Roasted Grapes and Balsamic Reduction with Cheese and Crackers

Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach when I go to the grocery store.

I end up with two pints of strawberries, fresh blueberries, a couple peaches, and let’s not forget the half dozen 19-cents-each Trader Joe’s bananas I couldn’t leave without grabbing and oh yes, the grapes that were on sale with my grocery store club card. Holy fruit.

To prevent fruit from going to waste, I’ll toss just about anything into the freezer. Peach slices, halved strawberries, banana chunks, you name it. Frozen fruit makes for great strawberry-banana bread fruit or muffin fruit and it can always be used in smoothie-making. But rather than freezing the grapes (and I love frozen grapes so much as a snack), I decided to roast them.

Roasted strawberries and peaches and blueberries are fabulous. Think strawberry pie, peach cobbler, and blueberry crumbles. And now grapes got in on the roasted action, but in a savory way.

I almost tried my hand at making a Grape Cobbler but was up to my eyeballs in ideas and projects and maybe-this-will-work type plans and didn’t want to bite off more grape than I could chew.

So I roasted them and allowed these little babies to burst and wilt, and while they were transforming and shriveling, I made a balsamic reduction.

I paired my purple friends with cheese and crackers.

And a flood of balsamic. I love balsamic reduction. I could drink the stuff.

It’s especially delicious as it rolls off the wilted backs of the grapes and into the cracker crevices.

Instant fancy-looking-but- easy-to-make party appetizer. Serve it with Coconut Water Champagne Punch or Peach Mango Pineapple White Sangria

These are a great little snack when you want to get a little classier than Tricuits smeared with peanut butter, complete with knife-licking to get the last bits of peanut butter off the knife. Not that I would know about that.

Crunchy, smooth, salty, sweet. A smorgasbord of textures and flavors; just the way I like things. Simple but so good.

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Roasted Grapes and Balsamic Reduction with Cheese and Crackers

small block of cheese, sliced (I used 1000 day aged gouda)

crackers or bread

1 cup grapes

1 teaspoon olive oil (coconut oil, grapeseed, or canola can be substituted) *

Preheat oven to 425F . Place grapes on a Silpat-lined (or parchment or foil-lined) baking sheet, drizzle grapes with olive oil, and bake at 425F for 20 minutes, or until grapes have begun to wilt and some have burst. While the grapes are roasting, make the reduction.

*Go light-handed on the oil because it doesn’t really absorb much and it will coat the grapes and just stay there, making them seem a little greasy if you use too much.

 

Balsamic Reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Combine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, stir until sugar dissolves, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, allowing mixture to boil rapidly for about 4-5 minutes, stirring nearly continuously. Shut off the heat and immediately pour the mixture into a heat-safe food storage container and allow it to cool in that container. Tip: If you let the mixture cool in most sauce pans or pots, it will harden and become insanely sticky, needing major elbow grease to clean the pan. Don’t allow mixture to cool in the pot; pour it into another container immediately.

You will likely have extra reduction; it will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for weeks. Use it over salads, when roasting vegetables, or as a dip for just about anything from bread to chips to tofu.

Place cheese on top of crackers, top with grapes and their cooking juices, drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

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Related recipes:

Tempeh and Cucumbers on a Stick with Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction Dip

Mango Balsamic Rice, Beans, & Mixed Vegetables – love balsamic (and mango) in anything

Mixed Berry Clafoutis – Easy way to use extra fruit. Like a baked custard but far easier. Make the batter in a blender.

Use extra (fresh or frozen) fruit in Blueberry Muffins (vegan, GF)

Strawberry Banana Bread – Can’t go wrong with tossing extra fruit into bread

Have you ever roasted grapes or other fruit?

I’ve roasted strawberries and grilled peaches before and I’ve baked with blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and bananas, but roasting grapes was a first for me and I have no idea what I was waiting for.

The flavor of the grapes intensified, they got sweeter, and the texture was similar to that of roasted tomato halves, which I have always loved.

Do you have a favorite way to use extra fruit if your eyes and shopping cart are bigger than your stomach?

Recipe links welcome

Winner of the Gourmet Cheese Sampler Pack Giveaway is Erin Motz

 

   

77 Responses to “Roasted Grapes and Balsamic Reduction with Cheese and Crackers”

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    1
    Anna @ The Guiltless Life — June 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

    WOWZA. Balsamic reductions make everything better :). But who would ever have thought of roasting grapes? You’re genius!

    Reply

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    Erin Motz — June 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

    *victory dance* and yummmm at grapes right now – all the bags I’ve bought have been perfectly sweet and pop with ripeness!

    Reply

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    Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition — June 5, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Reduced Balsamic add so much to dishes- love that you showed it with 2 different fruits

    Thanks!

