If you have a bottle of balsamic vinegar that has been languishing at the back of your kitchen pantry, it is time to bust it out. Balsamic is one of the staple flavored vinegars that you should keep in your kitchen pantry, and you can use it for so many more dishes than you might realize. To help inspire you, we have rounded up nine of our favorite ways to use balsamic vinegar — from the traditional to the unexpected.
We will get the most obvious one out of the way first: Balsamic vinegar is an excellent ingredient to include in a homemade salad dressing.
Whether you are assembling a traditional green salad or branching out into other vegetables or grain salads, balsamic vinegar will drench them in flavor and make you look forward to salads once again.
Always add the dressing right before eating to ensure that your salad does not get soggy, so if you are packing your lunch for later, put the dressing in a separate container.
A finishing sauce is just something added right at the end of the cooking process to “finish” out the dish. There are many things that you can use to finish a meal, including salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil and more.
We definitely think that you should add balsamic vinegar to this list since it is an excellent way to add a quick kick of flavor at the end of the meal.
We recommend drizzling only a little bit at first and then adding more if necessary. You can always pour on more, but you cannot take away what is already there.
Roasted vegetables are delicious on their own, but if you want to add a little oomph, consider glazing them with balsamic vinegar just prior to roasting.
The heat will caramelize the vinegar alongside the vegetables, giving them a delicious savory-sweet taste. This is a great alternative if you are tired of tossing your vegetables with just plain olive oil and want to branch out.
The robust taste of the balsamic usually works best with winter vegetables — think carrots, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc. — but you can put it on plenty of other vegetables as long as you do not overdo it.
If you are tired of the same old boring sandwiches, try adding a dash of balsamic vinegar to yours next time to add a zing of flavor.
As with all sauces, balsamic is best added to your sandwich right before you plan to eat it; otherwise, it will make the bread and other ingredients soggy.
If you are packing the sandwich to take later, put the balsamic vinegar in a mini container so that you can keep it separate from the sandwich until you are ready to eat lunch.
Pasta and Risotto
Pastas and grains can sometimes be a bit bland on their own, making them the perfect vehicle for other tasty ingredients. While most people think to top their pasta with marinara sauce or extra virgin olive oil, few think to reach for the balsamic vinegar.
However, this delicious vinegar can be the perfect finishing note. The brighter taste does a great job of balancing the creamy delicious fats (such as butter and oil) that people like to put on their pastas.
Do note that balsamic will “dye” the noodles a different color, which may or may not be the presentation you want. If you want a vinegar that will not change the color of the pasta, try champagne vinegar instead.
If you have mostly tried balsamic straight out of the bottle, you may be wondering how its savory taste could ever work for a syrupy dessert.
In actuality, creating a balsamic syrup is simple. Add ½ cup sugar and 2 cups balsamic vinegar to a saucepan and stir to combine.
Next, simmer on low for about 20 minutes, or until the glaze reaches your desired thickness. The resulting syrup will be part savory, part sweet, making it the perfect topping for fresh fruit or vanilla ice cream.
Marinating meat or tofu before grilling or searing it is a fantastic way to add flavor without having to fuss with sauces on the grill.
Balsamic is an excellent ingredient to put in your marinade because the strong flavor compliments even the heartiest of red meats.
It also adds a lot of flavor to blander proteins such as chicken and tofu. Whether you are making pork, fish or everything in between, you cannot go wrong with adding balsamic vinegar to your marinade.
Braising is a cooking technique that involves pan searing a food (usually meat) and then partially immersing it in broth or sauce and cooking it until the dish becomes tender.
Adding balsamic vinegar to the cooking liquid will infuse the meat with flavor while it cooks, resulting in a delicious and tender protein that will wow your dinner guests.
Braising may sound fancy, but it is actually pretty easy, so we urge you to grab a bottle of balsamic vinegar and give it a try if you have not already!
Sodas and Cocktails
Yes, you can totally put vinegar in drinks! In fact, vinegar is one of the essential ingredients in fruit shrub syrups, which are used for cocktails.
The robust flavor of balsamic is also a great addition to bourbon and rye whiskey drinks. You can also add balsamic vinegar in non-alcoholic drinks. It combines particularly well with soda water and flavored syrups.
If you are looking for a refreshing and unique summertime drink, definitely explore some balsamic vinegar beverages!
We hope this list gave you at least one new idea for making the most of balsamic vinegar. Do you have a delicious recipe for balsamic vinegar that we did not cover in the article? Drop it in the comments below so that we can keep the culinary inspiration going!