Pairing Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen recipes with some recently tasted wines was a great education for me.

REMINDER from yesterday: Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen, published by Fair Winds and written by Joni Marie Newman, offers fresh ideas and flavor combinations for anyone, as it would for any vegan on the path of finding culinary satisfaction. The book is subtitled: 125 Comfort Food Classics, Reinvented with an Ethnic Twist!

Yesterday’s story of Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen and great wine pairings was an interesting writing process. First I tasted the wines, then I found the recipes for the perfect food to complement the wines. This is Part 2 of yesterday’s story.

Not only am I making food and wine pairing suggestions here, but I’m also telling you why these pairings are perfect for each other. Each wine, forgetting the vintage, comes from a winery that’s offering consistency, as best as it is able. So, when one vintage becomes unavailable, reach for the next. The essence of each wine will remain.

And, one more thing… I’ve not listed every single ingredient in these dishes. I just want you to get the essence; just as I’m not completely laboring about the flavors in these wines. I’m just going to give you the temptations.


To correspond with the chapters

  1. Sauce
    • Thai Peanut Sauce (page 21), to go with the adjoining recipe.
      • Based on peanut butter, which is very rich and creamy, a wine with great acidity will complement any foods that accompany this sauce.
    • Thai Peanut Chicken and Waffles (page 90)
      • This chicken recipe demonstrates how you can satisfy a vegan with just a waffle, while also offering your other guests who enjoy chicken a delicious and flavorful meal for all.
    • 2013 Pam’s Un-Oaked Chardonnay
      • I’ve chosen this one, because I know two things about it:
      • It was crafted for customers who asked winemaker Joe Freeman to craft a Chardonnay that has a bit of residual sugar in it, so they could make these kinds of pairings.
      • It’s a tad sweet, which means that it works well with dishes that have a bit of spice’s heat in them… Heat + sweet = complete.
  2. Hors d’Oeuvre
    • El Paso Egg Rolls (page 44)
      • Fresh jalapeno peppers, avocados, cilantro cumin, oregano a sesame sauce (included in the book) are screaming for a wine with guts and glory… I know just the one.
    • 2012 Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel
      • This wine has been around since Prohibition.
      • Aldo Biale, grape grower Bob Biale’s father, was making this wine, and when people wanted to buy it from him, they’d call and ask for the Black Chicken. CODE: A wine that’s got oomph in it. It will stand up to the spices and herbs listed above, made creamy by the sauce and avocado.
  3. Mélange in a Bowl
  4. Twisted Table
    • Wonton Wrapped Lasagna Napoleons (page 86)
      • Wontons that wrap up anything are great small bites.
      • Tomatoes, olive oil, Cotija-Style tofu crumbles (page 112), basil chiffonade, capers, kalamata olives, spiced ketchup (page 23)
      • Did we mention no cheese?
    • 2012 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Villages, by Michel Chapoutier
      • We’re running with a Rhone wine here… a bit gutsy, a lot tasty, a sumptuous pairing for an unusual food and wine experience… Heavy emphasis on the “un” in unusual.
      • The Les Vignes de Bila-Haut is a wine that I found to be extremely complex and tasty. The natural olives flavors found in the wine will perfectly complement the olive oil and kalamata olives in this recipe.
      • This combination will make you a culinary food and wine star.
      • Your guests will ask you when you went to the Culinary Institute.
  5. Nibble & Nosh
    • California Curtido Kimchi (page 107)
      • Shredded red and green Cabbage (OMG, do I dare?), baby bok choy, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro, celery, dill, paprika… (Yes, I do.)
    • 2012 Trivento Argentina Torrentés Reserve
      • Torrentés is one of my favorite white wines. It aromatic and floral, there’s a softness about it, and this one is a really delicious example.
      • This wine brings its fruit flavors together with vegetable flavors of the recipe: citrus fruits – orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit, with honeydew and apple.
      • Again, the sweet will help with the heat.
  6. Whet Your Whistle (this one is a cocktail)
    • Lemon-Lavender Green Tea Martini (page 135)
    • Speaks for itself
  7. A Sweet Finish
    • Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake Truffles (page 160)
      • Cocoa powder, apple cider, cinnamon, vanilla… all flavors that you’ll get in a Petite Sirah, with the exception of the apple cider. these flavors will create a seamless experience with a light and lively Petite Sirah.
    • 2012 Oak Grove Petite Sirah
      • It’s a young, simple Petite Sirah, the best entry Petite Sirah that I know… and it’s under ten dollars, so you’ve got very little to lose and everything to gain.


I believe this book will be one of the best additions to your cookbook collection. When it’s all said and done, my wine and cookbooks will never leave me in this lifetime. I schlepped many of them from Maine to California, costing a bundle in shipping fees. They’re the books of life. Treasure your moments with your food and wine books. They nurture us in immeasurable ways.