Healthy Altitudes

Basic Balsamic Marinade

Now that we are approaching the end of summer and the start of school, I am trying to squeeze in a few more family barbecue nights. I love throwing a few burgers and pieces of chicken on the grill, and serving them alongside fresh vegetables in a salad. But I’ll admit that sometimes, grilled chicken can get boring time after time. That’s why I came up with this recipe for a basic balsamic marinade. This recipe produces tender chicken with a sweet yet tangy flavor. Keep reading to find out how to whip up a Basic Balsamic Marinade!

A Quick Fix for a Bland Meal

You can use this basic balsamic marinade to make an easy dinner with chicken and vegetables. It brings the perfect balance of bright acidity and sweetness to create a flavorful meal that will please all members of the family.

Having this marinade on hand can also be helpful when you are scrambling for a last-minute meal. Rather than looking up a recipe for some extensive rub or sauce, just throw your protein in a bag with this marinade, let it sit, and you’ll have flavorful food ready to cook in no time.

Using Olive Oil in Your Basic Balsamic Marinade

Olive oil is my oil of choice for this Basic Balsamic Marinade because it is good for your heart, and it also brings some delicious flavor of its own.

A Heart Healthy Oil

Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat. This type of fat has a healthy impact on your blood cholesterol levels, which means it is great for your heart and blood vessels. Using oils that are high in monounsaturated fat are generally better for your health than saturated fat, which you find in more animal-based products (i.e. butter or meat).

Just remember, fat is a key component of a healthy diet. Although the specific amount someone needs is very individualized, everyone should be eating some amount of fat throughout the day to maintain a healthy diet. I love olive oil because it benefits my health and contributes to giving me energy as well!


One of the reasons this basic balsamic marinade tastes great is because olive oil is so flavorful. While some oils are pretty mild, olive oil has a distinguishable flavor. That’s why it’s used in so many recipes.

When you are shopping for olive oil, you may see a few different options at the grocery store. So how do you know which one to buy? Extra virgin olive oil (or as Rachel Ray often said when I was growing up, EVOO) is likely the best choice. It is made by cold-pressing fresh olives, which means the oil retains the most flavor and nutrition.

A Versatile Balsamic Marinade

The cool thing about this recipe is that this Basic Balsamic Marinade doubles as a salad dressing. You can even make a double batch of this recipe and have enough to marinate some grilled chicken AND top a delicious salad.

This Basic Balsamic Marinade is Ideal for Meal Prep

Since you can use this marinade for many different proteins and sides, it is really useful to prepare this recipe as part of a big meal prep for the week.

Meal prepping can save time while still allowing you to cook your own food. No more last-minute runs through the drive-thru are needed when you have ingredients for a quick meal already stored in your fridge.

Basic Balsamic Marinade


Servings: 1/2 cup, which will marinate about 1 lb. of meat


  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp fresh herbs like oregano and basil, chopped (If using dried herbs, use 1 Tbsp total)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
Balsamic vinegar is a key ingredient in this Basic Balsamic Marinade.


  1. Prepare ingredients. Make sure the garlic is minced pretty small so its flavor can be evenly distributed all throughout the marinade.
  2. Add all ingredients into a mason jar. Close the lid and shake until everything is mixed thoroughly. The marinade will be ready to use or store for later use!
  3. When you’re ready to marinate your food, place the ingredients and marinade in a gallon-sized plastic bag. Store in fridge for the designated time.
    1. For chicken, marinate for at least 2 hours.
    2. For beef, marinate for at least 3-4 hours.
    3. For fish, marinate for 30 minutes.
    4. For vegetables, marinate for 30 minutes.

Want to make this delicious, nutritious recipe at home?

Click below to download a recipe card for this Basic Balsamic Marinade recipe.