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Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Navratri, Diwali, Christmas…the list of festivals lined up seems unending. And as we all know, the Indian platter cannot be complete without sweets and fried goodies during festivals. Therefore, a health conscious person tries to balance out the calories by having salads for as many meals as possible. Sadly though, a bowl of salad often proves to be a dull comparison to a plate full of biryani or parathas! But with a little help from the right kind of wines, this problem can be tackled with ease. Did you know that the right kind of wine pairings with salads go a long way in transforming the taste of the salads?
Pairing wine and salads
Salads are usually a cocktail of raw leaves, fruits and vegetables, tossed around with nuts. At times proteins such as lean meat and grilled fish are added to a salad to make it tastier. Fats and calories are deliberately kept out of a salad. Does that mean the taste is kept aside as well? Not necessarily. If you are a wine lover, you can use your wine intelligently to add a dash of life to the otherwise dull bowl of greens. You can use the wine in various ways – add it as salad dressing, have a glass of wine along with the salad or simply use the wine to cook your proteins in. All simple, yet tremendously effective ways to add an exciting punch to the salad!
Wine as salad dressing
Certain kinds of wine, most commonly white wines, can be used in salad dressings. So instead of balsamic vinegar, use a Sauvignon Blanc along with olive oil and make a smooth and delicious salad dressing. However, when doing this, try to get a wine that is acidic, rather than sweet. A wine that is too sweet may clash with the flavors of the veggies and give your salad a strange taste. To balance the acidity of the wine, add some honey and mustard to the wine and you will have the most delectable and flavorsome salad dressing. If however your salad has lots of fruits in it, you can opt for a sweeter fruit wine.
Salad ingredients cooked in wine
If you are a more conservative cook and do not like to experiment with your dressing too much, you still have many options to incorporate wine into your salad. For example, if you want to add chicken or fish in your salad, rather than simply boiling them, cook them in wine. By doing so, you still manage to get lean meat without any excess or added fat as cooking the meat in wine doesn’t add any calories to it. So try marinating the chicken breast in a red wine sauce and then baking it. Use this chicken in your salad and I can assure you, you cannot put the bowl of salad down! If you are using fish, grill it with some white wine and experience the flavors burst inside your mouth with every spoonful of the heavenly treat!
Sipping wine along with the salad
If you decide to stick to the basic recipe of a salad, you can simply pour yourself a glass of wine and sip it along with the salad. This, however, is a tricky thing to do as only the right kind of wine would suit a specific kind of salad. For instance, if you are having a classic chicken caesar salad, try to get some Chardonnay to drink with it. You can also sip some dry rosé along with this salad. Then, if you opt for a Greek salad which has lots of olives and cheese, go for a classic Sauvignon Blanc. If your salad has a lot of tomatoes in it, sip a dry rosé or a crisp white wine along with it. Finally, if you are having a pasta salad, opt for Chardonnay or any other dry white wine. These wines go very well with the mild flavors of the mayonnaise.
Now that you know exactly how you can make your dull and unappealing bowl of salad into a pretty delicious meal, gorge on it as much as possible. Grab some salad for dinner on a weekday. This will not only prove to be healthy, it will also make you feel less guilty when you binge on the ghee-soaked festive meals on holidays! So go ahead and give the salad-wine pairing a try. You would surely feel a lot fitter, happier and healthier. Happy munching!