Taste-test : Balsamic Vinegar

by Kiran on June 27, 2011 · 14 comments

in Lunch Box, Salads, Sides

Foodie connects every one to cuisines from around the world. Including for someone like me, hailing from Malaysia with a diverse culture and ethnicity. The best advantage of traveling or settling abroad is discovering a wealth of knowledge in the food industry. Or in my own words: pigging out with an excuse to try something new 😉

Albeit living in the States for the last 5 years, there are abundance more to taste and learn from the culinary world. I’ve came across many recipes and menus about mysterious ingredients. Being a foodie, I owe it to myself and my taste-buds to finally try one of this ingredient on today’s lunch menu. Here’s hoping that my experiment wouldn’t go to waste.

Enter BALSAMIC Vinegar.

What is Balsamic Vinegar?

Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes (typically, Trebbiano grapes) boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or must, which is then fermented with a slow aging process which concentrates the flavours. The flavour intensifies over the years, with the vinegar being stored in wooden casks, becoming sweet, viscous and very concentratedSource.

How can I use Balsamic Vinegar?

There are many ways to incorporate balsamic vinegar in your daily meals. My experiment was a simple balsamic massaged spinach with grilled peach salad. Upon researching on balsamic, I concocted this simple recipe as a way to help me ease into tasting this mysterious ingredient. For a first timer, simple and clean palate is the way to go.

The result was an amazing burst of flavors. Love when ingredients like balsamic imparts sweet, salty and tangy combos that works so well even with grilled peaches. Here’s how I made it:

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Balsamic Massaged Spinach with Grilled Peach salad


Salad base:

  • 2 handfuls spinach or any choice of mix greens
  • 1 peach
  • Some toasted walnuts


  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Mix dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Halve peach and remove pits. Place peach cut-side down on medium high heat and oiled grill.
  3. Cook until desired grill marks appears. Turn over peach and baste the cut sides with some vinaigrette.
  4. Add spinach and massage with remainder dressing for at least 2 minutes.
  5. Assemble by plating spinach topped with sliced grilled peaches and some toasted walnuts.
  6. Serve room temperature.

One salad down, one entree to go!

This is another “concocted by yours truly” recipe. I generally dream up these random recipes by ransacking the pantry and refrigerator to see what all I have in hand. I had a pack of whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi in the pantry, a few fresh green beans and broccoli that needed some love. Balsamic was drizzled and thoroughly enjoyed.

Despite the recent horrendous weather in down south Florida, it has been gloomy for the last two days! Perfect weather for comfort food that is wholesome, delicious and easy to prepare.

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Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Bella Mushrooms and Greens


  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 cup of prepackaged or homemade Gnocchi
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a handful green beans
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1/2 cup of bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp herb de provence
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Following the instructions on package – boil water and add gnocchi. Cook for 2-3 minutes till gnocchi floats to the top. Remove gnocchi once done.
  2. In the same water, add some salt, throw in beans and broccoli florets. Blanch for a minute or two. Remove and add to ice cold water to stop the cooking.
  3. In a medium-high heat skillet, spoon in cooking oil to sauté mushrooms with garlic and red pepper flakes till fragrant (about 3 minutes).
  4. Throw in gnocchi, green beans, broccoli and sprinkle some herb de provence, salt & pepper to taste. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Just before plating, drizzle some balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
  6. Have your fork by your side, ready to dig in!

Have you tried balsamic vinegar? Do you like it? Which ingredients/condiments is on your “taste-test” list?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 Kristina @ spabettie June 27, 2011 at 11:29 PM

we love a good balsamic… I gave Jason a really nice one for a birthday gift – fun to “splurge” on things like that as gifts, thinking of buying that as grocery is a bit much! 🙂

we love our olive oil too – we like to go to stores where we can taste test.

this all looks fabulous!

2 Kiran June 29, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Thanks for your comment honey 🙂
I did a good amount of research on balsamic vinegar. We’ve never tasted nor even heard about it before coming to the States. Now I feel like drizzling it on everything 😀

3 carolinaheartstrings June 28, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Both recipes look delicious. I am going to try the entree tonight. Great pictures.

4 Kiran June 29, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Hey dear, did you try the entree recipe? Hope it tastes good 🙂

5 Jackie @ That Deep Breath June 28, 2011 at 10:51 PM

I love balsamic vinegar! My favorite way to eat it is mixed with olive oil, with big hunks of sourdough bread dipped in! Yummm!

6 Kiran June 29, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for your comment 🙂 I love your way of enjoying balsamic vinegar. Sounds yummy!

7 Simply Life June 29, 2011 at 1:19 PM

Great ideas – I love balsamic vinegar!

8 Kiran June 29, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Simply Life,
Thanks honey. I thought for a taste test is to enjoy with a mild & simple recipe 🙂

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