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.


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.


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


78 comments on “Roasted Grapes and Balsamic Reduction with Cheese and Crackers”

  1. 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!!

    • 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!

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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! :)

  5. 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!!

  6. 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!

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  8. 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.

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

    • 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!

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

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

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

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  22. This post is making me very hungry!

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