Healthy Foods That Pair Well With Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cavedave, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,957) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Hey all, cavedave here. It occurs to me I paired beers I love with some of the most unhealthy foods imaginable, that I also love (and miss terribly). Cheese, sausages, pizza, chips, french fries, buffalo wings, etc., etc., are all great to accompany beer, and I'm sure we all can fill in the blanks with unhealthy foods we love to eat with beer.

    I am planning to re-enter the world of enjoying beer in the future, but will not be able to re-enter the world of fatty, processed, salted, sugary, meat based foods for the rest of my life. I am hoping this thread can be about recommendations for healthy foods that would be tasty to pair with beer. An example would be unsalted, whole grain baked pretzels. So far healthy baked pretzels, and unsalted nuts, are the only things on the list. And the healthy pretzels I've tried so far haven't tasted all that great. Are there brands you folks like?

    What foods and brands should go on this list? Inquiring minds want to know.
  2. larryi86

    larryi86 Poo-Bah (4,089) Apr 4, 2010 Delaware
    Society Trader

    I want to start with saying it is always great to hear from you and hope that it means you are in good health with starting to re-enter the world of enjoying beer! I don’t know many things to snack on that fit that description but looking at meal kits like Blue Apron might a good place to look for dinners. I feel they tend to have a lot of healthier meals and are friendly to different diets. Another nice part about Blue Apron is they give wine flavor profiles the pair well with the meal and I feel with your knowledge beer you can find beers that will fit as well.
  3. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (548) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    Never really tried it or thought about it... what about popcorn?
  4. Providence

    Providence Crusader (751) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I very much enjoy making charcuterie. While many of the items I have made aren't exactly health foods (salami, duck breast prosciutto, pancetta, etc.), some of them actually aren't too bad. Here's some ideas along with potential beer pairings (though let me say up front I know very little about matching food and beer, I'm just suggesting shit I would like):

    -Lox are easy to make and probably would pair well with a nice pilsner or Kolsch.

    -Part of my charcuterie making has also involved smoking food. Again, not always the healthiest shit coming out of my smoker, but there are some exceptions. Smoked almonds are awesome, and, if the internet is correct, semi-healthy, albeit caloric. Might pair nicely with a robust porter.

    -I've made lamb heart pastrami a couple of times as well. It's super lean and high in protein. Tastes fantastic too. Might go well with a brew that has a strong flavor profile to stand up to the smoke, or maybe a sweeter tasting beer like a dubbel?

    EDIT: Shit, just saw that you're trying to avoid heavily salted stuff. Ignore everything I just wrote (though you wouldn't have to salt the smoked almonds).
  5. eppCOS

    eppCOS Meyvn (1,377) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Low-calories pita chips and my own homemade hummus are winners in this category, usually with a light saison or a decent low ABV Lager.
    I also like a banana and a Hefeweizen occasionally, because Hefe has that ol' banana aspect to it.
    Salads with a lager or a below 5.5% pale ale is always an option during the week too, especially a little smoked salmon on top of that salad.
    Good luck, Dave!
    DoIa, Thankin_Hank, ChicagoJ and 26 others like this.
  6. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,957) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Thanks for the kind words, am definitely on the right track to staying alive and well, and doc says an occasional beer is good for me now. I will definitely scan Blue Apron site to get ideas to adapt into beer pairings.

    ***adds to list*** Excellent idea! I can picture it with ginger topping or cinnamon or maybe even cumin or turmeric, pair the healthy topping with the beer! Yes!

    I hafta say I had that drool entering the mouth feeling of longing for those foods you brought to mind in your post. OTOH it made me realize there are veggie based cold cuts I have put off trying due to I can't imagine they taste anything like the real thing, or even good, and they're expensive. But maybe worth it as a beer pairing? Definitely gonna give them a try now. Thanks for the tip!

    All except the smoked salmon are totally excellent suggestions and now are on the list! Psyched to try a salad with a lager, I can picture those tastes working.

    Thanks to all, great suggestions, I think this is gonna work into a great thread that benefits all of us! Keep em coming. Cheers!
  7. lordofthewiens

    lordofthewiens Poo-Bah (5,067) Sep 17, 2005 New Mexico

    Great to see you around these parts, Dave!
    As you contemplate your new diet, are you thinking more plant-based foods? Seitan is a very versatile meat substitute, made with vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, beans, and spices. Of course, if you are gluten sensitive, you'll need to avoid seitan. Tofu is also something you can incorporate into many different dishes, as is tempeh (although I'm not that big of a fan of tempeh). As @eppCOS said, hummus is quite easy to make and there are many variations of hummus.
    I would be more than happy to give you some other recommendations, if you want.
    Happy eating!
  8. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,712) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Grilled chicken with optionally the skin removed either before or after the grilling depending on how much fat you can have. After removing the skin, if the chicken is too dry, sprinkle it with lemon or lime juice, or a little malted vinegar.
  9. hopsputin

    hopsputin Poo-Bah (2,165) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    A nice salad, maybe some goat cheese and balsamic go great with Saisons for me
  10. Insomniac

