Vegan/fish dishes to pair with bold red wine

Any suggestions on dishes you’ve enjoyed that are both heart healthy (vegan or lower saturated fat fish) and pair well with bigger red wines that more traditionally pair with beef/lamb/game? In particular, I like Napa cabs, Brunello and left bank Bordeaux. Honestly I can drink the Napa stuff with basically anything, but have more trouble with old world wines.

First off, people will disagree, but forget about fish. Seriously. People will inevitably post about how much they like big reds with whatever fish, but the pairing tastes terrible to a lot of us, and even if you’re tolerant, it’s never as good as pairing wines like this with things that follow my suggestions below.

I eat vegetarian most of the time, and many meals are vegan. For wines like this, it takes some cooking, because umami is your friend. Think about dishes with mushrooms, olives, soy sauce, black garlic, tomatoes, beans, tempeh, red wine reductions…and plenty of cook time for everything to come together and the umami to intensify. You can use similar seasonings to what you’d use for the meats you mentioned, you’ll just need more if you have a vegetarian protein like beans or tempeh.

I’ve found Syrah can go well with a chipotle or Cajun spiced salmon. Whole Foods has some nice spices along these lines.

Pasta puttanesca goes well with lots of Italian reds. I prefer it without the anchovies which makes it vegan and I think also makes it more red amenable. You can do things like bump up the red pepper a bit and use black vs green olives to enhance some of the flavors.

you could try fish Veracruz. I would modify it by deleting most of the jalapeno as that does not typically go with wines with big tannins. If you are drinking a low acid/low tannin big red, some jalapeno could work.

I 2nd the cajun fish stuff, but you would have the same issue. A really hearty black bean and mushroom plant-based dish could go well with big wines. Certain vegetarian central and south Indian lentil dishes could potentially go with them as well, it would depend on the spices. Also, we now have impossible burgers, so yeah.

Maybe try traditional meat dishes using seitan or meat substitutes like beyond meat? I tried a few products and some of them are pretty good.

You crushed it! [cheers.gif]

This is a great answer.

As far as fish, you’re not going to find wine geek pairing nirvana there (but it’s hardly necessary to have that in order to enjoy a meal with wine), but you’re probably best looking to the richest side of the spectrum. Swordfish, tuna, especially grilled, would be better options. And any additives or sauces would be better coming from the areas Doug describes.

Better not to emphasize lemon and highly acidic flavors, or very hot/spicy flavors, with the fish when pairing them with tannic reds. That will tend to make the wine taste bitter.

Hearty seafood stews like Cioppino would work reasonably well, too, especially with higher acid reds (you mentioned Brunello, for example).

Lots of roast monkfish dishes work well, sturgeon with red wine sauce and leeks also just a couple of days ago.

It’s really not so hard!

Portuguese fish stew comes to mind

Dougs advice is very good though I haven’t been successful pairing red wines with soy sauce. I think it’s due to the sweetness and acid in the sauce.

Crisp whites and champagne always seem better with my sushi and stir fries.

Doug’s answer was great, at least the second part of it. A lot of what you are pairing to is the accompaniment or sauce anyway, so just focus on that. Beans, peas, and legumes in many forms, mushrooms in many forms, and root vegetables that you grill or braise can go with a lot of wines, both red and white.

As to fish, that really depends on the fish. You can do some kind of seafood stew or rice dish and there’s little reason a nice red wouldn’t work with that. And as mentioned, the bigger fish that are grilled can be pretty good with a lot of bigger wines as well. I probably wouldn’t pair Dover sole with a big Cab, but there are plenty of pairings that work. And again, look at the accompaniments.

Soy sauce to me is next to impossible to pair beautifully with a lot of reds, but it’s almost made for sherry. In fact, when making something like chashu like I made last night, I rarely have any sake or mirin around, but a dry sherry works just as well. Good luck.

I should point out that I don’t mean soy sauce as a condiment. I cook with it in limited amounts and it provides salt and umami without clashing with wine the way it does when food is dipped directly into it.

Yup. We use fish sauce in much the same way.

Absolutely! Me too.

Vegan eggplant parm (using vegan cheese or no cheese). Vegans might prefer the vegan cheese, non vegans no cheese. Or easy to make half the tray with regular cheese and the other half vegan.

I’m someone who needs to eat low-fat, though have the ability to cheat on rare occasions. What follows are some stylistic points for keeping it tasty while eating low-fat.
I presume you are eating vegan dishes due to low-fat rather than meat avoidance. I find using non-fat chicken broth in otherwise vegan dishes adds a lot of the umami you are seeking. Using mushrooms, especially the more interesting varieties, gets you there too. Using some mushroom broth in conjunction with vegetable or chicken broth adds complexity. If you can, use the steeping water from reconstituted morels, it’s the best for this! A teaspoon or two of soy is good and doesn’t overpower sauces or broth.
I also count fat grams, so sometimes can add a tablespoon of butter, oil or duck fat to a dish for getting that little kick. If your diet allows, do this occasionally.
Hope this helps!

Deb Perelman’s (Smitten Kitchen) Mushroom Bourgugnon is the best red wine friendly vegetarian dish I know of. The only non vegan ingredient is two tablespoons of butter, which can easily be swapped out for a vegan alternative.

Caponata over pasta

I’ve had seriously good vegan dishes at Vinh Loi. I’m sure there are other vegan-Vietnamese restaurants around the country. I had a “BBQ duck” banh mi and stir fried udon that I would happily drink red or white wine with.

Oeufs en meurette, but with beans and/or seared tuna in place of the eggs. Don’t sear the tuna and then poach it too, just sear it and add it at the end.

Fresh porcini caps, roasted in nothing but olive oil, S+P.

Wild mushroom risotto, made with a blend of red wine and mushroom stock.

Salmon with chanterelles in a red wine sauce.

Best Mushroom Bourguignon Recipe - How to Make Del Perelman's Bourguignon with mushroom stock instead of chicken.

Sea Bass with Cannellini Bean Stew | Feasting At Home with vegetable stock.