Two Delicious Vegan Wine & Food Pairings to Celebrate Veganuary
In celebration of Veganuary, we catch up with Francis of Vegan Wines and Rebecca Carucci of Powered by Plants Consulting as they collaborate on sharing tips for a delicious home-cooked meal. For the main course, Rebecca shares one of your favorite recipes: Polenta, Mushrooms and Spinach and Francis pairs this with a 2018 Moretta Ceniciento Cabernet Sauvignon.
“This wine’s ruby red with violet hues boasts a palate that is fruity, fresh, and consistent with the nose. It has a balanced acidity, which gives it the quality of being extremely easy to drink wine when served with comfort food like this hearty polenta dish,” says Francis..
For dessert, you have to try the dark chocolate truffle recipe. Francis paired this with a 2020 Hazel Pinot Noir. “This is a serious Pinot Noir with notes of cherry, crushed leaves, and slight smoke. The tannins are silky, but make themselves present. There’s a nice savory cherry finish, like fruit compote. Pairs perfectly with chocolate, pasta with tomato-based sauces, and mushrooms.”
Bon appetit and share a photo if you make and love these recipes! Happy Veganuary to all!
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POLENTA WITH MUSHROOM AND SPINACH
This is a satisfying and comforting dish that is as tasty as it is healthy. The balanced flavor, of this meal and cabernet selection, creates a great pairing!
Serves 4 (Gluten-Free)
- 1 cup polenta (Bob’s Red Mill is a good choice)
- 3/4 cup plain non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1-2 tbsp. of non-dairy butter
- 2-3 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast Flakes, optional
Mushroom & Spinach:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (cremini or button work nice)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari for GF
- 1 (5 oz.) container of organic baby spinach (or loose spinach, roughly chopped)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2-3 tbsp. Pine (aka pignoli) nuts are optional but a nice addition.
- Bring the milk and vegetable broth to a boil in a pot. Stir in the polenta, slowly, using a whisk to vigorously mix. While whisking, reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue to whisk for 1-2 minutes to avoid lumps.
- Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. (If the polenta thickens too much you can add additional milk or broth to thin it).
- Once the polenta is creamy and smooth, remove the pot from the stovetop. Add butter and nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan, if desired. Stir to combine.
Mushroom & Spinach Topping:
- Heat oil in a skillet or pan. Add onions and mushrooms. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes on high heat or until it begins to get brown.
- Add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer.
- Add soy sauce or tamari and spinach. Cook for 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Some acidity is nice at this point. Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon or lime juice, or balsamic vinegar.
- Toast pine nuts in a small pan without oil until lightly browned. This is optional but nice for texture and taste.
- Serve polenta with mushrooms, spinach, and pine nuts on top!
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DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES RECIPE
This one doesn’t need much explaining. Pinot Noir + dark chocolate. Yes, please!
Makes about 10-12 truffles
- 3.5 oz. 70% (or higher) dark chocolate bar (I love Hu Simple Dark Chocolate bars so 1 bar plus just over another 1/2 of another bar of that type) or you can use 3.5 oz. of dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup coconut milk, room temp or slightly warm (shake can well before measuring)
- Pinch of fleur de Sel or a good quality sea salt
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup, room temp
- 2 tbsp. of any smooth nut butter of choice (can sub for SunButter for nut-free)
- 1/4 tsp. finely ground espresso powder, use finely ground coffee as a sub
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Optional coatings: Cocoa powder, powdered sugar, finely crushed nuts, etc.
- Finely chop your chocolate bar (if using dark chocolate chips, skip).
- In a large microwave or heat-safe bowl, add the chocolate and milk only. Either melt over a double boiler or heat in the microwave for 30 seconds initially, mix, and then at 15-second intervals (usually 2) until almost melted. Be careful not to burn.
- Stir or whisk until smooth and all the chocolate is completely melted.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients, except optional coatings. Whisk or stir until completely smooth.
- Place in the fridge overnight, or for at least 6-8 hours, until it is completely firm and solid.
- Arrange wax or parchment paper on a baking pan for a work surface to roll balls. Once the mix is chilled and set, use a melon scoop or small cookie scoop to form small balls in your hands.
- Roll into your preferred coatings. I like rolling them in cocoa powder. As they sit, the first coating will soak a bit into the truffle, so you can do a 2nd coating if you like.
- Keep them stored at room temperature for the best texture.
* Prep tip: Make the mix the night before enjoying and chill overnight. Form balls the next day.