Our friend and amazing vegan cook Nadia Fragnito, aka The Vegan Italian Kitchen , knows the importance of great wine. Italian culture is filled with family traditions and centred around the kitchen — with an abundance of dishes that simply must have wine IN or alongside them.
Finding a suitable wine, such as The Vegan Wine Project, helped Nadia in recreating some of her favourite dishes. From the classic risotto to Italian biscuits — one savoury (taralli from Puglia) and one sweet (almond biscuits), her walnut ragu with red wine, cacciatore and even vegan Osso Bucco; all are made richer and more closely aligned with the traditional way of cooking by the addition of wine. And all these dishes are available in her cookbook, of course.
“Yalumba is honestly the GO TO brand for vegan wines. Everything from their bottled wines to the cask wines. They’re quite open about it. Because it’s so widely available. There’s absolutely no difference in quality.”
Obviously, wine doesn’t just go well IN food. Nadia recommends a glass of our Shiraz alongside vegan cheese, Soft polenta with Pomodoro sauce or vegan carbonara to cut through the fattiness. Our Pinot Grigio pairs perfectly with a mushroom ‘calamari’ salad, the Sauvignon Blanc with stuffed vegetables and your savoury taralli can be dunked INTO your wine.
So what does she wish other people knew about being a vegan?
“As I mentioned, for those who aren’t eating vegan yet, you don’t miss out at all. You really do get as much flavour, as much satisfaction. It’s really exciting that there is SO much variety. You also really do feel better after you eat. You still get so much richness and flavour from vegan food.”
Nadia’s top tips for vegan cooking:
● Don’t be afraid to experiment with a lot of different ingredients.
● If you are used to cooking just with meat or dairy- start playing around with adding a replacement or two into your favourite dishes. Soon these ingredients will become part of your repertoire.
● Use ingredients from other cultures. From Indian cuisine, kala namak (black salt) is a perfect replacement for egg flavouring- create aioli or tofu scramble. For Asian cooking, use vegan fish sauce like coconut aminos. Oyster mushrooms for calamari. Jackfruit to make great pulled pork. The list is endless.
● If all else fails, add more olive oil and more garlic. It’s the Italian way.
To learn more or even ask questions of Nadia’s expertise you can connect with her on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram. You’ll also be able to keep up to date with her cooking retreats, which she hopes to be able to reinvigorate soon.
Print copies of Discovering Vegan Italian are available to purchase via https://theveganitaliankitchen.com/cookbooks. Plus stay tuned, she’s working on a brand new cookbook with even more mouthwatering vegan delights to be published soon.
For more about Nadia's incredible vegan Italian cuisine check out Part One.