What wine to drink with a green salad

Our wine expert Victoria Moore suggests four affordable bottles of white wine to drink with your green salad. Plus: an easy broad bean, pea shoot, asparagus & ricotta bowl recipe.

Bright-green baby broad beans are a great luxury, not because of the cost, but the huge time investment required to peel them. Here, I’ve put them with other spring-like vegetables: asparagus, pea shoots and tender raw peas that make me feel as if I’m eating a bowlful of goodness.


Usually, asparagus – regarded as a bit of a nightmare when it comes to wine drinking because of the way it changes the taste of the wine in your mouth – would dictate the bottle choice. It’s good matched against the scything edge of a grassy sauvignon blanc. But, but, but. The generous helping of soft, creamy ricotta is a game-changer here; it bridles and almost curdles when you put it with sauvignon blanc, and is similarly stung by a sharp riesling, another grape I like to drink with asparagus. The solution is to pick your riesling or sauvignon blanc carefully, choosing one that’s sleek rather than brash – or to go with another grape.

Fresher styles of chardonnay can work well, balancing ricotta’s need for breadth with a gentle citrus note. Italian whites are, as so often with Italian food, also good: think vermentino, lugana, verdicchio. A peppery- grapefruity grüner veltliner from Austria also tastes good with this creamy-astringent combination. And heading further east into Hungary, if you can find a dry white wine made from furmint – the grape better known for its part in sticky-sweet Tokaji – then that will go very well.

One more word: the quantities here are for one person: lunch or perhaps add a light second course for an easy supper. If you’re cooking for friends, stick a glass of wine in front of them and get them to peel the broad beans. I have broad bean peeling races and weigh the results to see who was fastest. 


Montgravet Chardonnay 2014 France, 12% (Waitrose, £5.99)

It doesn’t have the purity of the Blind Spot (below), but this slightly peachy, lemony chardonnay is a good wine for the price.

Finest Marlborough Riesling 2014 New Zealand, 11.5% (Tesco, £8.99)

A particularly refreshing, smooth and easy-drinking riesling; fine, clear and tinged with lime.


Taste the Difference Grüner Veltliner 2013 Austria, 12.5% (Sainsbury’s, £7.50)

Austria’s signature white grape is fresh, and reminiscent of white pepper and citrus. 

Blind Spot Yarra Chardonnay 2014 Australia, 12.5% (The Wine Society, £8.50)

This has enough creaminess to meet the ricotta, and a lemon and apple twang. Easily the winner. 

Broad bean, pea shoot, asparagus & ricotta bowl recipe

frozen broad beans 120g

asparagus tips 6

pea shoots 2 handfuls

fresh garden peas 50g

ricotta 2 tbsp

grated lemon zest 1⁄2 tsp

extra virgin olive oil

sourdough bread 2 slices, toasted to serve 

step 1

Put the beans into a heat-proof jug or bowl, and cover with plenty of boiling water to blanch. Leave for a minute, then drain and remove from pods.

step 2

Trim the hard base of the asparagus stalks, then cook them on a hot griddle pan, turning occasionally, until slightly charred but still crunchy.

step 3

Arrange the pea shoots, raw peas, broad beans and asparagus in a bowl with a couple of spoonfuls of ricotta on the side. Mix the lemon zest with 1 tbsp olive oil and drizzle over the top. Serve with the sourdough toast, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt to taste. 


This feature was published in May 2015

Photographs: Ant Duncan

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