Gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar stores are everywhere. I love going to these stores and sampling various combinations of oils and vinegars, and often leave with a bottle or two.
You might be wondering what to do with all of these products. And the stores selling them often give the same advice over and over:
“Use it on grilled chicken”
“Use it in marinade”
Well, I am here to tell you that there are HUNDREDS of uses for these products! Lucky for you, I am sharing 17 cheap and easy ideas that will help you get the most out of your oil and vinegar collection.
Don’t settle for just chicken and marinade. Don’t let your vinegars and oils sit in your pantry. Read on for some easy ideas.
17 Uses For Gourmet Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
1: Make a Super Simple Bread Dip
Ready for the easiest appetizer ever? Pour some flavored olive oil in a dish and top with a complimentary flavor of vinegar. Sprinkle on some herbs and spices, if desired. Serve with baguette slices. Voila!
2: Drizzle Oil Over Cream Soups
Certain heavy, creamy soups can be a bit one-dimensional in flavor. A drizzle of flavored olive oil can add unexpected flavor and texture to thick soups. The last time I made this butternut squash soup, I drizzled some habanero oil over it. It was fantastic!
3: Drizzle Balsamic Vinegar Over Pizza and Flatbread
A drizzle of balsamic vinegar will do wonders for pizza or flatbread. In this recipe, pictured above, the balsamic vinegar added a touch of sweetness (and some fanciness) to an otherwise normal pizza. It was absolutely delicious!
4: Add Some Flavored Oil To Scrambled Eggs
Infused olive oil can be used to add flavor to scrambled eggs. Once you are done cooking the eggs, drizzle on some flavored oil. Try dill, chipotle or garlic oil.
5: Make a Pretty Dessert Plate Garnish With Vinegar
Most balsamic vinegars sold at specialty stores have a thick consistency. You can use these vinegars to make a pretty design on a dessert plate, using a fruit or herb-flavored balsamic. Here are some combinations to try:
- Raspberry balsamic vinegar with chocolate cake
- Cherry balsamic vinegar with pound cake
- Espresso balsamic vinegar with flourless chocolate cake
6: Add Zing To Savory Dishes With Vinegar
If your dish is lacking in flavor, consider adding a bit of balsamic. As I showed in an earlier post, adding an acidic component (like vinegar or lemon juice) can do wonders for a dish. Try this tip in soups, sauces, casseroles, and other dishes with a creamy base. For example:
- Add jalapeno white balsamic vinegar to chicken alfredo
- Add a drizzle of red apple balsamic vinegar on top of a bowl of acorn squash soup
- Add some blueberry balsamic vinegar to barbecue sauce
7: Roast Vegetables With Infused Olive Oil
Vegetables roasted with plain olive oil are delicious. But when you add some infused olive oil, you get a whole new dish. Here are some olive oil flavors to try:
- Green chili olive oil
- Harissa olive oil
- Rosemary olive oil
- Dill olive oil
- Sage olive oil
I recommend using 1/2 plain olive oil, 1/2 infused olive oil so the flavor isn’t too intense.
8: Make Flavored Kale Chips
Add extra flavor to homemade kale chips by using 1/2 plain and 1/2 flavored olive oil. I made a batch with habanero-infused oil, resulting in a spicy, addictive chip. I can’t wait to experiment with other flavors!
9: Add a Few Drops To Baked Goods
Do you want to add another dimension of flavor to your homemade desserts? Try adding flavored olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Just a few drops can go a long way. Here are some ideas to try:
Add lemon-infused olive oil to pound cake batter
Add some cherry balsamic vinegar to chocolate cake batter
Add a burst of citrus flavor to buttercream frosting with Persian lime olive oil (use this frosting to top white chocolate cupcakes!)
A word of caution: Don’t add too much or the texture of your baked good may change.
10: Make An Epic Fruit Salad
Make the most amazing fruit salad ever by adding flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Try adding basil olive oil and strawberry vinegar to a mixed fruit salad. Add some chopped nuts and fresh mint too.
11: Make Flavorful Roasted Potatoes
Choose a savory flavor of olive oil, toss with cubed potatoes, and roast in the oven at 400F until tender. Try Tuscan herb, rosemary or garlic oil.
12: Make Flavored Mayonnaise
Have you ever made homemade mayo? It’s easier than you think and it only takes about 5 minutes to make. For flavored mayo, use this recipe and use 1/2 regular olive oil and 1/2 flavored olive oil. Try garlic or dill.
13: Top Ice Cream With a Drizzle Of Balsamic
Think ice cream can’t get any better? Try topping it with a drizzle of fruit-flavored balsamic vinegar and fresh strawberries. Amazing.
14: Make Balsamic Grilled Peaches
Cut a fresh peach in half, remove the pit, and brush it with balsamic vinegar. Grill until the vinegar caramelizes. Serve with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
15: Make Balsamic Chocolate Truffles
Follow this recipe and add a tablespoon of chocolate, berry, or espresso balsamic vinegar to the chocolate mixture.
16: Make Flavorful Vinaigrettes
You can get some really flavorful, unique vinaigrettes by combining a flavored olive oil and a flavored balsamic vinegar. Experiment with different combinations in the store.
But what if you don’t want to buy speciality oil and vinegar? After all, that can get expensive.
Here are two recipes I use:
If you bought flavored balsamic vinegar:
- 1/3 cup plain olive oil
- 1/4 cup flavored balsamic vinegar
- Fresh herbs, salt, spices, sweetener, etc.
If you bought flavored olive oil:
The maple-apple vinaigrette pictured above is made with:
- 1/3 cup flavored olive oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 shallot, minced
17: Set Up a Killer Appetizer Bar At Your Next Party
Gather all of your flavored vinegars and oils, along with various noshables, and set up an appetizer bar that your friends will rave about. Here are some foods to include:
Let your guests go wild! The addition of the flavored oils and vinegars will allow them to get creative when mixing and matching snacks.
How Do You Use Flavored Oils and Vinegar?
I would love to hear your ideas in the comments section below!
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Twin Cities-area readers: Check out Olive You in the Cathedral Hill area of St. Paul, shown in the top photo above. They have a great selection of gourmet oils and vinegars.