Try some of these flavorings to give premium taste for minimum calories.
A good Balsamic vinegar, made mainly from trebbiano grape juice, gets its intense flavor and silky texture from years of aging in wooden barrels in Modena. The better the balsamic vinegar, the longer it has been aged and, typically, the higher the price — but also the higher the calorie content. For practical use a moderate balsamic vinegar will do fine; they generally have 5 to 15 calories per tablespoon.
Instead of creamy ranch dressing and its typically high calorie content, substitute a balsamic vinaigrette, the proportions can be as low as 3-to-1 oil to vinegar. You can add herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Or drizzle a bit of red wine vinegar over a finished pasta dish.
Mustard comes with zero to 5 calories per teaspoon. You can regard it almost as a free flavoring, whether it’s Dijon, yellow, or brown.
Try substituting one teaspoon mustard for one tablespoon mayonnaise in a sandwich and you can save as many as 100 calories. When you’re ready to slather butter on cooked vegetables, use a third as much and replace with mustard to taste. You also can make your own flavored mustard by adding fresh chopped dill or tarragon to honey Dijon mustard.
Don’t overlook Garlic. Garlic is truly a wonderful flavor, but healthy for you too. Garlic-chili sauce, a combination of hot ground chilies, garlic and vinegar, can be found in the ethnic aisles of most grocery stores. Use as much as you like in soups, stir-fries, base sauces, and marinades.
With an olivewood herb mill, you can fresh grind dried herbs from France, this is a welcome exception to fresh herbs that can be pricey. Nevertheless a few fresh leaves of basil or sprinkle of chopped mint or tarragon goes great in a salad. If you use herbs you won’t need nearly as much mayonnaise or salad dressing. Fresh herbs should be added to the end of cooking, but there are exceptions: Sturdy rosemary can be added to a pot of stew or soup.
Fresh squeezed lemons bring a zest of flavor; one tablespoon of lemon juice has about 5 calories. Its potent taste can be obtained from the zest (the colored, outer layer of the fruit) or the juice within. Slice them really thin and toss them into a salad, just like a lettuce leaf.reduced calories, balsamic, oil and vinegar