Autumn Vegetables and Wine Pairing
The trees are changing colour, and the leaves and temperatures are starting to drop. Its that little chill in the evening that gets us thinking about warming, earthy comfort foods. Mother Nature provides this to us in the form of a beautiful, bountiful harvest of sunset coloured fall vegetables of squash, carrots, aubergine, sweet potatoes and cauliflower, to name a few.
Vegetables are making their way up the table from side dish to main star. Autumn’s vegetables contribute to hearty dishes and learning to pair them with your favourite wine will make for some cosy evening meals. Here are some fun pairings and a roasted veg recipe with some fun tips for you to try.
This jumbo gourd (although technically a fruit) can be quite the indulgent dish. Stuffed butternut squash, butternut squash soup or the seasonal butternut squash ravioli sings when paired with Viognier. A classic Chardonnay pairs well but a Viognier’s high fruit flavour and creamy texture marry nicely with this dish. Domaine Belle Mare Viognier is highly aromatic, and on the palate, it bursts with apricots and honeydew melon, tempered by refreshing acidity and a long, dry finish.
Aubergine (eggplant) is a wonderfully meaty veg often used as a meatless Monday alternative. Its creamy and earthy goodness lends itself to a few great wine pairings. Aubergine is a bit of a chameleon, absorbing flavours of what it is cooked alongside. It will glean a char flavour from grilling, roasting or stir-frying. The smoky undertones and herbaceous and bell pepper-like flavours in a Cabernet Franc will heighten these flavours. San Simone Sugano Cabernet Franc is medium-bodied and exudes the characteristic herbaceous bouquet, and because of its high acidity and slightly reduced tannins, it will pair well with many dishes.
Cauliflower has gone from an unimaginative, bland sidekick to a satisfying plant-based main. Oven-roasted cauliflower steaks are all the rage and are indeed delecta. Cauliflower is cut and oven-roasted with simple seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. You can also top with Parmesan cheese or add a sauce like chimichurri, chutney or pesto. The acidity of a crisp, dry Chenin Blanc is an ideal match because of its stone fruit flavours. Coriole Chenin Blanc’s quince and honeydew with hints of kiwi fruit and lovely clean finish is an excellent value from Australia.
The sweet potato is a versatile vegetable pairing nicely with a decent variety of wines. Since sweet potatoes are as the name suggests and usually prepared mostly using baking spices, look for wine with a bit of spice and refreshing acidity. The ginger-like spice and fuller body of a Gewurtztraminer is a beautiful pairing with a Moroccan tagine with sweet potatoes. The highly aromatic Jean Paul Mader Gewurtztraminer’s fruits and spice and full, rich palate is quite a treat.
We love a luscious red beet. The beet bulb is a dreamy combination of sweet and savoury. It boasts the highest sugar content of any vegetable, yet is low in calories. We love it in a salad or on a cheese platter but when Autumn appears it is a perfect companion for a meat braise or a flashy pink risotto. Beetroot is often paired with a dry Riesling, but we found the sweet and rich earthiness of the beetroot complements so nicely with a fruity red, medium-bodied wine with the same earthy undertones. The savoury earth notes in beet will draw out the same flavours in a Pinot Noir. Bender Pinot Noir has charming aromas of red fruits and subtle spicy notes.This wine is an excellent example of Spätburgunder (as the Germans call Pinot Noir): elegant, structured, softly tannic and long.
ROAST AUTUMN VEGETABLES
A roasted vegetable recipe is a great way to add the abundance of fresh autumn vegetables into one meal. You can play around with whatever vegetables you choose. The Minimalist Baker has some fun tips and a good recipe featuring our fave autumn veg to use as a starting point.
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 35 minutes
TOTAL TIME 45 minutes
Category: Side Dish
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days
INGREDIENTS & INSTRUCTIONS
- 1 medium sweet potato (well rinsed, skin on, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds)
- 1 large beet (well rinsed, skin on, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds)
- 2 large carrots (well rinsed, peeling optional, thinly sliced on a slant)
- 1 bulb garlic (cloves removed and separated, peeling optional)
- 1 small red or white onion (skin removed, sliced into thin wedges from top to bottom)
- 1 small head cauliflower (cut into large bite-sizes pieces)
- 1 small head broccoli (cut into large bite-sizes pieces)
- Any other seasonal vegetables you have on hand (well rinsed, peeling optional, sliced in bite-size pieces)
- 1-2 Tbsp oil
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and prepare 1-2 large baking sheets (depending on how many vegetables you’re roasting) with parchment paper or a non-stick sheet. Follow the tips above to prepare vegetables for roasting by rinsing as needed, peeling as desired, and slicing/piecing into bite-size pieces. Peeling the garlic is optional – it can be roasted peeled OR with the skin on.
- Add vegetables to the same baking pans according to their required cook time. Root vegetables (beets, carrots, potatoes, etc.) generally tend to take longer (up to 40 minutes), so I like to group them together so they finish baking at the same time.
- Cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage), as well as garlic and onion don’t tend to require as much time to cook (~25 minutes) so we recommend grouping them together on a separate pan so they finish baking at the same time.
- Once on the pan, drizzle with a little oil to coat, a pinch of salt, and desired seasonings of choice. We prefer a heavy coating of curry powder. NOTE: However, depending on how you intend to use the vegetables, you may choose not to season. For instance, if you plan to freeze your roasted carrots or sweet potatoes and then add them to smoothies, maybe just add a little salt and omit any further seasoning.
- Rub the oil and seasonings of choice into the vegetables and arrange into even layers so there isn’t much or any overlap. Then bake until golden brown and tender (anywhere from 20-30 minutes for cruciferous vegetables, onions, and garlic, and anywhere from 25-40 minutes for root vegetables).
- Remove from oven and enjoy immediately on things like salads, bowls, in pasta salads and more! See the video below for inspiration. I like to freeze my roasted (or even steamed) carrots and sweet potatoes to add to smoothies throughout the week. My favourite way to use beets is blended into hummus. And roasted broccoli and cauliflower are perfect for grain bowls, pasta salads, and more.
- Enjoy when fresh, or store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days. Reheat in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, or in a 375 degree F (190 C) oven until hot.
- You can also freeze up to 1 month, but it’s usually best to add these frozen roasted vegetables to things like smoothies, stews, and vegetable broth where their texture will be masked.