Imagine this: Christmas is over, and the New Year has just begun. You wake up one cold January morning and ask yourself: How could I start the new year 2023 better than the last one? How could I change old habits, care more for myself and for my environment as well?
Do those questions sound familiar to you? Well, instead of doing Dry January like you did last year, why not opt for Veganuary this time? (Or Meatless January if you don’t want to be too extreme…) At least you’ll finally be able to understand your vegan friend that always rambles on how important it is to reduce our meat consumption, or your daughter that is still stuck in her hippie phase, rejecting even her grandma’s cake because it contains eggs and butter.
To help you with your decision, we have collected a few easy and tasty recipe ideas – together with the perfect wine pairing that will only enhance those veggie flavours. Note that our wine propositions only include natural or biological wines this time, to go with the theme.
What about the cheese though?
Cheese is always the one argument against going fully vegan – people just can’t seem to live without it. And we completely understand. What better comfort food than pasta with a rich; creamy and cheesy sauce, paired with a glass of dry and crispy white wine? Luckily for you, it has become easier and easier to replace cheese in dishes – the vegan shelf in your local supermarket most likely has at least one cheese replacement to offer. But to make a creamy sauce for pasta, that is not even necessary: You only really need margarine or another vegan butter, your favourite unsweetened plant milk, and a little bit of flour. Whisk it all together on the stove like you would for a regular Bechamel sauce. Spice it up with a little nutmeg and some salt and pepper, and if you want that tangy cheese flavour, add some nutritional yeast or the vegan cheese you found. And if you don’t want to go fully vegan: Regular cheese pasta also doesn’t contain meat: win-win! The only thing still missing now is the wine, of course. With cheesy sauces, it is best to opt for a crisp and dry white wine: Consider our propositions from two domaines from the Jura and Burgundy region. But even a light-bodied red wine, for example from Alsace, could go perfectly with it. Have a look at our propositions here:
A classic French dish with a classic French wine
If you are thinking of doing the whole French experience for dinner, don’t be afraid: there are ways to make (almost) anything vegan. Just leave out the meat and substitute dairy products, there’s plenty of alternatives out there. And if you feel extra experimental today, what about trying a twist on one of the famous French classics? Of course, some culinary experts and proud lovers of French cuisine might feel offended if you dare changing the original recipe… But we do hope your tastebuds won’t be after trying this yummy recipe inspired by THE Boeuf Bourguignon! Instead of the actual “Boeuf”, you’ll need smoked tofu for this recipe.
First, fry some carottes, an onion, thyme, and bay leaves in a pan. Next, put in the smoked tofu cut into cubes as well as some mushrooms, we recommend a mixture, you can go for Shiitake and Champignons de Paris if you like. Put in some minced garlic, vegetable stock cubes, water, tomato paste and some spices: paprika, salt and pepper. And don’t forget that you will also need some Burgundy red wine for the sauce! We recommend you use the same wine you want to drink while eating as well, or at least stay true to the grape variety. Try, for example, this biodynamic and natural cuvée from the Domaine Ballorin & F in the Côte de Nuits. Or, if you really want to impress someone and have a higher budget, why not go for this Pommard from Philippe Pacalet? Its opulent, full body will pair perfectly with your veganised version of a French classic.
Will I have to get rid of dessert altogether?
There is one very simple answer to this question: No, you certainly don’t. These days, you’ll find vegan desserts in almost every supermarket and in bakeries. And with a few tricks, you’ll be able to find a non-dairy alternative for almost every ingredient: butter and milk can easily be replaced by plant-based options, as we’ve already shown further up in the article. To replace cream, you could get some coconut milk – it does have a different flavour but goes very well with lots of desserts. Eggs might be the ingredient you’ll find most difficult to replace, but there is more than one solution to this problem: Try flaxseed, baking powder and oil or different starches, depending on the dessert. You might have to experiment a little, but isn’t that part of the fun? For example, you could try an apple cake or apple strudel, as it will be easy to make vegan and as apples are one of the very few seasonal fruits in Europe right now. Combine it with a sweeter white wine, like this Muscat that comes from a biodynamic and natural domain in Corsica. You could also go for a bottle of Riesling or Gewürztraminer from Alsace – this Vin de France from the natural-working Domaine La Grange de l’oncle Charles will not disappoint you.
Think of the environment when buying wine as well!
While not all natural or biodynamic wines are vegan, strictly speaking (because some domaines use animal proteins for the clearing process), they offer a variety of advantages. The production process of biological wines is generally less harmful for the environment, as the grapes are grown in a sustainable way. They also tend to be better for your health: Natural wines contain less additives like sulphur. Have a closer look at our selection of natural and biodynamic wines to change your consumption habits a little bit! You don’t have to go all in, but maybe the food ideas have given you some inspiration to reduce the animal products you consume – and maybe we’ve sparked an interest in you to buy less conventional and more natural and biological wine. Let’s toast to this with a Brut Réserve Taittinger, for example – a completely vegan champagne for your start of 2023.