This is the wine pairing guide you never knew you needed — the one that skillfully teaches you to pair great wines with your healthiest diet foods, because sometimes all that #cleanliving requires a glass or two, right?
A few weeks ago I caught myself texting with an old friend about her near equal love of salads and wine, and how she was trying “to be good” and abstain from the bowl of pasta she really wanted. This got me thinking, has a wine pairing guide for all the crappy diet foods most of us normal people load up on ever been created before? Google suggested nothing of significant value, so I caught up with Sang Park, a certified sommelier with Court of Master Sommeliers and wine educator at Winc, to help me pair all the best, worst, and most neutral “healthy” foods.
1. Your Fiber One bars need a strong, bold red.
Sang recommended a 2015 Thumb War Red Blend that features a hint of cocoa and bold notes to accentuate the oats in the bar. Basically your palate deserves a strong flavor to match the strong levels of gas you’ll be having post-bar. My bestie, Aly Walansky, tried the red-meets-high-fiber pairing recently and gave it a thumbs up (which is a big deal from an accomplished food writer like herself).
2. Baby carrots call for a good Pinot Grigio.
“A light and citrusy white will add some zing to veggies.” My cousin Robyn couldn’t agree more, and gave this pairing a try. Two thumbs up from my gene pool.
3. Grilled peaches should be honored with a white blend.
Since you’re abstaining from ice cream (ugh, sadness), grilled peaches are probably your go-to dessert these days. They require a white blend that has strong stone fruit flavors, like this one. By the way, this is the best recipe for grilled peaches ever.
4. Raisin Bran or other especially fibrous cereals need a sassy Zinfandel.
I don’t know what time you wake up, but I’ve heard a lot of people do it late in the day, making fiber cereal and wine a totally reasonable partnership. If you’re judging this addition to our wine pairing guide, look away now, because Raisin Bran is kind of great. Sang says to look for a, “jammy, bold Zinfandel that can stand up to both the sweet raisins and crunchy bran flakes.” Good call. Also, let’s not forget that raisins and grapes are the same thing, so this is basically a family reunion of sorts, but in your belly.
5. Kale salads pair best with plummy red wines, so keep that in mind.
If you’re stuck in a kale salad rut, fear not, there’s wine to the rescue. “The savory undertones of a bright red will add substance to the kale.” My friend Joana Zuppas clearly agrees, and suggests everyone over the age of 21 hop on the health food wagon immediately.
6. Fruit salads require Riesling.
If you’re trying to be the “good” one at brunch this weekend by abstaining from smothered waffles and champagne, that’s cool and I salute your efforts, because Riesling and fruit salad is just as delish apparently but offers the added benefits of natural fiber, no saturated fats, or cholesterol. It’s basically medicine, right? “An off-dry Riesling with fruity and floral characters and the slight sweetness can stand up to the fruit salad.”
7. Apple slices with almond butter (speaking of fruit, anyway) need a buttery white.
This is another opportunity for a good white blend, and one with a supple texture like a 2015 Greensmith White blend will only enhance the creamy, fatty texture of the almond butter. You’re going to be the cutest, healthiest, and most basic girl in the Whole Foods checkout line. You win!
8. Poached eggs do best with a sparkling white, because brunch.
Brunch is a meal that cannot be overlooked, and while your diet-friendly self may opt to leave the carbs behind, poached eggs by themselves (or over a side salad) are a relatively low-cal dose of healthy protein, which is exactly why the idea of sparkling wine is so great. Balance in the universe is everything, right? Wine is a fruit. “Its fruity goodness and smooth bubbles will make a great match for any egg dishes. Also, because eggs and mimosas are a no-brainer.” This is your official Sunday food and wine pairing, okay?
9. Frozen watermelon wedges need a good Rosé wine, but also because it’s still summery out there.
Can we even talk about how heavenly this looks? Sang used this affordable 2015 Cocomero Rosé for our wine pairing guide, but you can use whatever not-too-sugary pink bottle you’ve got left in the wine fridge tonight.
10. Caprese salad also requires a good Rosé.
Pick something juicy and crisp for the perfect pairing with your *hopefully* ripe tomatoes and creamy mozz cheese.
11. Your sauteed veggies can pair nicely with a bold red.
Let this be a valuable lesson to each of us — wine almost always makes sense, and your diet is no reason to let go of your dreams. (But drink responsibly, okay? Don’t be a schmuck with a wine glass.)