Snack your way through a delicious spread of seasonal appetizers, fresh salads, grilled steak, and a custard-topped cake—and enjoy them all with a wine that will bring out each recipe's best qualities with our pairing suggestions! Featuring late-spring superstars like strawberries, zucchini, pea shoots, green beans, and more, these refreshing ideas come straight from the brilliant culinary minds at Kendall-Jackson wines.
Act fast! These recipes will only be available on BHG.com® until May 17, 2018. After that, you can find them exclusively in the May 2018 print edition of Better Homes & Gardens. For more from the Kendall-Jackson team, check out their new cookbook "Taste the Seasons: A Year of Wine Country Food, Farming, Family, and Friends" ($50; abramsbooks.com).
Whether you follow this party plan to a "T," or supplement with a some of your own go-to easy apps, keep these drink pairing pointers in mind:
- What grows together goes together. Wines and recipes from a specific country generally pair well together. (Think pasta with bolognese and Italian Sangiovese.)
- If you're opening a nice bottle, stick to a classic dish like grilled chicken or salmon to let the grapes steal the show.
- Balance weight by pouring a lower-alcohol, less aggressive wine with a light recipe—and vice versa.
- Unsure of what wine to serve? Try something sparkling like Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, or Lambruso. They tend to pair well with many cheeses, entrees, and occasions.
- The best wine pairings are foods you crave plus drinks you enjoy. Don't love powerful, earthy red wines? Try serving pork roast with an acidic French rosé. Feel free to throw the traditional pairing rules out the window and experiment!
Vineyard Beet and Strawberry Salad
Wine pairing: Rosé with bright fruit flavors and a hint of watermelon
Earthy roasted beets and sweet, juicy strawberries taste great on their own, but become completely irresistible once drizzled with a pomegranate-scented red wine vinaigrette. Instead of croutons or nuts, sprinkle on some fried leeks for crunch. Here's how to make them:
- Trim and halve a leek lengthwise, then slice lengthwise.
- Rinse the sliced leeks and pat dry.
- Toss the sliced leeks in 2 tablespoons of flour, then fry until crispy in 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Drain and salt to taste.
Get the recipe: Vineyard Beet and Strawberry Salad
Squash and Onion Flatbread
Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc with grapefruit, fig, and star fruit notes
Skip the sauce on this "pizza" so the roasted summer squash and spring onions can take center stage. Grill the flatbreads until the Burrata is melty and the crust is crisp, then sprinkle with edible flowers and flaky sea salt.
Get the recipe: Squash and Onion Flatbread
Grilled Ribeye Steaks with Nasturtium Pesto
Wine pairing: A berry-forward Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of mocha and nutmeg
Rather than plating a Flintstone-size piece of meat, think of the grilled steak as a side in this fully-loaded spread. Each three-ounce serving packs in so much flavor (via a simple seasoning rub and a verdant herb pesto topping), that you'll be satisfied with a few fork-tender slices.
Get the recipe: Grilled Ribeye Steaks with Nasturtium Pesto
Lemony Veggie Bruschetta
Wine pairing: Dry rosé with strawberry and pink grapefruit flavors
Crisp-tender green beans meet creamy mascarpone cheese and refreshing mint leaves on these light and delicious toasts. The real kicker, though, is the lemon syrup drizzled on top of it all. Your guests won't be able to see it, but whoa, will they taste it!
Get the recipe: Lemony Veggie Bruschetta
Wine pairing: A floral Pinot Gris with pear and tangerine qualities
With crunchy cucumber, celery, and almonds plus creamy avocados and apricots, this toss-and-serve salad offers a feast of textures, colors, and flavors. Cut down on your entertaining stress level by whipping it up two hours before guests arrive—save for the avocado that's best added immediately before serving.
Get the recipe: Cucumber-Celery Salad
Farmer T's Herb and Flower Salad
Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc with tropical fruit, fig, and honeysuckle notes
Celebrate the best of the farmers market in this blend of leafy greens and fresh herbs. It's all drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette made with verjus, an acid-forward juice made from under-ripe grapes. With the addition of edible flowers, this no-cook recipe becomes almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Get the recipe: Farmer T's Herb and Flower Salad
Olive Oil Cake with Chardonnay Sabayon
Wine pairing: A sweet Chardonnay with apricot and pear flavors and honeysuckle aromas
The dense and delicious citrus cake is delightful on its own. But this edible flower-topped treat becomes completely irresistible once topped with naturally sweet roasted stone fruit and an over-the-top-decadent Chardonnay Sabayon (AKA custard). How you use the bottle-minus-two-tablespoons of leftover white wine is up to you...
Get the recipe: Olive Oil Cake with Chardonnay Sabayon