Pairing plant food with wine: vegetarian trainer offers pro tips

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Pairing plant food with wine: vegetarian trainer offers pro tips
Author of Merlot & Brussels Sprouts, Mandy Nash is a wine educator and health trainer who wants others to know how to pair vegetarian food with wine.

Beyond being a personal trainer, Mandy Nash is a wine educator. But being a vegetarian, she found a lack of information on marrying the two.

"I would be educated on what red wine pairs with and it would be like meat, steak, lamb," said Nash.

As it turns out, red wine works with tomato-based sauces and hearty vegetarian dishes like lentil burgers and meals with mushrooms that impart a meaty texture and taste. "Just bigger, bolder flavors like that," Nash said.

Her new book "Merlot and Brussels Sprouts" is designed to provide a bit of wine education and a tutorial on which wines go with vegetarian meals like her potato cauliflower curry.

And heads up, it's not red wine.

"Really spicy foods I wouldn't necessarily pair with a spicy red wine. That's going to be a little too much heat in your mouth," said Nash.

Her recipe features potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, onion, tomatoes and spices like turmeric and curry. It's a hearty dish perfect for winter, and for this dish, it's white wine she serves.

She also says white wine works for lighter fare. "Those are your salad wines as well because they usually pair really well with vinaigrette dressing and that can be kind of a hard pairing. Curry, things that go well with Thai food, Indian food," Nash said.

But like many health professionals, she wants you to enjoy moderately. "You just have to be really careful that you're sticking within your dietary guidelines," Nash said.

You do not have to drink wine to be healthy, but the dietary guidelines for Americans say if you are having one, have just one, at five ounces, and take note that the bottle of wine should be 12 percent alcohol.

Women in particular lack an enzyme in their stomach that helps break down alcohol, so staying hydrated and having wine with food helps with overall digestion.