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Six Ingredients to Boost a Bland Recipe

Adding acid to food can balance a dish. Here are the ingredients that can bring that balance.


If you've ever thought something was "missing" from a meal, it could have been acidity. When we taste our food, we're looking for a balance of different flavors -- salty, sweet, sour, spicy, and umami. Adding acid to food can complete that balance and change a dish entirely. If you want to play with the acidity levels in your own cooking, here are a few ingredients to try:


1. Vinegar: It determines the level of acidity in a dish and can alter flavors altogether. We particularly love balsamic (be careful, it's pretty sweet), sherry, and white wine vinegars.


2. Wine: Think of wine as vinegar's cousin (and vice versa). Use it to balance sweet desserts like this French Toast with Red-Wine Nectarines, or to deglaze your pan -- "deglazing" means adding a cold liquid to a very hot pan, which allows you to scrape up all the good browned bits after cooking.


3. Citrus juice is a favorite. A squirt of lemon is always great, but limes and oranges can add vibrancy.


4. Tomatoes pair well with rich foods, like hearty meat dishes (think Spaghetti and Meatballs).


5. Yogurt cuts through the fat. This Lamb Burger with Yogurt Sauce is a perfect example.


6. Pickles. Do we even need to tell you why we're such huge fans? We didn't think so.