Try something new with a kitchen classic!
When you first think of how to use balsamic vinegar, you probably think of it being used for salad dressing.
While salad dressing is a tasty way to use the ingredient, there are actually plenty of other uses. It can be used to elevate a variety of dishes, from appetizers and sides to main dishes and desserts.
Balsamic is a vinegar originally from Modena, Italy made with whole, crushed grapes, and it’s a particularly versatile ingredient because of its sweet, fruity, and tangy flavor (we here at Flower City Flavor Company have our own brand you can see here).
Depending on the dish you’re making, you can play up balsamic vinegar’s sweet or tangy notes. This equates to its use as an ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes.
In addition to having a delicious, distinctive flavor, balsamic vinegar also has many health benefits.
Some studies have shown that incorporating balsamic vinegar in your diet may help regulate blood sugar levels, aid healthy digestion, and promote blood circulation.
Ready to learn something new? Here’s five of our top suggestions for how to use balsamic vinegar next time you’re in the kitchen!
1. In marinades
When cooking meat or a plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh, marinating it beforehand is an easy and effective way to maximize flavor. The marinating process involves first making the marinade and then allowing the protein to soak in the marinade – and soak up the flavor – before cooking.
Most marinades are made using a combination of the same types of components – acid, fat, herbs, spices, and a sweetener. Customize these based on the dish you’re making.
For example, if you’re making an Italian chicken dish, you might marinate the chicken with some basil, parsley and thyme.
Or, if you’re making more of an Asian-style dish, you could incorporate ginger, red chiles, and soy sauce.
When it comes to the acid component of a marinade, balsamic vinegar is a wonderful option.
Marinades made with balsamic vinegar are perfect for adding flavor to chicken, fish, and vegetable dishes. Next time you’re ready to use balsamic vinegar in a marinade, try making these recipes for balsamic grilled vegetables, balsamic salmon marinade or balsamic chicken marinade.
2. With dessert
When thinking about how to use balsamic vinegar, remember to use it to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients you’re using – you want to bring out your dish’s natural flavors, not cover them up.
This restrained approach to using balsamic vinegar is particularly important when it comes to desserts because of their sweet, often delicate flavors. (And yes, balsamic vinegar can be a terrific ingredient in desserts!)
Balsamic vinegar’s sweet flavor pairs especially well with ingredients like strawberries, blueberries, peaches, figs, cherries, and chocolate.
Adding balsamic vinegar to desserts like cakes, crisps and crumbles, ice cream, and grilled or roasted fruit adds a touch of sweetness and also a slight tang, which makes for a unique dessert that’s flavorful and not overly sweet.
3. As a dip
When it comes to feeding a group – whether at a potluck, dinner party, or tailgating – you can never go wrong with making a dip.
Hot, cold, savory, sweet – you can make a dip any way you want, and you can serve it with anything from fruit and vegetables to bread and chips.
Every good dining experience starts with some good bread. Its even better if it comes with good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.
How to use balsamic vinegar as a dip you ask?
Make a classic restaurant appetizer with this recipe that uses olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parmesan, garlic, and oregano – the perfect dip for some warm, crusty bread. (We recommend using our own Flower City Flavor Company Estate Grown Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil).
Looking for something a little more elegant? Try making this recipe for grilled artichokes with balsamic mustard sauce; sweet balsamic vinegar and spicy Dijon mustard is the perfect pairing for soft, sweet, earthy artichokes.
Or, if you’re looking for something more casual, serve up some chips and dip, and punch up the flavor by adding balsamic vinegar to homemade french onion dip.
4. In a reduction
Another versatile condiment to learn how to make is a reduction. A reduction is when you boil or simmer a liquid until the texture thickens.
Reductions not only make delicious sauces for an array of dishes; making reductions also intensifies the flavor of the ingredients you put in it (such as vegetables, wine, herbs, or fruit), which means that it helps boost the overall flavor of the disk you’re preparing.
If you’re guessing we’re going to tell you how to use balsamic vinegar in a reduction, you guessed right! It’s extremely simple.
To make a balsamic vinegar reduction, simply simmer a sauce pan of balsamic vinegar on medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Adding aromatics such as crushed garlic or thyme makes for an especially flavorful reduction.
The result is a sweet and tangy sauce with a thick, syrup-like consistency that’s perfect for serving with vegetables and your protein of choice.
5. As a base of other flavors
By adding just one ingredient, you can change the flavor profile of any dish you’re making; and the same holds true when it comes to balsamic vinegar.
Infusing balsamic vinegar with various ingredients can add notes of heat, sweetness and herbaceousness. Really, any other flavor you fancy.
Some popular ingredients used for flavoring balsamic vinegar are strawberries, honey, rosemary, garlic, or vanilla.
However, if you’re looking for the best flavored balsamic vinegar you can get, check out our Flower City Flavor Company Blueberry and Fig Balsamic Vinegars. They are indeed made with real blueberries and figs respectively. So many other “flavored” vinegars are made with artificial or “natural” flavors, which are just as chemically produced as an artificial. Do some research if you don’t believe us! Don’t settle for anything less than the best!
Once you have your flavored balsamic vinegar prepared, what do you do with it? Well, good news – you can substitute your flavored balsamic vinegar with traditional balsamic vinegar in any of the above suggestions.
We hope you’re feeling inspired to use balsamic vinegar in new and creative ways; and hopefully, with these suggestions, you’ll never run out of ways on how to use balsamic vinegar again!