Pair It Up! White Bean Fondue

Over the last few months I’ve been noting that My New Roots, Sarah Britton’s book of “inspired plant-based recipes for every season,” has become increasingly ubiquitous on store shelves and the general foodie zeitgeist, across platforms from Twitter to magazines and beyond. Figuring the majority of meals we make at home are vegetable-driven, if not fully vegetarian or vegan, I finally went ahead and picked up a copy. Truth be told, I bought it for my wife for her birthday, but I’ll totally reap its benefits too!

It’s hardly even a conscious decision to eat more of a vegetable-heavy diet, but I attribute our scales tipping that way to a few factors. First, it’s obviously a healthy and nutrient-rich way of eating, as people like Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan’s widely-read columns and books champion. The latter’s famous quote, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” has become gospel for many. Second, it's usually a cheaper way of eating - hooray! Third, since there seems to be a rapid-growing movement in this direction with the availability of produce and ingredients (more farmer’s markets, etc.), along with an ever-expanding selection of vegetarian cookbooks, blogs and articles at our fingertips - the inspiration to eat this way comes to us in spades.

Back to My New Roots, which boasts a plethora of incredibly delicious-sounding recipes we look forward to tackling. Fava bean, sweet pea and tarragon soup! Oyster mushroom bisque! Celeriac ribbon salad with toasted cumin and pomegranate! Leek “scallops” and chanterelle mushrooms on black rice! I could go on (and on and on), but what I’m sharing with this post is something I made just the other night that I can hardly wait to make again. Skinny dip white bean fondue is basically a vegan take on a traditional cheese fondue, which may sound blasphemous to some, but it’s every bit as rich, velvety and filling as you’d hope. The basics are white beans, garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, miso, Dijon mustard, a drop of maple syrup and dash of salt all thrown in a blender, then heated on the stove. It’s really that simple -  you can grab the recipe right here. In my opinion, the nutritional yeast is the recipes’ ace up its sleeve and adds a good, cheesy flavour element to it. Roast some vegetables, warm some crusty baguettes for dippin’ and you’re on your way!

But what to sip with it? I mean, that’s why we’re here, right? I thought of it the same way I would have if it were a classic cheese fondue. First off, I’d want a white wine, something chilled and fresh to liven up the palate with bright fruit after each bite of richness. With the velvety and creamy texture, a wine with a good dose of acid was also key to cut through all of that decadence. Also, a little bit of oak - just enough to carry the weight. Something like Wild Goose Vineyards 2014 Pinot Gris from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley would definitely put you on the right track. With its juicy acidity livening up the wine’s orchard and stone fruit, it helps to keep everything bright. You could also go towards a Chardonnay for many of the same reasons; 13th Street Winery’s 2011 Sandstone Reserve Chardonnay from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula would be a slightly bolder option, with its tropical fruit and French oak being a little more generous.

Give the recipe a try - it’s quite easy, quick to make, healthy, and provides fun fodder for a glass (or two) of wine!

2014 Pinot Gris - My Wine Canada2011 Chardonnay - My Wine Canada

Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at KurtisKolt.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt

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