What to Eat with Tea

What to Eat with Tea

Some foods are classic pairings. Peanut butter and jelly. Hamburgers and French fries. Tea and cookies. But there are other combinations that may surprise you. Like tea and salad.

Tea is a wonderfully versatile beverage that pairs well with an endless variety of foods. It’s not just for cookies and scones, my friends! If you’ve ever wondered what to eat with tea, I’ve put together a list of awesome tea pairings so you can enjoy your favorite loose-leaf blends, no matter what you’re eating.

A pink teacup full of tea and a salad sit side by side on a wooden table with a tea ball infuser on the side. The overlay text reads: what to eat with tea.

Savor Every Mouthful

While not as obvious as most sweeter pairings, the tradition of enjoying savory foods with tea is tried and true. After all, no tea party is complete without tiny sandwiches! But the savory options for what to eat with tea go way beyond cucumber squares.

Whether it’s quiche at brunch, soup at lunch, or show-stopping main dishes at dinner, there’s tea to partner with everything you eat, from morning breakfast to midnight snack!

Quiche

Quiches are a classic breakfast dish, and teas are a classic breakfast drink, so bringing the two together is a no-brainer. A strong black tea holds up nicely against the meats, cheeses, and veggies commonly found in a quiche.

Savory Squash Quiche with Spinach and Gruyere is a great way to start any day. It’s loaded with iron-rich spinach, protein-packed eggs, and nutrient-dense vegetables – and with the hash-brown crust, it’s gluten free to boot! Share it with guests or keep it all to yourself and enjoy it all week long. Pair it with Porch Sippin’ Pecan black tea for a breakfast that puts the “good” in “good morning.”

Or try gluten free Sweet Potato Quiche with caramelized onions, tomato, and goat cheese paired with Hello Sunshine herbal tea for your next Sunday morning breakfast. The savory turmeric will offset the egg and goat cheese nicely, while the touch of real Vermont maple syrup will complement the mild sweetness of the caramelized onion and roasted tomato – and pair well with the sweet potato base!

Soup

Soup is an amazing cold-weather comfort food that makes a very pleasant partner to tea: the ultimate comfort beverage!

Caramelized Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup has it all. It’s hearty, simple, and a wonderful balance of sweetness and spice. Pair it with an equally well-balanced tea. Once again, Hello Sunshine with turmeric and maple would be a lovely accompaniment to draw out the maple in the soup’s garnish and supplement the savory-sweetness of the vegetables.

If you’re feeling indulgent, whip up a batch of decadent Parmesan Rind Soup and pair it with the ever-elegant Currant Conversation Oolong with notes of vanilla, rose hip, and black currant. It doesn’t get any more comforting than that!

You could also kick your recipes up a notch by incorporating tea into your soup – two birds with one delicious stone. Try Jasmine Chicken Noodle Soup or Chamomile Corn Chowder and prepare yourself for a whole new world of soup.

Main Dishes

Speaking of cooking with tea, did you know that tea makes an awesome marinade? If you haven’t experienced it before, do yourself a favor and try it. This week. Tonight. Right now! It can’t happen soon enough.

Start with a Spicy Chicken Marinade using Comfort Blend black tea, or Tea Brined Chicken Wings with Peaches ‘n’ Cream Oolong and peach bourbon barbeque sauce. Yes, please.

If you prefer to keep your tea in a cup alongside your plate rather than in the food on top of it, any of your favorite citrus teas would harmonize beautifully with this Sunday Supper Citrus Chicken. I recommend Kitchen Table Blend black and green tea blend, Queen’s Blend lemon crème Earl Grey, or Citrus Mint Green Tea with lemon, orange, lemongrass, and spearmint.

A dish of savory ribs and polenta sits on a wooden table next to a salad and a mug of tea.

Spice Up Your Life

Whether “spice” to you means the colorful jars of powder lining your cupboards or red-hot peppers that leave you sweating and wiping tears from your eyes, when you’re in the mood to add a kick to your food, tea can be just the thing to counterbalance that spice.

We all have our favorite spicy foods: curries, tacos, 5-alarm chilis. Whatever the choice may be, if you’re going for a level of spice that takes your breath away, think about pairing it with a nice creamy tea that will help cut through that heat. A smooth cup of Full Moon Chai with a healthy splash of milk might be just what the doctor ordered when you feel like your taste buds are about to burst into flame.

