Food & Drink

6 Healthy Salad and Wine Pairings for Your Next Girls’ Night In


As we age, putting time aside to spend with close friends becomes important, especially as we start to settle into our careers, families and lives. It’s a natural thing that can happen in life, and as our priorities grow, our time spent on endless nights talking with our favorite girlfriends (read: our ride or dies, our girls, our squads) diminishes.

The good news is, when you do have the chance to host your best girlfriends, it’s like you’ve never left each other’s sides. For a healthier night in, I’ve gathered 6 dinner options as well as some tips I learned from Andy Crounse, a certified sommelier, to give you more insight on what makes a perfect pairing.

Source: Alaina Kaczmarski

Salad ingredients and wine pairings go hand-in-hand:

According to Crouse, pairing wines with foods is a simple yet complex task- you’ll know you’ve suceeded in a sucessful pairing when both the dish and it’s accompanying wine taste amazing together with its combined flavors and elements. Another key to a succesful wine pairing is the company you keep.

“Our palettes are a moving target,” said Crouse. “Whether you have the most expensive or least expensive wine, the wines that we enjoy the most are the ones that we share with our friends, families and loved ones.”

A few tips:
• Do have crisp and vibrant white, red and sparkling wines with high acidic levels (they pair nicely with salads.)
• Use lemon instead of vinegar when you can- lemon’s acidity levels aren’t as harsh as the levels in vinegar- plus, lemons are a pure food and pair greatly with the lightness of salads.
• Toss in extra oil to the salad. This will help dial back acidity levels and provide an earthy flavor.
• Add good fats to the salads, such as nuts, cheeses, meats like bacon, marinated vegetables and hard-boiled eggs. Adding these types of ingredients into your salad can help provide earthy, savory and salty elements that are elevated with wines.
• Offset salty dishes with sweeter wines like sweet Rieslings and Moscatos. Adding saltier ingredients (think feta cheese, olives, capers) with sweeter ones (fruits and some vegetables) also help offset the salt.

Safe, helpful wines to have on hand:

Sauvignon Blanc: A light bodied, crisp wine. It’s acid levels can balance the tartness of most vinagrette dressings. A glass of Sauvignon Blanc pairs nicely with these salad ingredients: shellfish, chicken, feta cheese, pine nuts citrus fruits, apples, asparagus and light, citrus based dressings.

• Chardonnay: A medium to full-bodied wine- can be oaky and buttery or unoaked with showcased grape flavors. A glass of Chardonnay pairs nicely with these salad ingredients: shredded pork, chicken, shrimp, crab or lobster, asiago and mozzerella cheeses, almonds, avocado, potato, butternut squash, apples, peaches, mango and creamy, buttery dressings.

• Riesling: A light to medium bodied wine- can transition from sweet notes to dry tastes that pair well with salads. Riesling pairs nicely with these salad ingredients: pork and smoked turkey, chicken, sea bass, trout, pears, apricots, figs, apples, melon, sweet potato, chili and bell peppers.

• Pinot Noir: A full bodied, medium, silky red wine. Pinot Noir pairs nicely with these salad ingredients: roasted chicken, tuna, pork, goat cheese, walnuts, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, figs, cherries, strawberries, dried fruit.

• Champagne, Prosecco, Rosé: bubbly wines that are the perfect beginning, middle and end to any function, party or meal.

1. Grilled Summer Cobb Salad

Source: What’s Gaby Cooking

Pair With: Red Wine: Merlot or Malbec / White Wine: Chardonnay

2. Grilled Chicken Salad with Chipotle Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing

Source: Salt and Lavender 

Pair With: Red Wine: Pinot Noir / White Wine: Sauvignon Blanc or Dry Riesling

3. Grilled Peach, Corn, and Zucchini Quinoa Salad and Lemon and Basil Vinagrette

Source: The Simple Veganista

Pair With: Red Wine: Provance Rosé / White Wine: Gürwirtzminer

4. Steak and Blue Cheese Salad

Source: Neighborfood

Pair With: Red Wine: Cabernet, Zinfindel / White Wine: Champagne, Prosecco, Cava

5. Vietnamese Garlic Prawn Noodle Salad

Source: Coffee and Crayons

Pair With: Red Wine: Shiraz / White Wine: Riesling

6. Tri-Tip Steak Salad

Source: Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Pair With: Red Wine: Zinfindel / White Wine: Gruner Veltliner


Sources: Serious Eats; Palate Press; Kendall JacksonCooking Light; Kendall Jackson;


What are your favorite go to wines to enjoy during girl’s night?