Aged Red Wine Vinegar Is The Secret Ingredient For An Elevated Pasta Salad

Pasta salad can be served in its classic form with ingredients like celery and carrots or made with less traditional additions such as pepperoncini and olives. In fact, there are many mix-ins to upgrade pasta salad recipes but we've got a tangy secret ingredient that you might already have in the kitchen. Many versions of pasta salad include some form of vinegar in the dressing for acidity, but there's a good case to choose aged red wine vinegar out of all the varieties.

To be fair, many brands and types of red wine vinegar are already aged to a certain extent so check the bottle in your pantry. However, some red wine vinegar is specifically aged in oak barrels for longer periods of time, which changes the intensity of its robust flavors. You might think the aged varieties have a more pungent kick, but the aging process actually mellows out its acidity for a smoother more complex effect. It's pretty much the same reasons why aged whiskeys go down smoother than younger types do. Don't get us wrong, the process will bring out the fruity flavors found in any red wine vinegar, but it won't overpower the dish.

Aged red wine vinegar elevates any pasta salad

Most brands say that barrel-aged red wine vinegars can be used in the same ways as any other variety of red wine vinegar. Just add it to your pasta salad's dressing with other ingredients such as mayonnaise (or Greek yogurt to make it lighter), and dijon or yellow mustard depending on desired flavor profile. You can add a dash of sugar if you need it. But the basic idea is to simply swap in the aged red wine vinegar for any other variety of vinegar on the recipe's ingredient list. If your go-to pasta salad recipe doesn't already include vinegar, about two tablespoons is sufficient for every eight servings. As always, taste as you go and add more if you want deeper flavors or more acidity.

Don't already have a go-to pasta salad to try this hack? Our no-mayo veggie antipasti Italian pasta salad already uses red wine vinegar in the dressing along with olive oil and lemon juice; so just swap in the aged variety. Or cook this chicken pasta salad recipe and add a splash of aged red wine vinegar to the mayo-based sauce for even deeper flavors.