Condiments make any dish better—ketchup, teriyaki sauce, relish, hot sauce, Dijon mustard. You name it, some meal is sitting on a kitchen counter right now just waiting to be complemented with the right flavor pairings.

A personal favorite that I pretty much drizzle on everything is balsamic vinegar, produced in Italy and shipped right to my pantry. Oh so I wish. The acidic tang matched with the rich fruity flavor kicks even the blandest meals up a few notches.

While somewhat unconventional, here are some quick and simple weeknight dishes that just wouldn't be the same with everyone's favorite grape product. And yes, balsamic > wine.

1. One-Pot Mexican Quinoa

Rebecca Poole

Pretty sure I snagged this recipe off of Pinterest, to which I proceeded to change the whole thing and add whatever I had laying around. Work with what you got, people. But for this all you really need are vegetables, quinoa, and vinegar to taste.

For something like quinoa or rice that tend to be bland on their own, adding a flavor like balsamic makes the dish actually edible, healthy, and good. 

2. Homemade Pizza

pizza, chicken
Rebecca Poole

Pizza isn't normally a food you associate with balsamic vinegar. Coming from Italian heritage, trust me, I know. But adding just a drizzle of this poppin' flavor will do wonders for your typical cheese slice.

Make sure to keep it in the oven longer than usual to bake off the acidity and keep the crust extra crispy. It's weird, but somehow, it just works. 

3. Grilled Zucchini and Carrots

squash, meat, vegetable
Rebecca Poole

Nothing says the season of fall like our favorite gourd: the squash. Just take a gander through our many squash-related articles to get the gist. Zucchini, a type of summer squash, is one of my go-to's for a quick side dish. Paired with other hearty vegetables and a good splash of vinegar, this autumnal meal is one to file away for later. 

If you're in a pinch for lunch, dinner, or even a filling snack, try out the above dishes with some kick to change up your usual repertoire. Once you go balsamic, you never go back.