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3 Tasty Sides For a Healthier New Year

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This post was sponsored by NAKANO® Rice Vinegars as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. 

nakano rice vinegar

I’ve got a new year’s resolution to eat healthier and I’m sticking to it! January is almost over and I’ve spent some time finding new ways to eat better without sacrificing flavor and the enjoyment of eating delicious meals. 

One ingredient that I’ve been experimenting with is rice vinegar. It is easy to swap out when I am trying to make something a bit healthier than what I usually eat. NAKANO® Rice Vinegars are especially helpful since they have seven different delicious and tangy varieties available.  I have to say the garlic flavored rice vinegar is my favorite.


Red Chili Glazed Sweet Potato

nakano rice vinegar

Now who loves sweet potatoes? Being vitamin rich with iron, potassium, magnesium, beta carotene and other nutrients, I’ve added them to my diet in a few different ways.  Typically, I would eat them as fries or mash them with butter, brown sugar and maybe some honey.  To maintain the nutritional value of sweet potatoes while still enjoying the flavor, I swapped out the calorie dense and fat dense ingredients and used NAKANO rice vinegar instead.

Instead of frying sweet potatoes I now bake them in the oven until browning and right before eating, sprinkle rice wine vinegar and salt. The tangy vinegar goes well with the sweet flavors of the fries. For a baked sweet potato, instead of adding butter and brown sugar, I made a simple glaze with a base of rice vinegar a bit of chili garlic sauce and sugar simmered together before drizzling the sauce on a baked sweet potato.


4 sweet potatoes, or as many as you would like

1/2 cup NAKANO Roasted Garlic Seasoned Rice Vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce


Heat oven to 400°F. 

Pierce each sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. 

While potato is baking, combine rice vinegar, sugar and chili garlic sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. 

Make a slit in the top of each sweet potato. Top with red chili glaze to taste. 

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Rice Vinegar

nakano rice vinegar


2 sweet potatos 

2 tablespoons NAKANO rice vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oven to 425°F. 

Cut the sweet potatoes into sticks 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long, and toss them with the oil.

Place on a sheet pan in a single layer and bake for 20-25 minutes until they are crispy. 

Just before serving, spinkle with rice vinegar.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Rice Vinegar

nakano rice vinegar

Last year we were turned on to the Brussel sprouts we hated as kids. We don’t just boil them like our parents did. For our favorite swap, instead of adding bacon like I usually do, I sautéed the Brussel sprouts with garlic and olive oil, roasted them in the oven and drizzled with rice vinegar before putting them on our table.  Make sure you roast them till they look like they are about to burn for a great texture and flavor you will crave.  


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound brussels sprouts trimmed and halved

2 cloves garlic minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon NAKANO rice vinegar


Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Put the oil in a large oven safe skillet and heat on medium-high. When the oil shimmers, add brussel sprouts. Cook about 5 minutes undisturbed until they begin to brown. Mix to turn over and add minced garlic.  

Once brussel sprouts have browned, move the pan to the oven and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the sprouts are very brown and tender, about 30 minutes.
 Drizzle with rice vinegar and adjust seasoning as necessary. Stir and serve.

If you would like to give these healthier swaps a try, you can get a coupon for $.50 off NAKANO rice vinegars here

What healthy swaps have you been making this year? 

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