    Insomniac Initiate (90) Nov 5, 2019 Canada

    My wife and I are largely vegetarian (fish occasionally) so my beer related snacks might be different than for many others. A few things I love with beer, most of which are relatively healthy: 1) Baked nachos with salsa. 2) Hummus (various flavours) with crackers or baguette. 3) Multigrain baguette with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 4) Garlic naan. 5) Pistachios. 6) Rice cakes with the topping of your choice. I usually usually salsa or just a bit of hot sauce. 7) Sliced veggies with a dressing made of balsamic, olive oil, granulated Dijon and herbs of your choice. These are all very tasty, easy to prepare and reaonably healthy. Hopefully this is helpful. All the best.
    #10 Insomniac, Jun 28, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
    ChicagoJ, Bluecrow, puck1225 and 13 others like this.
  11. Providence

    Providence Crusader (751) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    My wife bought these steamer baskets to make steamed dumplings. There’s a million variations you can do. An all veggie dumpling or veggies and some good quality tofu are fantastic. You can creative with dipping sauces as well. Semi-labor intensive, but if you like to cook, it’s a great way to spend an evening.
  12. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,097) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I always enjoy salsa and veggie chips (Salsa is very low cal and good for ya, makes a great add to anything to give lots of flavor).
    Hummus and Celery/Carrots.
    Beans (Fresh made without all the salt). Fills you up and lots of good protein.
    Avocado, very good fats and goes with almost anything.
    Turkey burgers (low fat and a good switch from beef).
    Bluecrow, puck1225, JBogan and 12 others like this.
  13. RBlaszak

    RBlaszak Initiate (122) Jul 6, 2009 Michigan

    Grain bowls can be an excellent option.

    Cook up a ton of brown rice or quinoa. Oven roast some boneless, skinless chicken breast (or my favorite, sous vide some pork loin), roast some broccoli, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc.
    You can top this with a low sodium or low calorie sauce of some kind, like a light soy-aki maybe.

    good luck!
    SaltofOH, Bluecrow, puck1225 and 8 others like this.
  14. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,781) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    We've all heard the saying that beer is food—so what better food to pair with beer than beer? :wink: In moderation, of course.

    I'd second the pita and hummus suggestion (or for a refreshing change, try dipping sliced cucumbers in hummus, or maybe some low-sodium, low-fat tortilla chips and salsa? Most of the suggestions are more snacks than meals, but I think beer pairs well with just about any kind of big salad (also mentioned above) you can think of. Actually I can't think of many foods that don't pair well with beer, though I've never really enjoyed pizza and beer, I think it's just too much yeast and carbs for me. It's all about balance and moderation, both food- and beer-wise.

    Great topic, thanks for keeping all of our minds on other ways we can be trying to stay healthy.
    SaltofOH, ChicagoJ, Bluecrow and 10 others like this.
  15. jkblr

    jkblr Poo-Bah (2,263) Nov 22, 2014 Indiana
    Society Trader

    Glad to hear that you are doing well @cavedave & you raise a good question. I stopped eating red meat at the beginning of this year due to the toll it was taking on my joints. I've found I enjoy vegetables more than I thought. Pasta salad with home made non salted Italian dressing, roasted peppers, sun dried or roasted tomatoes etc works well with lighter lagers and ales. I use a blend of different vegetable based pastas as opposed to the bleached flour variety. Good discussion so far.
  16. AWA

    AWA Disciple (317) Jul 22, 2014 California

    You need to check out Miyoko's creamery. They make some crazy good nut based cheeses. A fair amount of fat from the nuts, but otherwise pretty healthy. Some of their roadhouse cheese will sure improve those unsalted whole wheat pretzels.And they ship.
    Lulah, ChicagoJ, skelliott and 8 others like this.
  17. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (464) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    I can't personally vouch for how nutritious it actually is, but nutritional yeast is super tasty as a popcorn topping. And I can't recommend one of these enough to actually make the popcorn in: Wabash Valley Farms Whirley Pop.

    If you want to avoid oil altogether you can also just microwave popcorn in a simple brown lunch bag to avoid all the added shit in commercial microwave popcorn. Can you tell my wife and I eat a lot of popcorn?

