The turn of the year always brings the resolution to eat healthier, especially by making more meals loaded with vegetables. Of course, the easiest way to achieve this goal is by sneaking in more salads. Nowadays, there are tons of recipes for more than just iceberg lettuce and dry shredded carrots. But does a salad brimming with kale, roasted beets, and soft-boiled eggs have to mean giving up your glass of wine with dinner? Well, it depends.
Remember back in grade school when you learned about chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their green color? It’s that pigment that will destroy the taste of wine, any wine. Dark, leafy greens, like the ever-popular kale, are full of chlorophyll, so it’s best to skip the wine on nights when they are the lion’s share of your meal. You’ll want to save those green things for your not-so-sad sad desk lunch.
If you’re starting with lighter lettuces and not-so-bitter greens, pay attention to your dressing and your toppings. Keeping it purely salad greens with subtle vegetables, and everything dressed with tangy vinaigrette? You’ll need to counter the tang with a lighter high-acid white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire or New Zealand, or go for an Austrian Grüner Veltliner. If you want to pretend it’s really summer, add shrimp and grilled octopus, then pick up a bottle of Portuguese Albariño. Nights where roasted vegetables or crumbled bacon are calling to you? Enjoy with an off-dry Riesling or a Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige.
Pairing wine and salad can be tricky, but not impossible. Plus, you’re already bringing on the healthy. You’ll definitely need the wine for balance.