\ Pairing Vegan Food & Wine with Pro Sommelier Sunny Gandara

Pairing Vegan Food & Wine with Pro Sommelier Sunny Gandara

chickpea and vegetable curry

What wine to serve with vegan food is a perennial question. Pairings work “when the food makes the wine taste better, and the wine makes the food taste better.”

So says wine consultant Sunny Gandara, DWS, CWE, the in-house sommelier for Vegan Wines. She has nearly 15 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry, holds multiple certificates and diplomas for as a wine educator – and she’s an ethical vegan.

She also happens to be professionally trained chef who loves demystifying vegan food and wine. She’s given us three original recipes that she created exclusively for Vegan Wine’s club members, and today, for the first time, she is making them available to non-members.

Following each recipe, Sunny offers a suggestion for the right type of wine to sip with each dish. If you’re a wine drinker, check out Vegan Wines and their wine clubs. Cheers!

What wine to serve with vegan food is a perennial question. Pairings work “when the food makes the wine taste better, and the wine makes the food taste better.”

So says wine consultant Sunny Gandara, DWS, CWE, the in-house sommelier for Vegan Wines. She has nearly 15 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry, holds multiple certificates and diplomas for as a wine educator – and she’s an ethical vegan.

She also happens to be professionally trained chef who loves demystifying food and wine. She’s given us this original recipe that she created exclusively for Vegan Wine’s club members, and today, for the first time, she is making it available to non-members.

Following the recipe, Sunny offers a suggestion for the right type of wine to sip with the dish. If you’re a wine drinker, check out Vegan Wines and their wine clubs. Cheers!

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry in Smoky Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

  • Two 15-ounce cans organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 28-ounce can organic, chopped tomatoes
  • 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (seeded for less heat)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon 
  • 3 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped or thinly sliced carrots
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 teaspoons fenugreek leaves (optional)
  • 15 -ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • Chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges to serve
  • Brown rice to serve

In a blender, combine 1 cup of the chickpeas, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chile and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli in boiling water for about 4 to 5 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the cumin seeds and cook until they start to pop and become fragrant.

Add the onion and red bell pepper with a pinch of salt and cook for 4 minutes until the mixture begins to soften.

Add the chipotle in adobo sauce and optional chipotle powder and stir for 30 seconds or so, then add the coriander, smoked paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and garam masala and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

Add the tomato-chickpea sauce; cook partially covered for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or so until the mixture starts to dry.

Add the remaining chickpeas, blanched vegetables, coconut milk, fenugreek leaves and coconut sugar and mix well. Cook for about 30 minutes or so over medium-low heat.

Add in the peas towards the very end, taste and adjust salt and spices. Mash some of the chickpeas before serving. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges, and serve over brown basmati rice.

Wine pairing note:

Pair this curry with a bone-dry (not sweet!) Riesling. The acid in the tomatoes perfectly accents the acidity in the Riesling.

chickpea and vegetable curry

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One comment on “Pairing Vegan Food & Wine with Pro Sommelier Sunny Gandara

  1. Nikita

    We spoke to sommeliers from across the country and asked what vegetable dishes work best with red wines. Here’s their advice.

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