    So glad to hear your health is trending in the right direction and that beer is again, at least in small doses, on the menu!
    SaltofOH, ChicagoJ, Bluecrow and 7 others like this.
  18. AWA

    AWA Disciple (317) Jul 22, 2014 California

    And btw, I'm damn glad to hear you're doing well.More power to you brother.
  19. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,449) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I'm a big fan of couscous. Chicken tagine, grilled veggies, lettuce salad with cherry tomatoes, red onions, and raspberry balsamic vinaigrette, and a side of couscous pairs really well with a gueuze or a lambic, preferably one from Cantillon, while sitting on a patio overlooking a river on a brisk fall day. (Thank you, Zwanze Day and Schera's! :slight_smile:)
    ChicagoJ, Bluecrow, JayORear and 9 others like this.
  20. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (2,594) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I will second hummus. It's one of my go-to's with IPA consumption. Cheers, @cavedave! You are loved, brother!
  21. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (2,741) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts

    Avocados are a good source of healthy fats and plant protein, and if you can add some flavors and don't mind the taste you can do a lot of things with them. After I got into them a while back I used to make avocado sandwiches or wraps as a snack, with optional shredded cheese, and I would usually put mustard as a condiment and some extra seasonings to give the avocado flavor like black pepper, paprika and turmeric. Guacamole can be healthy and fun to make too for chip dip with some added tomatoes, onions, garlic, lemon/lime juice, some spices, etc. You can also make homemade salsa as a snack with fresh veggies and spices and pair with some unsalted maybe multi-grain tortilla chips. Huge fan of hummus too ever since I tried it and there a lot of variants. These fresh and slightly spicy foods have gone pretty well for me with some IPAs and lighter hoppy beers, maybe even a lager. Cooked or steamed stir fry veggies is good with almost everything too, from rice or quinoa, to scrambled eggs or pasta, and you can add or mix up whatever veggies you like or have leftover, and pair with a proper lager or depending on a sauce or spices even an IPA or hoppy beer.

    I got big into healthy foods, vegetables, and the benefits of spices and seasonings when I started cooking about 10 years ago and started looking up different spices and veggies I never heard of and I saw numerous benefits they have been associated with. It's a huge plus to be able to make some good food at home too and control the ingredients and sodium level, since a lot of packaged and canned food is preserved with a lot of added stuff. I think in general diet has a lot to do with our overall health. I wish you the best @cavedave with your return to greater health and having some good brews!
    ChicagoJ, Bluecrow, puck1225 and 12 others like this.
  22. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,781) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    Just thought of something else that I think is generally pretty healthy and always pairs well with beer: fish tacos

  23. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,957) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Man great to see so many responses, I was wondering if there would be ten for a list, and instead there's now so many great ideas I have a list and I'm gonna come back and really concentrate on the finer points of some of them, and cross reference with other resources. This can be like a mutual aid resource for us all for some healthy choices. This is great!

    I am at the point of expanding my regular diet a bit, it's been reaalllly strict since the amount of abuse my body endured was reaalllly extreme for a long time. There's some recommendations in this thread that I/we can use beyond just for beer pairing, for sure. The last ten months has been a real learning experience for me. Glad you all can help me, and we can help each other, to continue that .

    Thanks to all for the kind wishes, I won't try and single you out, your thoughts are very much appreciated. You will hear no truer words than these- I can't wait to join you all back in the community of beer drinkers. Here's to good health for us all (I can pretend this is beer not blackberry leaf tea, right?) Cheers!
    Lulah, SaltofOH, JakerLou and 15 others like this.
  24. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,097) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader


    Check this stuff out also. It tastes just like cheese, you sprinkle on top of food. Gives you the flavor and allows you to cut out fatty cheese etc. I always use and its great. I will make a bowl of rice and beans and top with this and some hot sauce, its fantastic and filling and a solid meal.

  25. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,757) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Glad to hear you're doing well Dave! Here's a few suggestions that will hopefully keep things interesting:

    - The lentil salad concept is very versatile, healthy, and goes great with beer. Just add diced cucumbers, peppers, onion, carrots, etc. A key, I find, is lots of fresh herbs (usually parsley and mint), and dress it with lemon and olive oil. If you use that as a starting point you can add options like feta or goat cheese, pine nuts, whatever you have lying around, basically. Or you can swap out another type of bean for the lentils, or even use a grain or quinoa instead.

    - Plain yogurt, strained through a cheese cloth, add walnuts and raisins, and lots of fresh dill.

    - Fresh beets grated on a box grater, add sliced red onion and chile peppers (Jalapenos will do in a pinch.) Dress with lemon juice and lots of cilantro.

