite drinking heavily enjoying some wine while cooking.

Often, vegetarian pairings present a wine pairing conundrum since most experts recommend choosing a wine based on the protein centerpiece of your plate. Trust me, protein substitutes like tofu and tempeh won’t yield successful results following that guideline, and neither do naturally vegetarian options like my lasagna.

Instead, it’s best to match a wine based on the flavor and weight of the dish. In this case, the dominant flavors were creamy ricotta, sweet butternut squash, and earthy noodles that come together in this easy recipe. Together, the three made for a savory, comforting and heavy dish.

In an effort to balance the meal, we chose with a lighter wine–one that would prop up the heavy ingredients here without competing against them. Oregon Pinot Gris to the rescue!

We chose an Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley, which was full of citrus and pear flavors and of medium-body. Made from the same grape as Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris is known for hints of creaminess and a refreshing flavor profile that combines citrus and orchard fruit.

Unlike the heavy dish, the wine was light and fresh, harmonizing with our comfort-laden plates. With our lasagna, it was a star. I’m just hoping to be as successful at operation hide the bacon vegetarianism next week.

#MeatlessMonday Uncorked:

Laura Loves: Wines from Eyrie Vineyards, one of Oregon’s pioneering wine families.

This Article on wine and veggie pairing basics.

Vinley Market for online wine shopping and discovery.

This Vivino Guide (by yours truly) for matching wines with holiday fare.

Fun Facts: Pinot Gris is a relative of Pinot Noir.

If all Americans went meat-free for a single day each week, the carbon savings are equivalent to 46 million round-trip flights from NYC to LA.

Vegetarian Pairing Guidelines: 

  1. Add Contrast–Pick a light wine with a heavy meal, like Pinot Gris with lasagna or Pinot Noir with chili.
  2. Beware of Tannins–Mouth-drying tannins need to be counteracted by fat for a glorious pairing, so avoid heavy, full-bodied reds unless you’re creating a vegetarian tower of decadence.
  • December 12, 2016
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