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balsamic vinegarette - recommendations?

i'm looking for a tasty balsamic vinegarette for salads. there are whole foods, sprouts, trader joes and ajs nearby as well as your typical grocery store. i suppose a recipe would work too, but i'd prefer one i can buy in a bottle. i just can't seem to find any that taste nearly as good as those i've had in restaurants.

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  1. Believe it or not, we really like the Safeway Select Enlighten Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette (Fat Free). I bought it on sale at Vons and went back for more. It's the most flavorful bottled balsamic I've ever had.

    4 Replies
      1. re: abbefaith

        It doesn't say 'organic' - just Fat Free. Had to go upstairs and check the bottle.

        1. re: mojoeater

          haha ok thanks. i've tried the safeway brand organic one and it was so-so.

      2. re: mojoeater

        I buy Cindy's all natural Balsamic at Whole Foods, and really like it.

      3. What is distinctive about the restaurant versions? Sweetness? Flavors other than vinegar?

        Have you tried straight balsamic vinegar? TJ even sells it in spritzing bottle.

        However if you go that route, you then have to choose among 2, 4, 8, 15 yr old vinegars :-)

        paulj

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          i think maybe sweetness and/or other flavors. the ones i love though are often just called balsamic vinegarette on the menu, so i am not sure of the other flavors! one that comes to mind is the balsamic vinegarette at firebirds rocky mountain grill.

        2. I just mix my own. Basic ingredients in mine are: Trader Joe's 10 year aged balsamic (the one in a squat square shaped jar with a cork stopper and a red label on it), extra virgin olive oil, salt, few grinds of pepper. Since I really like the taste of this balsamic and it is not too tart, I use a 1:1 oil to vinegar ratio. If I have more time on my hands, then I may add a little coarse grain Dijon mustard and some finely minced red onion.

          1. If you're looking for something with a little sweetness to it you might try this one.

            Start by crushing a clove of garlic with a little salt to make a paste, add some Dijon mustard then a little honey (I suppose you can just combine the two and put in honey mustard, but I've not tried that yet). Mix in some raspberry balsamic vinegar then drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to form an emultion. As far as quantities go this is one I never measure, if you've ever put together a vinaigrette before you know you can eyeball everything in the dressing.

            I usually put this on a salad of romaine lettuce, toasted chopped pecans, some sort of dried fruit be it raisins, cranberries, cherries or whatever then some goat cheese. This salad has all the classic things going for it that you find in a restaurant, sweet, sour, crunchy, salty. If you want to add the bitter you might try tossing in some arugula.

            Good Luck

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jambalaya

              That sounds great. I was at a wedding shower this weekend, and they served roasted vegatables- asparagus, red onion, red peppers and tomatoes. Your recie would be great on this. Thanks

            2. Suprisingly, at least to us, we love the Trader Joe's Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ccbweb

                The TJ's is good, but definitely on the sweeter side, but it's great over chopped tomatoes and red onions.

                I prefer the Whole Foods 360 brand Fat Free Balsamic Vinegarette... so good esp for 10 cal/tbsp