    (Yes, I really enjoy fresh herbs from the garden :sunglasses:)

    - If you're into South Indian food, a lot of that is quite healthy and vegetarian as well (it's a completely different cuisine from what people normally think of as "Indian food", btw). Bhel puri, dosas, sambar, etc.
    Lulah, meefmoff, ChicagoJ and 13 others like this.
  26. AmeriCanadian

    AmeriCanadian Champion (831) Jul 5, 2014 Tennessee

    A few of these have already been mentioned, but I absolutely love hoppy beers paired with spicy foods like Indian (curry, etc), healthy stir-fries, Thai dishes, and something like fish tacos that has a nice kick from spices or grilled onions or the like. There are relatively easy ways to make healthy versions of any and all of the above, and a tasty, bitter West Coast IPA (or even more modern American IPAs) goes amazingly well with all of them.

    But my very favorite combination is hoppy beer and sushi, if you use a lot of wasabi when you eat it. The heat of the wasabi goes amazingly well with the bitterness of the beer, and it actually enhances the sweetness of the fish (and other sushi ingredients) when you'd think it would overwhelm it.

    Cheers AND bon appetit!
    Lulah, ChicagoJ, Bluecrow and 11 others like this.
  27. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,957) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Why did I not know about this stuff? Super low sodium, super high in vitamins, just added some to my cart. @meefmoff
  28. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,454) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Good to see you back Dave. Belgians go well with anything and most are well attenuated.
    Patrick_OKC and cavedave like this.
  29. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,097) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    My wife got me started on this, its amazing. I always have some in the house now. I hope you enjoy it, post back on what you think once you use it for awhile.
    cavedave likes this.
  30. Txex06

    Txex06 Aspirant (218) Dec 28, 2016 Texas

    I think a lot of Middle Eastern dishes will pair awesome with an IPA like some BA's have mentioned. I made this dish last week with chicken breast and it turned out awesome! Of course, you can always control the spice level. I definitely kicked up the heat and used smoked paprika.

    Living in Texas there is a lot of smoked chicken and smoked turkey. Almost any beer style I can think of would go good with a smoked turkey breast.
  31. Txex06

    Txex06 Aspirant (218) Dec 28, 2016 Texas

    Frozen banana slices dipped in dark chocolate with of a course a porter or stout of choice.

    Big ol spoon full of peanut butter with no added sugar or salt with a milk stout.
  32. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,193) Feb 22, 2012 New York
    Society Trader

    Seconding sushi. It can get pricey, but easily one of my favorite beer pairings.
    SaltofOH, JakerLou, SABERG and 2 others like this.
  33. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,193) Feb 22, 2012 New York
    Society Trader

    Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids are also super healthy, a great sub for soy sauce.
  34. Specialmick

    Specialmick Initiate (104) Aug 26, 2019 Connecticut

    I agree I love a salad with various beers and IPAs and believe they pair very nicely with pilsners, alts, and ales. I believe its the interaction of the vinegar type dressings with those type of beers
    StoutElk_92, PapaGoose03 and cavedave like this.
  35. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Initiate (112) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey

    Sashimi is good with beer. Clams and oysters either raw or steamed in beer go with beer. Oyster and stout is a classic.
    cavedave likes this.
  36. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (803) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Organic apples and no salt organic peanut butter.

    Home made hummus and fresh grilled veggies

    Oven roasted heads of garlic can be a nice “dip”

    Air popped pop corn

    Quinoa salad

    Arugula, cucumber, small tomato and you can add a bit of feta if you want

    Roasted chick peas

    Black beans, corn, scallion, garlic, jalapeño, tomato mixed together as a salad.

    Glad to read you are doing well.

    ChicagoJ, SABERG, PapaGoose03 and 4 others like this.
  37. Bigrock

    Bigrock Initiate (84) Feb 4, 2013 Texas

    Ceviche and a pils.
    All day
    keithmurray, SABERG, Txex06 and 3 others like this.
  38. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,128) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Homemade salsa and reduced sodium tortilla chips
    Mixed nuts (no sodium ones especially, if you can find them)
    Homemade popcorn
    Avocado toast
    Apples, cranberries and grapes

    These are the more healthy snacks that I think pair well with various beers!

    Try tofurkey, especially the hickory smoked one. Tastes almost exactly like turkey lunch meat.
    ChicagoJ, JBogan, StoutElk_92 and 3 others like this.
  39. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (349) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia

    Nice cigar + porter or low to mid stout

    dinner = served

    really though: cheeses (bleu, cheddar, alpine, really anything), fancy popcorn, veggies (without ranch or other high cal dip): carrots celery broccoli etc

    Honestly if you're trimming back the calories the amount of beer you drink is as important as anything, liquid meal and all that. Sadly a couple pours of scotch is probably equal to one IIPA.
  40. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Poo-Bah (1,566) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I second this....Pita chips and Hummus. I’ve really cut back on salt in an effort to lower my blood pressure, and this has become my favorite snack to have with beer. You can also dip bell peppers or carrots in the hummus too, instead of pita.
    ChicagoJ, Txex06, StoutElk_92 and 3 others like this.