#MeatlessMondays & Red Wine

#MeatlessMonday is hard enough for a bacon lover like me, but it’s even harder when you have the urge to put red wine on the table.

I don’t discriminate when it comes to the color of wine, but there’s something about dinner time (cold nights? candle light? the need for alcohol?) that makes red wine seem more fitting than white most nights.

What makes it so hard to pair red wine with vegetarian meals? Naturally I took to Google and found a serious lack of advice, so I started experimenting.

Red wine has tannins (that delightful puckering sensation), which makes them feel powerful, and also contributes to their pairing prowess with steak and difficulty with vegetables. Tannins and fat balance eachother out from a chemical perspective on our palates, which is why fatty meats and big, bold red wines (looking at you, Cabernet Sauvignon) are a natural combination.

Replacing that steak with a soy-based wannabe simply doesn’t work, since tofu-steak doesn’t have the fat to balance tannins.

One method that does work, is pairing based on texture of a main dish instead of the fat content or the central flavors of an entree. For example, mushrooms and eggplant both have a hearty, meat-like texture and earthy flavor that can play alongside red wines in a vegetarian meal.

Starting with a hearty texture, you can add in touches of flavor, fat, and spice that make red wine a tasty match.

Eggplant parmesan, for example, combines that meat-like texture with cheese (read:fat) and together the combination eliminates the tannic pucker of a red wine, while the flavors between earthy eggplant, melty cheese, and zesty tomato sauce meld beautifully with a red wine like Sangiovese or Barbera.

Mushroom stroganoff (AKA: Beef-less Stronganoff) creates a similarly delightful pairing with reds like Merlot or even Cabernet Sauvignon-heavy Bordeaux blends. Again, it brings together a rich, hearty texture with tannin-canceling fat (that addictive, creamy sauce) to create mouthfuls that are so much better with a red wine than with whites.

Stuffed mushroom caps or bell peppers, risotto, Indian or Moroccan lentil dishes, are all canvases for great vegetarian meals with red wine counterparts…as long as you don’t throw in a handful of bacon.

No, I will not be doing Vegan wine pairings anytime soon…or ever for that matter.

#Meatless Mondays and Red Wine Uncorked:

Laura Loves: Alton Brown, and his recipe for Mushroom Stroganoff.

Bright lively Italian Docletto (like Oddero Dolcetto D’Alba ) with eggplant dishes.

Fun Facts: A single Portabella mushroom can contain more potassium than a banana.

NOTHING beats Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon with mushroom stroganoff or risotto.

The dairy fats that eliminate tannins also hide flaws in wine, which is why wine and cheese became a popular combination before wines could be easily preserved.

Recipes to Try: Moroccan Lentil Soup

My favorite Eggplant Parm



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