Flavored Vinegars Add Zest without Calories or Fat

 Tired of the same old plain grilled fish or chicken? Looking for a way to jazz up your salads, marinades or dressings without adding fat, calories or sodium? Try adding a flavored vinegar! When many of us think of vinegar, we might think of the old standby, red wine vinegar. But think again. There are numerous vinegars on the market with flavors including fig, blueberry, key lime, spicy pecan … and yes, even tequila!

 I’m the typical city girl that doesn’t want to spend more than 15 minutes in the kitchen. I want something quick, healthy and tasty. I recently spotted the huge selection of flavored vinegars in my local grocery store (see pic). I noticed fig vinegar and a new obsession was borne (in addition to my previous obsessions of Greek yogurt, avocados, and Paul Newman’s Light Sensation salad dressing!) You’ll now find my kitchen stocked with at least 6 bottles of flavored vinegars.

Here are some of the flavored vinegars I found in  Gristedes market:
Balsamic vinegar(many different kinds, including balsamic with pear pulp and fig pulp), tarragon, garlic wine, pomegranate, malt, rice wine, champagne as well as the old standby’s including white, red wine, apple cider, etc.

 Looking for something even more exotic? Check out your local gourmet store or shop online to purchase these vinegars flavored with: raspberry, blueberry, mango, sun-dried apricot, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, chili peppers, onions, and garlic. You can also try to make flavored vinegars at home by adding sprigs of fresh or dried herbs to store-bought vinegar (see link
Tips to use  flavored vinegars
 Here are some tips to add zest to your foods with flavored vinegars:
1. Add your favorite flavored vinegar to olive or canola oil to make a flavorful salad dressing. No more boring salads (or sodium laden commercial dressings!) One of the tastiest salad dressings I’ve had was made from champagne vinegar.

2. Add zest to your veggies without adding fat or sodium. Sautee veggies such as eggplant, string beans or asparagus in a little olive oil or cooking spray. Cook until slightly tender than add a splash of your favorite vinegar. My favorite is balsamic vinegar added to asparagus and/or eggplant.  It becomes somewhat caramelized … and is delicious. No excuses not to eat your veggies now.

3. Try grilling, baking or broiling chicken or meat with a splash of flavored vinegar. I love chicken with fig vinegar. Chicken breasts made with a sautéed onion, chicken broth and tarragon vinegar is very good as well.

 4. For a dessert without added sugar or calories, splash some fig, balsamic or fruit flavored onto berries, a sliced peaches or pears. Or try brushing a flavored vinegar onto fruit and then grill!

5. Check out the vinegar section in your local store and be creative!

 Check out these links for more info on flavored vinegars:
Online store with really unique vinegars   
50 recipes for cooking with vinegar  
Info on vinegar from whole foods


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