    Reply

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    Heather (Where's the Beach) — June 5, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Oh totally loving this. I have never roasted grapes before. I just happen to have some left in the fridge and may need to try roasting them up just to see how they taste. This looks like the perfect party appetizer or date-night-in snack!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 11:17 am

      date-night-in and at-home “parties” is our speed lately. these were perfect :)

      Reply

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    Sarah — June 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Yeah!!!

    This looks fabulous! A perfect accompaniment to my special “Mommy is the best” wine glass :)

    Reply

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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — June 5, 2012 at 10:21 am

    My shopping cart always seems to be bigger than my stomach … I have been juicing the extra fruit and veggies that I buy.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 11:16 am

      I hate juicer cleanup! Lol Such a pain. I’d juice all the time if I didn’t have to clean that darn machine. Pulp gets stuck everywhere!

      Reply

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    Sue/the view from great island — June 5, 2012 at 10:23 am

    You’ve outdone yourself here. First, the photos are incredible, you really captured how delicious those grapes must be. The color is glorious. I am constantly biting off more than I can chew in the fruit department so this idea is just what I need.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 11:16 am

      I have never spent so much time up close and personal with hot little grapes. Lol Thank you for the compliments. Between the sauce, the hot grapes, the shiny, the light, and the food wilting on me fast, literally…lots to maneuver :)

      Reply

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    sally @ sallys baking addiction — June 5, 2012 at 10:44 am

    GORGEOUS, elegant pictures Averie! Totally TS worthy ;)

    I also enjoy grapes on my salads – especially those dressed in balsamic dressing. Taking those same flavors and kicking it up a notch with roasted grapes and balsamic reduction…. and adding cheese… now you’re talkin’! I’ve actually never had roasted grapes before (that I know of). Looks easy enough, but fancy enough to serve it to others too!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 11:15 am

      When I shot this, all I could think was I hope TS likes these images :)

      Reply

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    kelley {mountain mama cooks} — June 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Holy deliciousness! These would be perfect for catering! Can’t wait to try it.

    Reply

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    Cassie — June 5, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I adore roasted grapes. Great way to use ‘em up before they go bad!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Or in my case, buy a jillion other types of fruit AND buy grapes because you know you want to blog about them :)

      Reply

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    Anna @ On Anna's Plate — June 5, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Ahhhhh, I keep meaning to try the roasted grapes idea!!! I keep seeing them in foodie magazines– so pretty and easy!

    Reply

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    Amber K — June 5, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I have never roasted fruit before, nor have I ever made a fruit pie. Although I did make your mixed berry clafoutis before. It didn’t look anywhere near as good as yours!

    Reply

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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — June 5, 2012 at 11:27 am

    So easy! What an awesome appetizer idea.

    Reply

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    katie @ KatieDid — June 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I was just commenting on Leanne’s post about bananas from the reduced produce section… I have a big collection and although rarely bake and done like smoothies that much I eat them straight from the freezer with nut butter as a snack all the time. I’ve been seeing lots of roasted fruit recipes lately and realy need to try my hand at it! I wonder how roasted peaches would be.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      roasted peaches are amazing! think peach cobbler :) or grilled peaches & pineapple make for great salsa fruit, too!

      Reply

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    Vita @ Juicer Depot — June 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Great presentation! That is a step up from just plain cheese and crackers.

    Reply

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    Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit — June 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Cheese and cracker for grown ups! I like :)
    I’m the same as you… come the end of the week I have a bunch of odd things here and there. I always over estimate how much food we consume.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Or it looks like such a great deal and I factor 5x/lunches per person per week til Scott tells me he doesnt need a lunch 3 days and then Skylar doesn’t need 1 and all of a sudden, I have 40% more produce than I thought I was going to need!

      Reply

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    Stefania@ Revitalize with Stefania — June 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    what a fabulous party food idea! easy, pretty and sounds delicious!

    Reply

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    Bev @ Bev Cooks — June 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Oh my LORD I could eat like 74 thousand of those right NOW.

    Reply

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    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — June 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I love this idea to dress up the normal cheese + crackers or brie + grapes party app idea! Your grapes almost look like perfect cherries :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      small, shiny, reflective yet dark; they were fun times to work with :)

      Reply

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    deirdre @ aliment — June 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    The cheese-fruit combo is such a fave. Plus some salty crackers, yum! The color really pops too.

    Reply

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — June 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I’m with you – I could easily drink balsamic reduction! What a delicous (& pretty) appetizer!

    Reply

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    Kris — June 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    balsamic instantly elevates anything! I love roasted grapes, one of my favorite restaurants does them. I have roasted strawberries before, and really need to do that again because I love them! my grapes are usually frozen rather than roasted!

