Balsamic vinegar is a popular salad dressing due to its spicy kick and sweetness. It goes well with fish, vegetables, poultry and meat.
But is balsamic vinegar keto and can you have it on a ketogenic diet?
This post talks about using balsamic vinegar on keto, five tasty recipes, and some low-carb alternatives.
Can You Have Balsamic Vinegar On Keto?
You can eat balsamic vinegar on a ketogenic diet, but it’s essential to always read the label.
Most balsamic vinegar brands add sugar and concentrated grape juice, resulting in one tablespoon containing over 10 grams of sugar. So if you use three tablespoons in a salad dressing or stew, that’s 30 grams of sugar. There’s also no fiber, so you aren’t buffering the absorption of carbs in balsamic vinegar.
This kicks you out of ketosis, triggers inflammation and spikes blood sugar.
Balsamic vinegar and other seasonings are a significant reason why many keto dieters struggle to lose weight and stay in ketosis. It’s surprising how much added sugars balsamic vinegar has.
Fortunately, most grocery stores and health shops stock low-sugar balsamic vinegar. These products contain around two to four grams of sugar per tablespoon serving. This is still a considerable amount, but it won’t knock you out of ketosis.
Balsamic Vinegar Nutritional Facts
The nutritional information of balsamic vinegar can vary. But one tablespoon serving of keto-friendly balsamic vinegar contains:
- Five calories
- Zero grams of protein, fat or fiber
- Two grams of net carbs
- Two grams of sugar
- Trace amounts of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium
These low-sugar balsamic vinegar brands are a tasty option if you are on keto but still want that signature spicy kick. Compared to the high sugar products, you won’t notice much taste difference.
But if you use too much, the high acidic content can lead to erosion of tooth enamel, heartburn and indigestion. If your teeth feel sensitive after using vinegar or you experience heartburn, cut down on your consumption.
Regular balsamic vinegar does contain a healthy acidic compound called acetic acid, which has an antimicrobial effect. Studies find it can help fight forms of salmonella while balancing your gut microbiome.
Now let’s look at some easy to make balsamic vinegar recipes.
Five Yummy Balsamic Vinegar Keto Recipes
Here are some of my favorite balsamic keto recipes.
Keto Balsamic Vinaigrette
Why not make your own balsamic vinegar. It’s easy and delicious. For this delicious salad dressing recipe, you’ll need:
- ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup of balsamic or red wine vinegar
- One tablespoon of chopped garlic
- One tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- Freshly crushed grape juice
- Salt and pepper
Making this homemade salad dressing only takes a minute. Simply add all your ingredients to a mason jar and shake until it has an even consistency. You can pour it over any salad or meal for a low-sugar, balsamic dressing.
This is a tasty, low-carb, high-protein snack if you’re on the go. You can also make it for dinner if you’re tired after a long day because this balsamic chicken takes little effort. For this recipe, you’ll need:
- Three large chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- A clove of minced garlic
- Your favorite herbs
- A cup of chicken stock
- A tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- Sugar-free syrup
- Four tablespoons of traditional balsamic vinegar
First, cut each chicken breast into three pieces and season with salt and pepper. Next, put it in a hot pan with some olive oil and fry until brown. You want to set this chicken aside for now.
Add your minced garlic, herbs, chicken stock, Dijon mustard, sugar-free syrup and balsamic vinegar to the same pan and stir until it boils. Add your chicken to the pan again and cook until some liquid is gone.
Now you can put your chicken breasts on a plate and pour the balsamic glaze on top. You can even eat balsamic glaze since it’s low in net carbs.
This recipe contains five net carbs and over 40 grams of protein.
Balsamic Caramel Sauce
But why not use balsamic vinegar to make desserts taste better? With this balsamic caramel sauce, you can pour it over your keto ice cream or cupcakes for extra flavor. You’ll only need three ingredients:
- ¾ cups of modern balsamic vinegar
- ½ half of xylitol or erythritol
- ¼ cups of heavy or sour cream
First, add your balsamic vinegar and sweetener of choice to a hot pan and stir until it comes to a boil. Once it starts boiling, remove the pan and stir while pouring your cream.
Transfer this mixture to another bowl, let it cool for a few hours and enjoy.
Balsamic Vinegar Keto Alternatives
But if you’ve been using traditional vinegar for a while and looking to spice up your keto diet, consider the following alternatives.
Apple Cider Vinegar
One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar contains zero carbs and only three calories, making it a healthy alternative to balsamic vinegar on keto.
One of the most significant benefits of consuming apple cider vinegar is it controls harmful pathogens in your body.
When you’re fermenting a vegetable, it’s sitting in an acid that preserves it and protects the food from bacterial growth. The same thing happens when you drink apple cider vinegar. It lowers the pathogens in your gut and prevents the overgrowth of microbes.
Apple cider vinegar can also help your body use critical minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron more efficiently. All these nutrients require a certain PH to be absorbed. If your PH is too alkaline, it can inhibit nutrient absorption.
If you’re baking a keto bread or cake and your recipe calls for white balsamic vinegar, consider swapping it with lemon juice. The juice of one freshly squeezed lemon only has 11 calories and three grams of net carbs.
If you want more convenience, get some store-bought lemon juice. Just check the label to see if it doesn’t contain any additives.
Lemon juice is also a natural source of vitamin C, which is essential for proper immune function and healthy skin.
While you want to restrict your alcohol consumption on keto, you can use white wine as an occasional substitute for balsamic vinegar. One cup of white wine contains:
- 2.6 grams of carbs
- 82 calories
- Eight grams of sodium
- 15 grams of alcohol
Several studies white wine offers many health benefits like improved heart health. You could even use red wine or sherry vinegar as a balsamic substitute since the high antioxidant content fights free radicals in your body.
Occasionally adding some wine to your meal brings a unique flavor and is a lower carb alternative to balsamic vinegar.
Distilled vinegar or white wine vinegar contains zero carbs and only 18 calories per serving. This makes it a perfect option for dieters looking to lose weight.
White wine vinegar offers a spicy kick similar to balsamic vinegar so it works well with salad dressings. If a recipe requires balsamic vinegar, use distilled vinegar as a zero-carb alternative. Studies even show distilled vinegar helps control your blood glucose levels.
Final Thoughts On Balsamic Vinegar On A Keto Diet
Sugar-free balsamic vinegar is a keto-friendly dressing you can use for salads, meat, poultry, and fish. The sweet and spicy taste fits almost any meal.
However, you must read the label and find a product that uses two to four grams of sugar per tablespoon. Some brands add over 10 grams of sugar per tablespoon serving, which interferes with ketosis.
If you’re looking to spice up your keto diet, make your own balsamic vinaigrette or consider alternatives like apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, or white wine.