Thursday, July 5, 2012

Make your Meals Healthy and Delicious with Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar {Review & California Caviar Salsa Recipe}

Nakano logo
There isn't a single adult who can look back at their childhood and teenage years and not think about their regrets. Maybe it was a friendship that went sour, a missed travel opportunity, a tattoo that just seemed like a good idea... no matter what, we all have them.

While I have many, one item on my list is that I didn't take advantage of my mom's cooking knowledge. All those years that I could have been learning how to make main dishes, sides and desserts from scratch and what did I do? Ignored the many chances and instead grew up knowing how to boil water and stir mixes from a box.

One aspect that I thankfully didn't miss out on, however, was the important realization that eating healthy and enjoying flavorful foods are not contradictory. While there are plenty of heavy, fattening condiments available to make your meal taste better, my mom's house — as well as my own — is never without the light, delicious taste that comes from Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar.

Nakano vinegars

Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar, a fat-free, low-calorie and versatile product, easily enhances any of your favorite recipes and dishes with flavor that the whole family is sure to love. I have long used Nakano rice vinegar to add taste to my salads, vegetables, stir fries, pasta dishes and many more and the delicious results are just right.

While I have received questioning looks in the past when I swear by the sweetened mild vinegar flavor, I always encourage people to give Nakano a try. There's just something so delicious about it... and, being that there are only 20 calories per tablespoon, it's pretty much guilt-free compared to other dips, dressings and condiments!

In fact, one of my signature dishes is a simple pasta salad, containing mainly noodles, grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas and mozzarella cheese (I have added more ingredients, but typically stick to these because then my kids won't pick through their bowl).

Instead of opening a jar of calorie-laden dressing, I add basil, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a generous amount of Nakano Original Seasoned Rice Vinegar and it is always a hit at home, at parties or for potlucks!

pasta salad recipe

So while I am constantly pulling out my bottle of Nakano Original, I have to admit that I have never tried any of their other flavors. In fact, I have always looked directly for the red cap of the Original bottle and have never actually realized there were quite so many other options. How have I missed out on trying Roasted Garlic, Red Pepper or Basil & Oregano, just to name a few?

Fortunately, when two bottles of Nakano Rice Vinegar and a recipe booklet arrived, I had a great excuse to break into a new flavor and see just how well it would hold up to the extremely high standards I already had for this brand.

Nakano rice vinegar review

Considering I'm a fan of garlic and I'm a fan of Nakano, I was excited to break into the bottle of Roasted Garlic Rice Vinegar to see just how well it would fit into my kitchen. While all of the recipes included in the booklet sounded delicious (there are also many more conveniently right online), as soon as I came across the California Caviar, I knew that it would be a hit.

Considering that this tasty dish includes a variety of healthy, flavorful ingredients that are not only beneficial but low in calories, the idea of adding the sweet, mellow roasted garlic flavor from the rice vinegar sounded like the perfect combination.

salsa recipe

California Caviar
Makes about 4 cups


1/4 cup Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar Roasted Garlic, Red Pepper, or Original
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 can (16 oz.) black beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup sliced green onions


In a large bowl, combine rice vinegar, oil, salt, jalapeno and garlic; mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve with tortilla chips, bagel chips or crackers.

tomato bean salsa

YUM! This is absolutely a dish that I will be making again... and soon! I was fretting about what to bring to a Girls Night Out event next week and now I'm no longer wondering, as this California Caviar has the perfect amount of flavor without being overpowering and it is delicious scooped up on chips or crackers. I had to stop myself from eating the entire bowl as soon as it was complete!

Whether you're looking for ways to live a healthier lifestyle or you just want a new way to add flavor to your foods, Nakano Rice Vinegars are a low-calorie, versatile alternative to other condiments that won't leave you regretting your meal. Everything from veggies to potatoes to marinades are sure to be a hit with your family, friends, guests and more.

As well as enjoying your food, Nakano is challenging you to take steps towards eating healthier and testing your willpower during their 60-Day Splash it On, Step it Up Challenge.

This walking challenge, hosted on Facebook, encourages people to make healthy lifestyle choices such as eating more veggies and becoming more active. By using the image of a globe, the step tracker makes it is easy to see just how many steps have been taken by participants — and how close they are on their goal to reach one million steps!

You can use the app to track your own 60-day progress, and stay on track with healthy eating and fitness tips. The more steps taken by participants, the more prizes will be awarded:
  • First prize: a one-year free gym membership. If over one million steps are reached over the course of the 60 days, a second 1st prize will be awarded.
  • Second prize: six personal training sessions.
  • Third prize: a Nakano workout bag.
Along with the 60-Day Splash it On, Step it Ip Challenge, Nakano is also currently holding a fun and easy Splash for Cash Sweepstakes.

Simply subscribe to the Mizkan (Nakano's parent company) newsletter and you'll not only receive tips and recipes, but each month one subscriber has the chance to win $150! That's a pretty nice bonus!

To find out more about Nakano and all seven of their delicious varieties of rice vinegar, visit their website and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to keep an eye out for these bottles the next time you are at the grocery store, I really couldn't recommend them enough!

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Nakano and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


Jessica Allen said...

This look great! I will have to try and make the California Caviar for my hubby! :) Thanks for sharing!