If your meal has more of a zippy kick than a face-melting burn, consider a light, zesty tea to add a citrusy twist to your dish. Try Sweet and Spicy Orange Chicken with Tea Break white tea, laced with notes of tangerine and honeydew, or Contemplative Blend Guayusa infused with lemon and orange.

The complexities of a chai or a spicy puerh will always be a welcome addition to a dish containing ginger, cinnamon, or cardamom. Uplifting Coconut Chai with cardamom and coconut would be just the thing to highlight the creamy coconut milk base and hint of spice in these Chickpea Chicken Curry Bites.

For meals with more Mexican food-based spices such as chili powder, cumin, or coriander, you can’t go wrong with citrus-based teas! Try our take on tortilla soup and wash it down with an invigorating cup of Kitchen Table Blend featuring a medley of citruses, including lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit.

An earthenware mug full of tea sits behind three small bowls full of various spices on a wooden table.

Herbaceous and Bodacious

Herbaceous foods – whether they be leafy greens or literal herbs – are a natural match for tea.

Salad

Because of herbs often commonly incorporated into teas, and the natural grassiness of teas like maté and guayusa, tea and salad is an unexpected but highly well suited combination! As a general rule of thumb, if you have any specific accents in your salad, choose a tea that mirrors that flavor, and it’s sure to be a hit.

If you like strawberry in your salad, try pairing it with the strawberry notes of Gratitude Blend Earl Grey.

For salads with blueberries, try Easy to Be green tea with blueberry and hibiscus.

If you’re a fan of nuts sprinkled into your greens, Toasted Nut Brûlée oolong with hazelnut, chestnut, almond, and walnut will suit a whole slew of nut-festooned salads.

And so on. You get the idea.

Personally, I love Arugula Salad with Acorn Squash and Candied Pecans accompanied by a warming cup of Pears and Cinnamon herbal blend. The cinnamon really brings out the baking spices in the candied pecans, and the pear is a nice, grounded complement to the earthy squash. I like to substitute the apples in the recipe with pears to really tie the two together!

A leafy salad garnished with cheese, nuts, and an orchid sits on a wooden table next to a pink teacup full of tea and a tong-style tea infuser ball.

Bread

In addition to salads, savory breads are a tasty member of the herbaceous family. Who doesn’t like a thick slice of bread with their afternoon tea, or toasted alongside their first cup of the morning?

The same rule of thumb applies to herbs in your bread as it does to accents in your salad. If there’s a particular herb incorporated into the loaf, chances are, a tea containing the same herb will be a lovely fit.

For instance, Olive Rosemary Loaf together with a cup of Meadow Walk herbal tea – with its charming trio of blueberry, rosemary, and lavender – makes a delightfully rustic afternoon snack. Enjoy the bread with olive oil and a fruity balsamic vinegar, and imagine yourself dining al fresco near a field of lavender in the Mediterranean. Pure bliss.

I love a dense, herby focaccia paired with Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise herbal tea, a complex blend of bergamot, sage, lemongrass, and mint. Because it’s non-caffeinated and mildly savory, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise makes a great dinner tea.

Why not amp up your tea and bread snack to a full-blown meal with a savory lasagna? Party Pesto Chicken Lasagna and “Plum” Wheel Lasagna are both simple, flavorful, and well worth the bit of effort that goes into making them. And the herbs in either would be an excellent accompaniment to both the tea and bread.

Or bake up some savory scones with an herbed cheese spread for an interesting change of pace at teatime. Take a break from sweet and fruity or heavy chocolaty scones and wake up your taste buds with an aromatic blend of herbs and spices, tangy cheese, and wholesome wheat. Add a cup of restorative Sage Wellness herbal tea – a delightful blend of savory herbs and sweet citrus – and you may never go back to sweet scones again!

No matter what you’re in the mood to eat (or drink!), Plum Deluxe has always got your back when you’re on the lookout for new ideas about what to eat with tea.

Overhead view of a wooden charcuterie board. A mug of tea sits in the center and is surrounded by cheese, meats, crackers, olives, nuts, and pickles.

What to Eat with Tea

Erica Jolly

Erica Jolly is a born and raised Pacific North Westerner. Rainwater flows through her veins. She is a tea drinker by day, wine drinker by night, and lover of food, yoga, and rambling conversations.

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