The recent interest in Mediterranean diet has focused the health world's attention towards balsamic vinegar, a deep-brown coloured grape vinegar, native to Modena, Italy. Praised for its antihypertensive, antidiabetic and antiobesity benefits, the vinegar is a versatile ingredient used in sweet as well as savoury preparations. In case you are wondering how to use it, here are six healthy ways to make the best use of this syrupy-sweet and sour vinegar.
Salad dressing: Balsamic vinegar is popularly used as a salad dressing and it is best paired with tomatoes and chicken. If you are planning to eat healthy, spike your salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil instead of mayonnaise or other cream-based dressings.
Marinade: The vinegar has a tenderising effect on red meat. Soaking meat in the tart liquid will also impart a deeper flavour to it.
Dessert: Strawberries and balsamic vinegar is a winning combination like cinnamon and apples. A quick fruit salad with almonds, strawberries with a splash of balsamic can be served alongside ice cream.
Soups: A swirl of balsamic with vegetable soups and thick broths adds depth of flavour and enlivens even the most boring of soups.
Pickling: Balsamic vinegar is also good at what all vinegars are known for -- pickling. A classic is the pearl onion pickle, where tiny white onions can be preserved by cooking them in the liquid till all the vinegar is absorbed.
Dip: Most Italian or Mediterranean-themed restaurants offer a bread basket served alongside an olive oil-balsamic "dip." It is a healthier alternative to cheese-based sauces and dips.