    I juice every day, so I never have too much veg or fruit! :D

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      I wish I could juice every day…the clean up kill me!

      re comments going into spam..I had that happen about a year ago, some weird google coding thing and as I was rescued out, it stopped after a week or so. Latest issue is that sometimes my comment replies to folks get lost in a cyber dump somewhere. Frustrating!

      Reply

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    Catalina @ Cake with Love — June 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    My eyes are always bigger than my stomach! I love the idea of roasting grapes and serving them with fruit! I was always a fan of cooked grapes, even made a cake not long time ago!

    Reply

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    Paula — June 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    This looks fantastic! I’ve never tried roasted grapes but those pictures make me want to go buy some ASAP. You totally got me hooked on the balsamic reduction so I know I’ll love this combo!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      If you already love the balsamic reduction, then this is just an evolution. You’ll love this I think!

      Reply

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    kristen @ verbs and vignettes — June 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    i have NEVER thought to roast fruit like this… especially grapes. that looks out of this world delicious.

    Reply

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    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — June 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Great recipe! I never thought of roasting grapes. I’ve roasted tomatoes, apples, peaches and pineapple but never grapes! I love this idea. I got lazy with making my own reduction and I have bought Trader Joe’s new balsamic glaze which I think is just excellent. I love you recipe and I’m going to give it a try!! I can’t wait!!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      hold the phone: “Trader Joe’s new balsamic glaze” <– new to me and wow, I may have to check that out. I just make my own reduction using their balsamic. Takes 5 mins and no sodium involved (I hate added sodium to condiments) but now I need to go check that product out!

      Reply

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    Baker Street — June 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    HAHHA! I could easily drink balsamic reduction too! These crackers would make for a perfect app! Great recipe, A!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      Seriously if there are health benefits to it, consider me very healthy based on how much I can consume :)

      Reply

  28. #
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    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — June 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Buying more than I can eat is a perpetual problem for me when I go grocery shopping. I can just never decide what to get so I get it all!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 5th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      so much seasonal and great food in SoCal, too! I know what you mean!

      Reply

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    Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy — June 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    oh wow, that looks INCREDIBLE! i’ve never heard of roasting grapes before, but from the looks of your fabulous creation, I need to try it! thanks for sharing! delightful post as always! :)

    Reply

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    Krissy's Creations — June 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Balsamic reduction?! YUM!

    Reply

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    Shirley@bells-bakery — June 6, 2012 at 4:41 am

    I could eat my body weight in grapes and cheese but I have never heard (or even thought of) roasted grapes. Cannot wait to try these!!

    Reply

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    Audra@The-Baker-Chick — June 6, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Ooh Averie- this looks like the perfect appetizer for a classy party, or just for snacking around the house! I have never roasted grapes before, but I love the idea!

    Reply

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    Christine (The Raw Project) — June 6, 2012 at 6:26 am

    This looks fabulous, very creative and I adore the flavor combo! I haven’t roasted fruit, but I’ve stir fried it, used is as a stir fry sauce base, and grilled it. Need to try roasting next!

    I usually freeze or dehydrate extra fruit for smoothies or cooking.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 6th, 2012 at 8:12 am

      I thought of you when I was writing this b/c I know we both like to snack on frozen grapes :) But this is the opposite direction.

      Reply

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    Deborah — June 6, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I have seen roasted grapes floating around on a few sites, but I have yet to try them. I think this combo sounds fantastic!!

    Reply

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    vanillasugarblog — June 6, 2012 at 7:53 am

    goodness this would be a very dangerous combo for me.
    i love cheese with anything fruit and now you’ve thrown in a nice balsamic reduction.

    very nice!! excellent post girl!
    xoxo

    Reply

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    dragonmamma/naomi — June 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I thought maybe you were using the Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze/Reduction that I just discovered. I put it on a peeled mango and ohmygawsh was it fantastic!
    Didn’t know a recipe for it would sound so easy; I’ll have to try it and compare the two, because the TJ brand is $2.99 for a little bitty bottle!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 6th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Another reader/friend told me about that stuff…yesterday! When I went to TJs I had it in my hand but put it back b/c I could go thru the bottle fast and I love my own reduction and it takes less than 5 mins to make and I know there’s no added sodium and rationalized if it’s not broke, dont fix it. I’d like to try their bottled one; just one tiny taste. One day! Make your own and LMK how it compares!

      Reply

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    Jamie | My Baking Addiction — June 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I LOVE frozen grapes, but roasted grapes sound all kinds of amazing – and anything with a balsamic has to be incredible, right?

    Reply

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    Stephaie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — June 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I always forget about grapes, but this looks so delicious! Love the balsamic reduction!

    Reply

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    marla — July 10, 2012 at 7:47 am

    STUNNING photos and I love the simplicity of this recipe Averie. The colors dazzle!

    Reply

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    Natalie — December 14, 2012 at 7:16 am

    This post is making me very hungry!

    Reply

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