How To Pair Wine With Vegan Pizza

tomato pizza with two wines
tomato pizza with two wines - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Veggie pizza toppings have been around since the very first pizzas, but as vegetables alone aren't sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs of the approximately 1% of the U.S. population who avoid all animal-derived foods, some pizza chains like Mellow Mushroom cater to a vegan clientele and vegan pizzas are also available at grocers including Trader Joe's. If you plan to pick up a bottle of wine to accompany your dinner, should the pizza's plant-based nature impact your beverage choice? Priya Rao, a vegan food consultant and TV host who co-authored "The Social Herbivore: Perfect Pairings for Plant-based Cuisine" and runs the website The Social Herbivore, says that it should.

Rao tells us, "It's the meat that makes a difference, as the proteins in red meats help soften the tannins in wine." For this reason, you should look for a wine that's low in the bitter flavor that tannins often provide. Rao also feels that sauce color impacts wine choice, which is true for non-vegan pizzas, too. In her opinion, tomato-based sauces are best paired with red wines. She says, "A Beaujolais or a pinot noir could be lovely," while other low-tannin picks include gamay, grenache, or lambrusco. For a cream-based sauce, she advises, "Try a white with nice acidity like a sauvignon blanc." If your pizza sauce primarily consists of olive oil, though, she says to go with whatever wine you enjoy or have on hand.

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How The Cheese (Or Lack Thereof) Affects The Wine Pairing

hands holding wine with pizza
hands holding wine with pizza - Lightfieldstudios/Getty Images

To "cheese" or not to "cheese?" That may be the main question with vegan pizza and, in some cases, the answer could be determined by where you're purchasing the pizza. At Pizza Hut, for example, the only vegan pizza options are cheeseless as the chain has yet to add plant-based dairy substitutes to the menu. If you're buying or making a vegan pizza with plant-based cheese, though, Priya Rao says this should definitely impact your choice of wine. As she describes, vegan cheese "can often be very creamy or, dare I say, gooey." She explains, "You'll want a wine to really give your palate a break." Her recommendation is to go with a more acidic style of wine.

If you're looking for an acidic white wine, the aforementioned sauvignon blanc could work, as could a riesling, while Rao also recommends grüner veltliner, describing it as "a very cool wine from Austria that has a teeny bit of effervescence." For an acidic red, your best bets may be pinot noir, sangiovese, and nebbiolo.

Read the original article on Mashed.