Red Wines To Pair With Veggie Dishes

Red wine is famous for pairing perfectly with red meat, game and rich, bold flavours. When looking for recommendations for dishes to pair with your favourite bottle of red, you’re unlikely to come across many veggie options. However, non-meat eaters needn’t miss out; there are many meat-free alternative meals to enjoy with a fine glass of Shiraz, Malbec or Pinot Noir. 

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, flexitarian or just enjoy the odd meatless meal, here are some delicious wine pairing suggestions. 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular varieties of red wine grape. Grown and produced in various locations worldwide, this medium-bodied wine varies from bottle to bottle, although it is generally renowned for being rich and robust, with hints of dark fruits such as black cherry, plum and blackberry. 

Pair this wine with rich, tomato-based dishes with a warming depth of flavours, such as a sour-dough base pizza with lashings of thick, rustic red sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves. The fatty, creamy texture of the mozzarella will balance out perfectly due to Cabernet Sauvignon’s tannic quality. Lentil ragu with rigatoni is equally complimentary of this deep purple-red wine. 


A slightly sweeter wine with jammy, fruity notes, Zinfandel is light in colour yet bold of body. This captivating Californian wine variety is enjoyed for its ripe fruit flavours and high alcohol content.

The charred sweetness of a BBQ marinade compliments this wine exceptionally. Coat mushrooms, tofu, imitation meat or seitan in your favourite sticky BBQ glaze, grill to perfection, and savour with a room-temperature glass of bold, juicy Zinfandel. Considering its spiciness and lively acidity, Zinfandel also pairs well with sharp cheeses, such as mature cheddar or smoked gouda, due to their dense saltiness.


Shiraz is a tremendously revered dry, full-bodied wine with complex, earthy notes of black pepper, truffle and oak. The Shiraz grape is most commonly grown in warmer climates such as Australia and South Africa. 

Savoury, umami flavours will bring out the sweetness of Shiraz whilst bolstering its earthy qualities. Pair it with wild mushrooms flavoured with garlic and fresh dill or thyme and served with fresh crusty bread. Cheese platters or vegetarian charcuterie boards with olives, sun-dried tomatoes and grilled artichokes will also compliment the bold, fruity flavours of Shiraz. 


Merlot has a complex range of flavours, with notes of herbs, blackberry and cocoa. Enjoyed as a drink on its own or with a meal, Merlot is an incredibly popular grape variety. Originally from the French region of Bordeaux, these dark-blue grapes are now grown in various locations worldwide. 

Merlot is fruit-forward and pairs well with caramelised roasted vegetables and any combination of potato and cheese. Consider serving a glass of medium-bodied Merlot with decadent bleu cheese stuffed portobello mushrooms or a hearty mushroom bourguignon, which can be made *with *a healthy glug of the same wine for a rich depth of flavour.


Malbec, synonymous with Argentina, is famed for being full of body and deep in colour. Dark fruit flavours and a smokey finish make this wine similar to Cabernet Sauvignon but higher in alcohol than Merlot or Pinot Noir - some bottles contain up to 15% ABV. 

Like most reds, Malbec traditionally pairs well with meat. For a veggie alternative, choose dishes high in protein with pulses, mushrooms and tofu. Homemade black bean chilli will compliment Mabec’s smoky tones, and any rich sauce poured over grilled aubergine will highlight a myriad of complex, vibrant flavours.

Pinot Noir

A dry, light to medium-bodied wine, Pinot Noir is slightly more acidic than most reds and contains aromas of cherry and stewed fruit. The thin-skinned Pinot Noir grape originates from Burgundy, France - a historically prosperous region responsible for some of the best single-varietal wines in the world.

Pinot Noir is perfect for light, seasonal dishes but can also be tremendously versatile depending on tannin levels. Summertime dishes pair well with this lighter variety of red. Risotto featuring asparagus, butternut squash and fennel will compliment the earthy, herbaceous nature of Pinot Noir. Flavours found in fresh, aromatic dishes such as pan-fried tofu with garlic and ginger often become lost when served with fuller-bodied reds but work harmoniously with this particular wine. 


Red Wines To Pair With Veggie Dishes
Rosa Cunningham