Wine to Dine

Perfect Wines for Pasta Salads

Introducing pasta salad and wine...this summer's hottest couple

The key to a good food and wine pairing is harmony. Each should enhance the other—the wine making the food more vibrant, and the food bringing out the nuances of the wine.

Often, diners aren't sure what wines match well with the food on the menu. By offering suggestions, you could increase check average, but perhaps more importantly, you extend hospitality. Good hospitality is remembered, and repeat business might just be the return on that investment.

Good rules of thumb when recommending wines:

  • Suggest wines that hail from the same region as the dish. So, if serving a pasta with a tangy tomato sauce, perhaps the food-friendly, fruity Chianti would be a good match.
  • Pair lighter-style wines with lighter-style foods. For rich or strongly flavored dishes, suggest more complex, robust wines.

Pairing up for Pasta Salads

Pairing up for Pasta Salads

Modern pasta salads are a perfect match for summertime eating. They're light and bright, but satisfying and flavorful at the same time. Pairing wine with a pasta salad can be tricky, but when you hit the right combination, you have the makings for a perfect summer meal. Easygoing and refreshing wines are generally the right call, as they complement the sunny, fresh flavors found in today's lighter-style pasta salads.

Lighter Wine Pairings

Rotini Pasta Salad with Spinach and Tomato dry Rosé
  • perfect for summertime meals, its strawberry notes and great balance meet the vinaigrette's acidity perfectly.

Italian Style Orzo and Grilled Chicken Salad
  • with a showcase of vegetables, this pasta salad marries well with a light and refreshing wine that teases with hints of strawberry and watermelon.

Soba Noodle Salad Sauvignon Blanc
  • its bright fruit and crisp finish balances the tangy Asian flavors in this pasta salad.

Caesar-Seafood Pasta Salad Pinot Grigio
  • this clean, citrus-laced wine cuts through the pepper and garlic in the creamy Caesar dressing.

A pasta salad tossed in a vinaigrette can be difficult to match with wine. If too harsh, the vinegar "kills" the palate, and ostensibly renders the wine flat. Choosing KRAFT vinaigrettes, which don't carry harsh high notes, fixes this problem, as does offsetting with sweeter elements in the salad, such as grape tomatoes or red bell peppers. Including a protein, like grilled shrimp or chicken, also buffers the inherent acidity in a vinaigrette-based pasta salad.

Heartier Wine Pairings

BLT Pasta Salad Pinot Noir
  • the smoke in the wine plays well with the salad's bacon, and the fruitiness keeps it light for summertime quaffing.

Greek Olive with Whole Wheat Pasta Salad Valpolicella
  • this fruity and crisp red is light enough for a salad, but gives enough body to stand up to the earthy tones in the salad.

Although these pasta salads are still light and summery, they bring in more robust flavors, like bacon and kalamata olives. Light to medium-bodied reds offer more structure, and also complement the assertive ingredients. But these bright, fruit-forward reds still work in warm weather.

Flavor Notes
Pasta Salad and Wine