We celebrated Easter and a family birthday this past weekend, and it made my heart happy to reconnect with loved ones. I hope you had a wonderful holiday as well. I ate more than my fair share of candy and yummy baked goods, and now that the holiday is over, I really want to get back to a healthier eating pattern and invite more veggies into my life. Maybe that’s the reason I felt inspired to make this low-calorie balsamic glaze using only two simple ingredients. It adds a sweet-tart deliciousness to salads, grilled or roasted vegetables, grilled chicken or salmon.
It’s easy enough to pick up a bottle of balsamic glaze at the grocery store, next to the balsamic vinegar, but if you make your own, you’ll find it has a more intense flavor. It’s also free of corn syrup and starchy thickeners, ingredients you will find in ready-made balsamic glaze.
It’s best to make this glaze on a day when you can open the windows, because as you might imagine, it fills the house with the scent of balsamic vinegar. I love the smell of balsamic vinegar, but it was a little strong. We had a spring snowstorm the day I made this recipe, but I opened the doors anyway. Sometimes you just have to let in some fresh air, regardless of the weather.
This glaze is simple to make with just balsamic vinegar and honey. For one cup of balsamic vinegar, I used 2 1/2 teaspoons, or just under 1 tablespoon, of local honey. It’s easy to scorch honey or any other sugar. I did this a couple of times while trying to work out the recipe, which was a big disappointment, because balsamic vinegar is a pricey ingredient. After a couple of tries, I figured out I could prevent burning by waiting to add the honey until the last 1/3 of the cooking time.
Start the glaze by bringing one cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium high heat in a one-quart saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium or medium low, and let the vinegar simmer and reduce in volume by about half. This takes approximately 15 minutes.
When the vinegar is reduced by half, add the honey and stir. Continue simmering until the glaze has thickened slightly. It won’t be very thick – you will just notice that the bubbles are taking longer to break and the surface tension of the liquid seems stronger. This will take an additional 10 minutes or so. Don’t heat the glaze beyond a gentle boil.
By the time my glaze reached the consistency I was looking for, about the consistency of maple syrup, it had reduced to 1/3 cup.
Put the glaze in a small jar or bottle – I used a small squeeze bottle – and store it in the refrigerator.
I used this sweet and tangy glaze as a low-calorie dressing for the perfect spring salad – baby spinach, strawberries, blueberries, Marcona almonds, a drizzle of homemade balsamic glaze, a teaspoon of walnut oil (you can use olive oil or any oil), plus salt and pepper. It also tasted incredible on some homemade foccaccia we had left over from holiday baking.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons honey
- Bring 1 cup balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-high heat in a one-quart saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium or medium low, so the vinegar stays at a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vinegar is reduced by half.
- Add the honey and stir to combine. Continue simmering until the glaze has thickened slightly. You will see that the bubbles take longer to pop, and the surface of the liquid seems to have more tension. By this time, the vinegar will be reduced to about 1/3 cup. This takes about 10 additional minutes after adding the honey.
- Allow the glaze to cool, and pour into a small jar or squeeze bottle. Store in the refrigerator.